Saturday, August 24, 2013

Battling Age as an Agility Dog

Welcome readers from the Dog Agility Blog Action Day group! This post is related to the September theme of Aging.

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 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


  1. I think the raw diets are cheaper if you do all the work yourself. Buy the raw chickens backs, etc. as well as the veggies and supplements they need. I don't trust myself to do it right and make sure it is fully balanced. So I suck it up and pay for the pre-mixed raw from the natural dog food store. It is ridiculously expensive but I hope it pays off with giving me a healthier dog. Could you maybe spring for just one container a month or such, so both Dally and LaMesa could get a bit more raw in their diets? Just don't mix kibble and raw in the same meal.

    1. I don't really know--I honestly hadn't thought about splitting it, but I'm not sure. I don't like dealing with raw meat very much anyway. I might look more into it, but with the traveling we do, it seems like such a hassle having to pack raw meat around with you, which is part of why I don't fancy the idea of doing the raw diet.

    2. I stick with kibble and organic canned when I travel. The raw is just for the usual work week/weekend living. I agree raw would be a big hassle on the road!

  2. We don't have any trouble with the raw stuff when traveling...freeze it, stick it in a cooler with a little dry ice, and you're good to go. The few times I've screwed up on the amount of food, we just went to the grocery store and grabbed up some goodies. ;> I've done all the top kibbles, but would never go back to them...for so many reasons. But I have to admit, I put off the switch for years because it did seem daunting!

    Anyway, I hope Miss Dally stays energetic and comfortable for years to come!

    1. Thanks for the advice! I'll look into it a little more.