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Lenie

Caring for an elderly dog and a nail trimming question

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Hi all, I've asked several questions about my six month old, Lottie, but this time I'm asking about my other border collie, Shepherd. He is fifteen years old now and in fairly good health. He has three tumors but they are all growing at a slow enough rate that they don't affect his movement (he's had one of them for about six years and the others five and two years) and the vet said it would be harder on Shepherd to test the tumors and recommended that we just keep an eye on them. Shepherd has a lot of stiffness but gets around pretty well and occasionally he even breaks into a gallop for a couple seconds! His eyesight is very bad and so is his hearing to the point that he is essentially deaf and blind. He is familiar with his environment though and navigates just fine except for the occasional getting lost behind a chair or misjudging where the door is and getting stuck behind it. He sleeps most of the day and we keep Lottie away from him because she's too excitable and has knocked him over when trying to greet him and he pulls back, unsure. He's very unsteady on his feet.

I gave all that background to ask how have you made your elderly dog's life comfortable and easy? Shepherd seems happy except every day I take him out around 5pm and then he can't settle down and paces, panting, acting anxious all evening. I was thinking maybe it's his arthritis making him not want to lie down? What are the best ways to help him with his arthritis? Any ideas on what might cause him to stress out every day at the same time? He sleeps practically all the time now and evenings are the only times he really is awake. I often have to wake him up during the day in order to take him outside to eliminate although he has been waking me up in the middle of the night to take him out. 

We are also having trouble with getting his nails trimmed. Shepherd is a rescue and he has always had issues with getting his nails trimmed. It has gotten worse as he gets older. The vet theorized that it's because he can't see or hear well anymore and his arthritis makes it painful when his leg is lifted. A couple months ago, Shepherd got stressed out and knocked down a baby gate. He walked across it and got a nail caught and it tore. He had to go to the vet to get it cleaned out and the bleeding stopped. They had to sedate him in order to do that and then they almost couldn't get him to wake up again. A couple weeks ago, I had him at the vet for a checkup and I thought I'd get them to trim his nails for me. As soon as they tried to clip a nail, they said he practically had a panic attack. They said he defecated and urinated on himself, was almost hyperventilating, and they had to work hard to calm him down. He has NEVER reacted like that before even though he has issues with nail trims and the vet thought it might have been because of his experience a couple months ago when he tore his nail.

So long story short, he needs his nails trimmed again but he stresses himself out even if I try the nails at home. Either the clippers or a dremel. Does anyone have any experience or ideas on how to trim his nails without him getting so upset? He has begun to bite, not only in nail trims, but if he is surprised or if I have to lift him up in the car or somewhere. I'm guessing because of arthritis pain. There have also been a couple times I accidentally startled him and he nipped as well. I think part of the problem is that he can't see or hear well and that stresses him out.

He is such a good dog and deserves calm, happy, comfortable last years. I'm doing my best to give that to him and any recommendations are appreciated!

Thank you!

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Poor guy. No easy answer. 

I am not sure about the nails but in general - make your first approach to him with scent so that he’s not alarmed into nipping. Perhaps a little piece of cheese to bring him round :)

Also, one of those memory foam beds to lie on. 

 

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Ask your vet about them using an anti anxiety drug for a nail trim (like diazepam).  Work with them to find a drug that is effective (lowers stress) when used under their supervision which can be prescribed later for you to use at home.

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Is he on joint supplements? They won't magically make his aches and pains disappear,  but may take the edge off.

Have you considered CBD oil?

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45 minutes ago, ShellyF said:

Poor guy. No easy answer. 

I am not sure about the nails but in general - make your first approach to him with scent so that he’s not alarmed into nipping. Perhaps a little piece of cheese to bring him round :)

Also, one of those memory foam beds to lie on. 

 

He does love cheese! Thanks for mentioning the memory foam bed--that's a really good idea. Thanks!

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36 minutes ago, Mark Billadeau said:

Ask your vet about them using an anti anxiety drug for a nail trim (like diazepam).  Work with them to find a drug that is effective (lowers stress) when used under their supervision which can be prescribed later for you to use at home.

