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My dog Simon (corgi-golden retriever) turned 12 about a month ago and over the last year or so he has been showing his age but lately it's a little bit more noticeable. He's only about 27 pounds but unfortunately I have stairs so he can't always walk down them but he can walk up. 1. he doesn't eat in the mornings, afternoon sometimes if I put it back out, but he does eat dinner. I've been feeding him the same food for over 2 years, he's been doing this for about 6 months so does he not like the food or is he just doing his own thing? He's not bigger then normal but he does seem to have grown a little belly. I take him out as much as he can, given his age and the LA heat it's not the best combo. Should I think about switching to a different dog food and if so any tips on which brands? Also, a couple of his molars are a tiny bit loose, nothing to worry about at the moment but now he can't get non-anthestic cleaning done and I will not put him under anesthesia at his age. Besides brushing his teeth and dental treats, does any know of anything else I can do to keep his teeth and gums clean? Any advice wold be greatly appreciated.

Thank You,
Joseph
 

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Hi Joseph,
Our senior rescue Jack Russel was in a similar situation. She ended up having to have a few teeth pulled and put on soft dog food (which she was VERY happy about!). We also put her on 2 supplements 1-Zenapet and 2-Cetyl M Response for dogs (they have a semi soft and soft tablet option) Man! She is like a puppy again! She has always been a little rickety since we brought her home from the shelter but now she runs around like a puppy- I am not exaggerating. There isn't anything unhealthy in the supplements and they are flavor friendly. Mercolapets.com has a natural teeth cleaning recipe that you might want to try too, I am giving it a try this weekend!

Hope this helps :) I have a big soft spot for senior dogs so hope your pup feels better soon!
 

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I don't know where you are but here in the UK you can get something called Plaque Off which you add to their drinking water.
His little belly might be fluid retention - which can be a result of liver problems, failing kidneys or heart issues. Dogs are like us - as they get older, things don't work as well as they used to. His dwindling appetite may just be down to age or a health condition. Or maybe he just needs a change.
My last dog suddenly stopped eating when she was 13 and it turned out that her liver was in terrible shape. The vet said 2 months to live but I got a complete turnaround by changing her diet and she was well over 16 when she passed. So maybe have him checked over with a full blood panel if anything is suspected.
Happy Belated Birthday Simon, you are gorgeous!
 

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I've been fortunate to have most of my dogs live into old age. Most made it to about 14 to 16 years.

Watching your dog age, is a difficult thing to do and as you have found out, they do change in their ways a bit. I think a lot of times the slowing down with the eating is something they naturally do as their bodies energy levels drop and they don't feel the need to refuel like they use to do when they were younger and more energetic.

But, to be on the safe side, let your vet know about the change in eating habits and it might be a good idea to ask your vet about getting a geriatric panel done to make sure nothing is amiss with your elderly dog.

I had the money at the time, and my vet never ever charged much for services and treatments, but I also had x-rays taken of a cat I had to find out how bad her arthritis was, they had to put her under to do this and she was 19 years old at the time. Cats are weird with meds though, so my vet felt it was safer to see how things were, before prescribing her anything. Turned out her hip joints were really bad, so the pain medication was adjusted to help her with that and she was able to walk and even jump up onto the sofa again once on the meds. She lived to be 21 years old...dementia finally got to her...leaving her confused most of the time, so it was her mental issues, not her physical ones that finally had me putting her to sleep.

Also, a couple of his molars are a tiny bit loose, nothing to worry about at the moment but now he can't get non-anthestic cleaning done and I will not put him under anesthesia at his age.
Please, talk to your vet and see what the vet thinks about your dog's state of health, not so much his age. I've had several of my dogs go under anesthesia, even a few of them at age 16 and they were just fine afterwards.

Also, those loose molars in your dog might be causing a lot of pain, and if there is hard plaque that needs to come off of other teeth, it might be better to do it now, while he's a 'young' elderly dog.

If nothing is done now, it could be that in a few more years, he could get severe gum infections, due to the continued build up of stuff on his teeth, and also more loose teeth could result from it, along with a lot of pain, and the procedure would be even more difficult do because of infection and his more advanced age. At least by getting teeth done now, it could take care of a lot of issue that could crop up if you just let things go.

And I think all the dental biscuits in the world really can't help with some of these things, especially the loose molars that you know about...and there could be others that the vet finds that you don't know about.

But again, talk to your vet...who should have a good idea how healthy your dog is at this point. And also, as you know, any time a dog goes under, even a nice healthy 4 year old, things can go wrong. So I don't blame you in being nervous about it. I was always scared when my elderly pets had to go under gas to take care of things. But, I always figured, if things went wrong, at least they passed on in a painless death, and the chances were very slim in that happening, but when they came out of it ok, ...their quality of life would be for the better.

Every dog is different...hopefully your dog will make it to 16 years or so. I have a neighbor who has a very large Siberian Huskey, he's 14 years old now, and going strong...most dogs that large, are doing good to make it to 12 years. But I've learned with all my pets that made it into old age, that it's not the years, but the quality of life that matters. And I never regretted when it came time to say good bye to them...I hated it, but didn't regret it. I knew they at least had their full amount of time under the sun.

The few dogs I had that I had to put to sleep while they were still young, put down due to cancer or diabetes...those are the ones I really hurt for...just wasn't fair at all, but at least I had some comfort that while with me, they too had a great quality of life, if not quantity.

Stormy
 

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Good advice Stormy. Plus it may be the teeth that are affecting appetite.
Re a blood panel, I wish I had had routine ones done on my last dog. I would have caught her declining liver and kidney function at an earlier stage. Even where medical intervention is not an option, the diet can be adjusted to help.
Dogs can be so stoic - often we don't get to find out something is wrong till an advanced stage.
 
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