Dally turned 8 years old about a month ago. It's certainly not old age, but it is middle age for a dog.
About four years ago, or so, I started taking her to a chiropractor on a regular basis--mostly for maintenance, but also when I noticed she just wasn't right. I started her on supplements at the suggestion of the chiropractor because I know supplements can help keep problems at bay before they become problems.
But it seems like lately Dally's just been off. I can't really put my finger on what's been wrong, but when she struggles to jump on the bed with me at night, and she seems to want to take a lot more breaks on our (1-2 mile everyday) walks.
So I made an appointment with Dr. Heather Forry and we realized that it had actually been since the first part of July that Dally had been worked on, so she had gone about 5 weeks (we were trying to keep to a 4-week window).
Dr. Forry found that she had quite a few places that she was out in, plus a little inflammation in her discs from being out of whack. A few pops here and there, and Dally was back in line.
We got to talking about nutrition, and the effect it can have on a dog as they age. When I mentioned Dally wasn't acting her usual perky self, we looked at the supplements she was on and the food she was eating.
At least six months ago I switched the Stump Kids from Blue Buffalo to Taste of the Wild. I hadn't seen any problems with the Blue Buffalo, but I was reading a lot about recalls for that brand, and it made me worry. I know quite a few people who feed Taste of the Wild, and it was about $2-3 cheaper than BB, so I switched. Dr. Forry commented that she's seem some older dogs respond very well to Taste of the Wild at first, but then it's like something builds up in their system and drags them down a little. So she suggested Natural Instinct. So now Dally's been switched to Natural Instinct (whew, it's more expensive!), but LaMesa's still on Taste of the Wild (after all, it has wolves on the bag and she's a baby wolf--it's meant to be!).
We also decided to change out her Canine Whole Body Support supplement from Standard Process to Canine Musculoskeletal Support, just to help out with some extra glucosamine and other good-for-the-bones-and-joints good stuff.
And now Dally is getting a special treat once a week: a raw chicken wing. Yep. every Thursday I get out a frozen chicken wing to thaw in the refrigerator, then she gets to take it out on the back patio on Saturdays to crunch away. LaMesa was going to get in on the act, but after she swallowed her first one whole, I decided she was good without it. (Yes, she swallowed it whole...no real chewing, just down the hatch.)
Why the chicken wing, you ask? Dr. Forry said that raw food is the best option for dogs. However, if you don't want the hassle, or maybe can't afford the diet (though they do say it's cheaper than feeding dog food), supplementing with something like a raw chicken wing has its benefits. Dogs can easily crunch up the raw bones (they don't splinter when they're raw like cooked bones do) and get the good-for-them marrow for supplementation. It's supposed to help provide a healthier coat, cleaner teeth, and helps with bad breath (dang, I wish LaMesa would chew hers, then!).
So, now we're trying to keep the Corg in line with getting back to a regular schedule of chiropractor appointments, better supplements, and her weekly treats. A two week check-up with Dr. Forry found her better than she was previously, but still a little sore in the shoulder area. She's maintaining a good weight (24.5 lbs) and still being kept active. I'm told 8 is still really only mid-life, but I just worry about her as she ages.
Just don't tell her I think she's aging....
If you're joining from the Dog Agility Blog Action Day group, here is an update on Dally and her injury and how it affected her at a recent trial: Dally's Weekend at Derby City