The vet did give me some trazodone but he's reluctant to go very high in the dosage due to Shepherd's age. He's a big dog--60 pounds--so the lower dose doesn't appear to have much effect on him. I'll check with the vet about trying diazepam or another anti anxiety drug to see if we have better success. Thanks!

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17 minutes ago, gcv-border said:

Is he on joint supplements? They won't magically make his aches and pains disappear,  but may take the edge off.

Have you considered CBD oil?

Thanks, yes he's taking joint supplements. I'm not sure if they are helping but I hope so! 

I have looked into CBD oil but unfortunately it's illegal where I live. 

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20 minutes ago, Lenie said:

I have looked into CBD oil but unfortunately it's illegal where I live. 

Where do you live? If you're in the US, CBD oil sourced from hemp is legal in all states when sold as a dietary supplement.

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Melatonin has been very effective for me when I've had oldsters who couldn't/wouldn't settle at night. In combination with some sort of anti-inflammatory/pain relief, it could help.

J.

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13 hours ago, juliepoudrier said:

Melatonin has been very effective for me when I've had oldsters who couldn't/wouldn't settle at night. In combination with some sort of anti-inflammatory/pain relief, it could help.

J.

I hadn’t thought about melatonin. Can you use supplements made for human consumption or is there one made for dogs?

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11 hours ago, Lenie said:

I live in Alabama. I had heard that it was legal but the law is a little unclear. Here is an article: https://wbhm.org/feature/2018/is-cbd-oil-legal-in-alabama-its-complicated/

So I'm not sure!

I remember seeing an ad for pet cbd oil at cleanrun.com

Just search for cbd oil on their website. They are a very reputable company and should be able to answer your questions.

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3 hours ago, Lenie said:

...melatonin. Can you use supplements made for human consumption...

I use melatonin marketed for humans. Be sure to read the label to be sure it's only melatonin and not something compounded with it.

3 mg. for a medium sized dog, but you can safely use 6 mg. for occasional use.

Re: the CBD oil, the disagreement between the feds and states is really making this difficult for a lot of ppl. The article you posted was a ear old. Hopefully things have changed or will soon. There's always mail order. ;)

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Perhaps  you could try a rotary tool for nail trimming. I use one and it is far less stressful for me as well as for the dogs because I can see what I am doing and very rarely get too close to the quick. Mind you mine is a professional flexible shaft drill which is a lot more heavy duty than the little hand held battery operated ones sold at pet stores, many of which don't have enough torque power to do the job very easily.

I think all the suggestions are good. And I also think the most important thing to give to an aging dog (mine is almost 17), is love. Lots and lots and lots of love. It helps with everything.

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21 hours ago, GentleLake said:

I use melatonin marketed for humans. Be sure to read the label to be sure it's only melatonin and not something compounded with it.

3 mg. for a medium sized dog, but you can safely use 6 mg. for occasional use.

Re: the CBD oil, the disagreement between the feds and states is really making this difficult for a lot of ppl. The article you posted was a ear old. Hopefully things have changed or will soon. There's always mail order. ;)

Yes, and it seems that the preference here is to have it illegal. Of course, this is Alabama. :rolleyes: I'm counting down the days till I move to a different location again! 

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18 hours ago, D'Elle said:

Perhaps  you could try a rotary tool for nail trimming. I use one and it is far less stressful for me as well as for the dogs because I can see what I am doing and very rarely get too close to the quick. Mind you mine is a professional flexible shaft drill which is a lot more heavy duty than the little hand held battery operated ones sold at pet stores, many of which don't have enough torque power to do the job very easily.

I think all the suggestions are good. And I also think the most important thing to give to an aging dog (mine is almost 17), is love. Lots and lots and lots of love. It helps with everything.

I have tried a dremel but no luck. I think the vibration scares him even more than clippers do.

Aww, yes! He still loves his snuggles and kisses! 

