For me, the last couple of months have been tumultuous with the loss of Winston, Rosie coming into our lives when she did (kiss-met!) and then the necessity to #stayathome until further notice. So, it’s no surprise that we started to notice that Charles was finding it more and more difficult to get around in the morning now that it’s starting to get cold, coupled with a decrease in toilet control, and the fact that he recently celebrated his 11th birthday. The Charles in my head still looks like the puppy I adopted all those years go.
Picture: Charles at the age of 2
We count ourselves lucky that Charles has been relatively healthy long into his senior years, but the recent changes have woken us up to the fact that we needed to make some accommodations at home and when we go out to make his senior life as comfortable as possible. Unlike our last Pug Louis, who lived until 14 and only started to have real trouble in the last 6 months of his life, Charles is the first Pug we’ve had, were we’ve needed to buy equipment to help him maintain his freedom in his Senior years.
Now depending on who you speak to, the age your Pug is considered to become Senior varies between 7 – 9, and some even say later. Personally, my experience with my Pugs has been, a settling of puppy type behaviour, such as zoomies, but still getting about happily, at about age 7. Then another settling into an almost ‘zen state of being’ at 10, where they happily sleep the day away in their favourite sunny spot, meander down the road for their daily exercise/socialisation activity and definitely become more cuddly/happy to be picked up and cuddled than ever before.
Picture: Charles at the age of 11
Regardless of when you or your Vet believes your Pug has reached Senior status, the consensus is that once your Pug becomes ‘Senior’ they need difference care, starting with regular geriatric screenings, an increase in Vet visits in general to manage the many issues that develop with age, and the inevitable changes around the house or when you go out, to accommodate their reduced agility/mobility.
If you're not aware, a geriatric screening is an important baselining activity for your Pug and Vet, and includes:
- ‘A thorough, hands-on physical exam
- Blood tests
- Possibly an electrocardiogram
- Specialised tests depending on your Pug’s health history’ (ref 1)
What is your Vet looking for you might ask? They’re looking to mitigate the following common Senior issues because prevention really is the best medicine for your Pug:
- Arthritis (degenerative joint disease)
- Periodontal disease
- Cataracts and other ailments leading to vision loss
- Hearing problems
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Hypothyroidism (skin and coat problems due to inadequate levels of thyroid hormones)
- Kidney problems
- Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (Pug senility)
- Certain forms of Cancer.’ (ref 2)
We have been very fortunate that Charles has largely been healthy and happy right up until we started to see a change in his agility about 12 months ago; both at home, and out and about. He was having trouble getting up on the couch where he historically jumped up with vigour and a little smug smile on his face like “Yeah! I’ve still got it mum!”. We were happy to pick him up and put him on the couch but after a few tragic landings that had my heart skipping a few beats, we got him a set of stairs from a friend at play group whose Pugs wouldn’t have a bar of them.
After a few false starts, Charles got the hang of them, and for about 9-months he had a happy Pug 'zooming' up and down his stairs; yes, he got cranky when Winston tried to use them but luckily Winston could still jump up onto the couch without assistance. We then noticed a reluctance to use the stairs to get off the couch, he was happy to go up but not down; resulting in barking to be put down by us or the return of the heart attack inducing jump to the floor when we were obviously not fast enough.
With that, I then went looking for something that would continue to give him the freedom we wanted for him, minus the palpitations and agility issues. No one in our play group had used a ramp before so I had to take a leap of faith that it would work, and what I found was a height adjustable dog ramp that was designed for dachshunds. Although I was a little nervous about getting it as I wasn’t sure if Charles would like it or not, he figured it out pretty quickly (with the help of doggy chocolate) and now loves to slide down the ramp on his paws ….. you go my little skater-pug! The ramp was well worth the money and fingers-crossed it will serve Charles for a long time yet.
Picture: Charles’ Ramp (purchased from RampChamp.com)
The other piece of Senior Pug support equipment we’ve invested in recently was a Stroller, or as we like to call it “The Puggie Stroller.” Charles loves going for walks and snuffling around (initially with his brother Winston and now with his girlfriend Rosie); the thought of having to walk him separately to Winston/Rosie because he can’t go as far these days was not something we wanted to entertain.
I found a stroller that did the basics and most importantly was weighted to carry Charles and a few extra items like a water bowl and bottle because he wasn’t a fan of the travel bottles (spoilt anyone?). We had to invest in two retractable leashes to give us the freedom to walk two Pugs with the stroller until Charles had had enough and he went into the stroller for a rest … looking like a little ‘Puggie Prince’ in his carriage. Having the flexibility of a retractable leash definitely makes life easier for me and the Pugs, giving them freedom to meander around the stroller without being run over or my arm getting yanked out of its socket as they suddenly change direction!
Video 1: Charles and Winston resting up after a "long" walk
The challenge I now have, as you can see by the video, is that I have a two pugs in a one pug stroller; yes, Rosie like Winston figured out that the stroller was the place to be and having Mum or Dad rolling you around is completely appropriate! I think you can guess what I am now shopping for in my spare time!
I never thought I’d be a Pug-mom that would need stairs or ramps or strollers for my Pug(s), but it’s not the first time I have turned my life and house upside down to make sure that my fur-baby was as comfortable as possible. And, I am positive I am not the only Pug-parent out there that has!
I'd love to know what you have bought, tried and tested for your Senior Pug to make sure that their days are as comfortable as possible? Can you recommend a ramp, set of stairs or a ‘Puggie Stroller’ that is two-Pug strong? Please share with the rest of the Grumble below as we'd love to chat with you and we always respond.
Until next time Puggies, have a wonderful week and look forward to snuffling with you soon.
From Donna, Charles and Rosie
Founder of Pug Parties and Pug Supermodels
P.S. I have included a number of interesting and helpful Senior Pug Articles below if you want to do some more reading on how to care for your Senior Pug in general.
If you love all things Pug, then come snuffle with us by becoming a Grumble Friend and subscribe to our newsletter in the footer of this page.
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- How Care Changes as Your Pug Dog Grows Older http://www.petpugdog.com/senior-pug-dogs - Senior Pug Dogs
- Tips To Addressing Senior Pug Health Issues And Care _ Loves Pugs http://www.lovespugs.com/tips-to-addressing-senior-pug-health-issues-and-care
- Caring for Senior Pugs What You Need to Know About https://blackpugsite.com/senior-pugs/
- How to Care for Elderly Pugs – Pets https://pets.thenest.com/care-elderly-pugs-5514.html
- Caring for Senior Dogs_ Pug Edition - DGP For Pets https://www.dgpforpets.com/blog/caring-senior-dogs-pug-edition/?v=920f83e594a1
- Caring for a Senior Pug https://www.pugvillage.com/pug-health/caring-senior-pug
- How to Care for Elderly Pugs https://www.pugvillage.com/pug-health/how-care-elderly-pugs
- How to Care for Your Senior Pug - The Pug Diary https://www.thepugdiary.com/how-to-care-for-your-senior-pug/
Other articles in the Pug Love series:
- Where can Puggies go with their Hooman’s for a treat on the Long Weekend? https://pugparties.com.au/blogs/grumble-news/where-can-puggies-go-with-their-hooman-s-for-a-treat-on-the-long-weekend
- It was ‘Love at First Sight’ https://pugparties.com.au/blogs/grumble-news/it-was-love-at-first-sight
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