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How do you handle older dogs with back/disk problems?

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  • How do you handle older dogs with back/disk problems?

    I got a call from a man about a 13 y/o Westie that they don't want to leave at the shop for hours anymore due to having back/disk problems arthritis and he just had a cortisone shot. he of course had to ask the wife if housecall vs Mobile was alright and call back (we shall see if he does).

    If they do set up an appointment would it be safe to use a harness on him to do back feet without having to bend them or lift them. Either the blue romani with four leg holes , the regular strap sling or I think I have a red one with two leg holes or might this make more of a chance of back injury from lifting and him possible twisting or turning the wrong way?

    Would you skip doing sani and lifting the back legs and skip trimming back pads all together?

  • #2
    hihi Dog Daze,

    The short answer "Very carefully" hehe. The long answer, feel out he dog. If he seems comfortable with you picking up his feet then Id say go ahead, I wouldn't lift his back legs high enough to do the sanitary though.

    I have a few dogs with these issues all in different severity. If anything I do makes them struggle then I don't do it or find another way. I can tell you one trick that works really well.

    My worst one is a little Shih. I've been doing him since he was a lil baby puppy and now his back issues are so bad that he sees an acupuncturist every week and has his own chiropractor. He really cant handle me picking up his feet at all so I have someone pick him up and very gently hold him.. with him being held I can do his nails, trim his feet and do his sanitary all without any stress on his legs or back. Maybe if this house call of yours is bad enough you could have the owner hold him while you trim his feet.

    Oh also, even though I have a rack in the tub, I usually put a towel down in the tub for him to stand on so there is no chance of his feet slipping and having him tug something in his back. If you are in a small sink you probably don't have to worry about it, but if there is slipping room.... Id find a way to make it unslippery hehe.


    • #3
      I do

      a couple of Bichons with such problems. One cannot really stand up on his hind legs but sort of sits with them split. Hardest is the groan area especially with the short legs. I do a lot of letting him rest on my arm. My arm gets tired. Both seem to kick out with any touch of their back feet, like a horse. I sweat out grooming them but they do need grooming so I do it.
      Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.


      • #4
        The great thing about housecall, is you can ask the parents to help. I did a 13 yr old long haired Chihuahua today that has a bad front leg. It was broken when she was little and the leg & foot are at a weird angle and she has very little mobility in that leg. I got mom to gently lift up her front end and support her weight under her tummy while I trimmed her front legs & feet. That's the neatest thing about housecall, being able to work with the senior pets. No matter how old ya get, ya still deserve to look pretty ( I'm old too, so I should know,,,lmao)


        • #5
          I do a 14 year old teeny tiny Lhasa that has these problems. I do what Jadenlea says and I get someone to hold him gently while I do his feet/nails/sanitary. Works great!


          • #6
            i do nails and sanitary while they are lying on their side.
            Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
            "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887


            • #7
              Originally posted by Dog Daze View Post
              ... 13 y/o Westie that they don't want to leave at the shop for hours anymore due to having back/disk problems arthritis and he just had a cortisone shot....
              Another way to look at it: Leaving the dog at a shop could actually be better in some cases. Sometimes it's easier on a dog to be cage dried have several breaks during a groom as opposed to being groomed straight through from start to finish, and hand dried with an HV.


              • #8
                First things first. Have the owner check with their vet and ask about pain medication during the groom. That would make the dog much more comfortable.

                Having had both a back and a hip injury, I think it's important to keep in mind that completely suspending the dog's rear can be extremely painful. It's better to use something that allows them to shift their weight around, but provides support at the same time. Something they can rest their weight on. A sling would work quite well so long as the dog can still have his feet on the table and move around a bit, but at the same time he can't sit all the way down, he's just resting some of his weight against the sling.