Treasured Golden Oldies We have come to know so many special Golden Oldies or
Mellow Yellows, as they are
sometimes called. The story of
Golden Oldie Bullet,
the special 15-year-old pictured here who alerted Mom to his new baby
brother's distress, was broadcast all over the country. Old dogs used to be a rarity. But, not now! That's due to
our increased awareness, better veterinary care, and improved diets. With
nearly 40% of our canine buddies considered geriatric, is it any wonder that
veterinarians and researchers are now focusing on geriatric nutrition,
dental care, and cancer?
Tufts University defines the senior dog this way:
"The point at which a dog qualifies as 'aged' varies. Veterinarians generally
consider small dogs to be senior citizens at about 12 years of age, while large dogs reach
the senior stage at 6 to 8 years of age. This roughly corresponds to the 55-plus category
Below, is a true Golden miracle that went by the name of Chance. Formally,
Synergold Beau Geste Quand'ry JH, CD, WCX, CGC, of Jan Bramhall's
Golden Retrievers, Chance enjoyed 19 wonderful years. The photo below, with his
pal Rhyme, was taken on his last morning of November 5, 2005.
Synergold Beau Geste Quand'ry JH, CD, WCX, CGC "Chance"
October 8, 1986 to November 5, 2005
Did you know that . . . . your
Golden does his/her fastest maturing in his first two years, already
equal to a 15-year-old teenager after only one year. And, believe it or not, he or she is
equal to an adult's age after only being with us two years. After that, however, only 4
years in maturity is gained with each passing year.
Age of Dog
Age of Dog
Did you know that at . . . . 7
YEARS: Seven marks the beginning of the
geriatric period for medium sized dogs like Goldens—even
though your dog may still look, act, and feel great.
It is now time for your Golden's first geriatric profile. Start looking for changes in your Golden
as they tend to hide their illnesses from you until the problem is so
advanced that they can't hide it anymore. So, take your aging buddy to the veterinarian
every year. 8-10 YEARS: Now, in the early years of the geriatric
period, body coordination can become a common problem. There is also a risk for obesity because their energy requirements drop. So,
check for signs and use different
methods to decrease food intake. Make
sure your veterinarian gets a geriatric profile on your Golden. Have the following tested:
kidney function, liver function, blood sugar, hematocrit (ratio of red cells to whole
blood), and total protein. 10-11 YEARS: Older geriatric Goldens now begin to
show many of the diseases of aging, in no particular order. Much of this, though, depends
on the Golden's individual makeup and environment. Watch for signs for declining dental
health. This, of course, is preventable by
providing good dental care from day one. Also, watch for digestion problems, kidney and liver problems, heart
disease, diabetes, and cancer. Nutritional needs change for older dogs, research
showing the need for more protein to maintain lean body mass. 12+ YEARS: Now,
older Goldens often have more problems keeping weight on,
than they do with keeping it off. Losing weight, though,
could be a sign of many physical problems. Or it could be
due to a simple lack of interest in food that is too hard to
chew or no longer appealing because of a declining sense of
Bailey, with her pink cast laden broken foot,
Ease your Golden into old age— the older your good buddy
becomes, the more s/he depends on their schedule. If there is a vision or hearing loss, don't
rearrange your furniture. Don't change your guy's eating or sleeping habits, and try not
to alter his or her daily routine. Any such disruption can be stressful. Also, groom your
buddy and periodically examine him or her for abnormal lumps. Your Goldens
also need to be touched and cuddled to reassure them that the dog-human bond is still
intact. Touch is extremely important in the lives of older canines, especially those who
can't hear or see as well.
Finally, let your guy know you're still there. Thank him or her
for a lifetime of love, loyalty, and companionship. Your Golden has devoted its very life
to loving you. The least you can do is keep him or her healthy, fit, and confident in your
Making informed choices regarding vaccinations is important. We titer through Cornell University—a high reading indicating adequate antibodies and no need for a booster (which can weaken the immune system). The
RabiesChallenge Study may
show the need for less vaccinations. Learn more about vaccinations, when to spay or neuter, heartworm medication
usage, thyroid testing, and immune system implications.
Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy,
Longer Life Now, in 2010 this wonderful book by veterinarian, Dr. Nancy Kay, is already in its third
printing! It was honored in 2009 by the Dog Writers Association of America and her
Speaking for Spot Blog won a Best Blog Award as well.
We love how Dr. Kay helps you come to grips with a cancer diagnosis, and
explains the tough choices that are bound to follow. Plus, you’ll find an
alphabetical listing of the most common symptoms experienced by dogs and the
questions your vet is sure to ask when you report them—not to mention hundreds
of prevalent diseases and related points you should be certain to clarify before
leaving your vet’s office with a treatment plan in hand.
A labor of love, this book was fueled by her passion to teach people how to be
effective medical advocates for their four-legged best friends. Gone are the
days of simply following doc’s orders―today’s dog
lovers are confronted with health-care decision-making on many levels.
ever wondered . . .
How do I find a vet that feels just right for me and my dog?
How will I be able to afford my dog’s health care? Is pet
insurance the way to go?
Does my dog truly need all those vaccines listed on the reminder
What are the important questions I should be asking my vet?
Does my dog really need the surgery or procedure that has been
Are there other options I should be considering?
When is it appropriate to get a second opinion? Where should I
go to get one and how can I avoid offending my vet?
Should I take my dog to see a specialist?
Should I consider treating my dog’s cancer?
Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing this for him or for me?
Is my dog ready to say goodbye? Am I ready to let him go? What
are my choices when it comes to the euthanasia process?
If you’ve struggled with these questions, you’ve come to just the right
place! Dr. Kay and Speaking for Spot will help you answer all of these questions
and many more. With warmth, candor, and humor cultivated over 20-plus years of
working with dogs and their human companions Dr. Kay provides an insider’s guide
to navigating the potentially overwhelming, confusing, and expensive world of
veterinary medicine. The result is everything you need to know in one fabulous,
fully illustrated book. Speaking for Spot is the consummate guide on how to be
your best friend’s medical advocate!
Be sure to learn about Going Organic and our
pages on Food Glorious Food, as well as to learn
The Whole Tooth.
Honestly, there is so much to
know when it comes to good care for our animal companions. And, that means
knowing about key disease and behavioral issues.
One great overall publication
that will help to keep you current on all things dog is
The Whole Dog Journal.,
a monthly guide to natural dog care and
training. This guide advocates natural and holistic feed, healthcare methods
and successful nonviolent training . . . and does not accept commercial
advertising. We have subscribed to this newsletter for many years now as it is invaluable.
We have collected many resources on areas related to disease conditions, aging,
and behavioral problems. Be sure to explore the pages and materials below.
Sharing health experiences with others can prompt brainstorming and ultimately successful outcomes.
Folks may also recognize the situation
should it occur with their own dog. Here are some of these Golden
Tales. (And, if you have a Golden Retriever health tale that you
would like to share, just send it, along with photos, to:
Belle made it past her 17th birthday. Quite a story for a dog
that was abandoned at nearly 9. Around age 9 Belle was hit by a school
bus, losing her left front leg. Her owners abandoned her;
whereby Kris rescued her and taught her how to walk on three
legs. In this video she is recovering from pneumonia and cannot
walk. A vet contributed the wagon and a painter contributed the
At nearly 17 years old, Belle was "eating
hamburgers, hot dogs, cornbread with fresh blueberries,
spaghetti, and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches".
These pictures were taken in 2001 at an AKC dog agility trial in
Cato NY. Belle was certified by TDI and Delta and labeled as an
"awesome Team". She gave much hope to hospitalized children who
had lost limbs. They witnessed Belle hopping carefree through
the halls and rooms and realized they were not alone.
Please enjoy these wonderful tales of some of our Treasured
Golden Oldies. Do you have a Golden Retriever tale that you would like to share?
Just send it, along with photos, to:
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Our Golden Alfie has gotten 6000 units daily since 2007, before that
getting 3000-4000 units a day. Boy, what a difference it
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the extra softgels keep down joint inflammation associated with
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