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Hello Lenie, Yes, I have an oldster like yours, 14 years old, deaf, not too good in the eyes, and very occasionally a bit daft (forgets where he left the ball).  Also 60lbs.  He's on Metacam from the vet and a diruetic, and a chewable tablet beef flavoured twice a day to keep blood vessels open I think.  Very creaky and knobbly in the joints, plods around but perks up when there's a tennis ball on the move.  Never had to worry about nails thank heavens. Young pup just moved in.  Pain in the butt.  Old boy spends most of his time asleep in the bedroom.  Utter peace. Friends have recommended Devils Claw - herb, often used for creaky horses.  Sprinkle over food.  They reckon it's brilliant,  I intend to buy some next time I'm in town.

Often though, he looks up at me with those lovely brown eyes and says, I'm ready to go, Mum.  It's heartbreaking, cannot decide when for him, enough will be enough.

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On 11/7/2018 at 8:15 AM, Lenie said:

Yes, and it seems that the preference here is to have it illegal.

You quoted the whole post about 2 different things, so I assume you're referring to CBD or hemp oil?

I did some further looking last night and sellers make a distinction between hemp oil and the CBD derived from marijuana. FWIW, I didn't find that sellers of hemp oil were restricting sales to and specific states, which I'd expect to see if hemp oil were illegal. But I don't live there so I can't really speak to laws in other states.

 

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On 11/7/2018 at 8:36 AM, dumbbird7 said:

Often though, he looks up at me with those lovely brown eyes and says, I'm ready to go, Mum.  It's heartbreaking, cannot decide when for him, enough will be enough. 

When my guys have gotten close to their times I've had a talk with them and asked them to let me know when they're ready. They have always found a way to let me know in ways that were unmistakable to me.

I've mentioned this on these Boards before and others have said it didn't work for them, but it has for me and my dogs. Even though my ~13 y.o. seems to be in good health and is still working as a therapy dog, I've already had a first conversation with him. I've heard of too many dogs whose guardians can't let go who've probably waited too long. I don't ever want one of mine to suffer for my selfishness. (Not suggesting you're one of those people.)

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Gentle Lake, not sure what CBD is, or Hemp oil. Am in UK sp perhaps we've got it here and I've never needed to find out about it.  Devils Claw is chopped herb for joints.

I shall do as you suggest and have a quiet conversation with my old feller.  We have always conversed with looks and eye contact rather than voice or body language.  Silent understanding.  I've already told him it's ok if he's had enough and  wants to go, but will talk again just to make sure we're clear. We've been 'Next of Kin', just we two for so long, our time draws to a close. 

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1 hour ago, GentleLake said:

You quoted the whole post abut 2 different things, so I assume your'e referring to CBD or hemp oil?

I did some further looking last night and sellers make a distinction between hemp oil and the CBD derived from marijuna. FWIW, I didn't find that sellers of hemp oil were restricting sales to and specific states, which I'd expect to see if hemp oil were illegal. But I don't live there so I can't really speak to laws in other states.

 

Oops, yes! Sorry for the confusion. 

That's good to know. I'll have to do some digging and see what I can find. I do know there was a store in my area that sold CBD treats for dogs but they have closed down.  I didn't realize there was a distinction between hemp oil and oil derived from marijuana until you mentioned it. That may be partly why the issue is so confused here. I had briefly looked into CBD oil a few months ago after someone suggested it for Shepherd, but just as I was prepared to order some online, an article came out in my local newspaper about it being illegal. I'll have to go back and see if the article states hemp oil is illegal too. I gave up on the idea at the time because I wasn't sure it would even be useful for Shepherd but I keep hearing from people who say that it has helped their dog. Thanks for the additional info!

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2 hours ago, GentleLake said:

When my guys have gotten close to their times I've had a talk with them and asked them to let me know when they're ready. They have always found a way to let me know in ways that were unmistakable to me.

I've mentioned this on these Boards before and others have said it didn't work for them, but it has for me an my dogs. Even though my ~13 y.o. seems to be in good health and is still working as a therapy dog, I've already had a first conversation with him. I've heard of too many dogs whose guardians can't let go who've probably waited too long. I don;t ever want one of mine to suffer for my selfishness. (Not suggesting you're one of those people)

It's a difficult talk to have with them. I know I'm struggling to know if it would be best to let Shepherd go now or if he is still enjoying life. I recently had to let my 12 year old lab go and I'm still mourning her loss which may be clouding my judgment on Shepherd. :( 

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