It would be nice if there was a category for questions and answers about Mature/Older Havanese. I had to search the internet to find information on what was normal and what was a sign of sickness when DaniGirl was going through her problems.
These Havanese are such happy dogs that what comes naturally to them happens even when they're sick. I thought that if Dani danced when she saw food, she was doing pretty good. She danced until the day she died.
I just think we could be alerted to problems early and be able to help our Havanese as they age and as they start on their journey to leave us. It would help us and them.
I think there are different degrees of sickness in our Havs, just as in humans. Some get sick and linger for awhile such as Lalla's Pamba, and others go unexpectedly, like my Bailey. Just as DaniGirl danced up until the day she died, Bailey went out walking with Tyler and me in the morning and was gone that evening because of a fluid buildup around his lungs. In light of this, I don't think that knowing what to expect when they become ill is a one shoe fits all situation and we can't really get any insight from others, except maybe a vet.
On the other hand, there are definitely signs of aging. Bear with me and I will tell you about Tyler's journey. First of all, his hearing and vision are most surely compromised. I think at this point (16 yrs and 10 1/2 mo) he is basically deaf and that has been coming on for awhile. Although he does hear loud noises, he has no idea where they are coming from. He perks up his ears but looks in the total opposite direction of the sound. As far as his vision, he definitely has night blindness and I don't know how much he actually does see in the daylight, although he does see. Because of these two afflictions, plus a bit of cognitive issues, at times he will come into a room and just stare into space. He no longer wags his tail when he sees us and he was quite a tail wagger in his prime. He sleeps most of the day and evening. I. Spite of all of these things, he is still active when awake and is happy. He is not in any pain and is not suffering. This is just the new way of life for an aging dog. Here is his typical day:
He gets up between 4:30-5:00 am. Ugh! I take him out to do his morning duties at which time he may RLH before I can catch him and bring him in. When we come in, he may continue running while looking at me to chase him. This has always been one of his favorite games. I then get his breakfast ready while he stands at my feet, waiting patiently. When he sees me pick up the dish, he dances and runs to his placemat, waiting. After breakfast, he gets 1/2 of his supplement (Cosequin DS), then gets his teeth brushed and topknot put in. After this I give him one of his puzzles to stimulate his brain. When he's done, he works out on his treadmill for 15 minutes due to his ACL injury last summer. Some mornings we also go out for a short walk and others we have a grooming session. By this time he's been up for 1-1 1/2 hours and he heads to his bed. We head off to the gym and when we return, I fix breakfast at which time he gets up for some eggs or blueberries, depending on what I have that day. Then, off to his bed again. He usually sleeps until noon, when I fix lunch, then it's up, out and he gets some sweet red pepper. Off to bed again until about 2:30. He goes out again and then has a mid afternoon snack when I have mine. He's back in bed by 3:00, gets up around 4:00 and works out another 15 minutes on the treadmill. He eats at 4:30 and is then up watching me while I prepare dinner and while we eat. After our dinner, he gets another 1/2 of his supplement and heads off to bed again. He gets up about 7:00-7:30, works out on his treadmill for another 15 minutes, goes out for the last time to do take care of business and hangs around until I have my evening snack when he gets a biscuit. He crashes again between 8-8:30 and when we head for bed at 11:00, I wake him up and he follows us to the bedroom and gets into his bed there. The next day, we do it all again. The exceptions to this routine are on Sunday mornings when we put him in the car and take him to the beach or to another village for a long walk, as well as every two weeks when we take him back to the rehab facility to socialize with the dogs he met there during his therapy sessions.