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Should I walk Simon in the winter?

  • Yes, Walk Him. He needs it.

    Votes: 6 37.5%
  • No, Let Him Stay Home. He's old an has earned his rest.

    Votes: 10 62.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Simon is a dog who loves walks. However, now that winter has come (even if it is a strange one for Minnesota so far) he is absolutely miserable on walks. He loves to play in the yard with Shanoa, but no matter what measures I take to bundle him up he just hates going for walks.

He's nine years old now. I'm inclined to just let him direct his own activity, and if he hates winter walks not make him go on them. I know many elderly people (my husband worked in assisted living facilities), and most of them don't do well in winter, either. No matter how many sweaters they put on, they are still cold and don't want to go out. I think it's not just the cold, either. There's snow on the ground, the footing isn't as steady, and Simon just plain doesn't like it.

He's a pretty low energy dog. He is very happy to chase Shanoa around the yard in most weather so far. What do you all think? Honest answers - should I let him skip walks this winter, given his age and how miserable he is out there?
 

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If Simon usually loves walks and loves being with Shanoa but doesn't want to walk in the snow or on ice, etc maybe it's best to let him decide. After all, it's not like he is lazy. He loves playing with Shanoa in the yard. Maybe he feels more comfortable doing that than walking where it might be slippery etc. After all, he IS 9.

Who knows...perhaps after a few days of missing out on these walks, he might decide he wants to try it.

So, my answer would be to let him decide and see what happens. Let us know what you decide to do.
 

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Honestly, I would push him to keep going. Having a regular routine is great, and walking really keeps the fluids going within the joints. Have you thought of jackets that cover the legs? How about some booties? And a turtle neck to cover his ears?
 

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We pet sit a 11 year old (this is my dobes mother) Emme and she does what she wants .........we do help her outside to potty. She usually walks around and rolls in the grass and comes inside. I would let him decide or just let him rest.
 

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We can't walk the dogs, we go visit a private dog park 2-3 times a week.

As long as Swilly wants to go she can, even before she had her amputation, she was up for it, although she just went there and laid down and watched the other dogs.

Post amp, she is the lets go to the park advocate.

I have no idea how this relates to your question, but I wouldn't force a walk, more of a take your exercise as you like.
 

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Alright. I am the only one that voted to walk him. Maybe shorten his walks or not do it everyday, but I do think it is good for him to have the structured exercise. His body is used to it now, if you stopped it might be a lot harder to get his body back into the routine if you need/choose to start again.
 

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I would also let 9 y/o Simon decide...and its great that he has Shanoa to play with, in the yard.

Our girl is 11 y/o and we have a foot of snow now, on the lawn.
Just peeing in the snow, is enough for her...she will stay outside in the yard a little longer if its a milder temp. above 32*F / but when its freezing & the wind picks up, outside potty time is quick, and its back inside and up on the leather couch...to warm up.
- being from Canada, I did not vote...in the poll
 

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As long as he is getting exercise (in the yard). I wouldn't make him walk if he didn't want to. Be sure to adjust his food down if needed so he doesn't plump up over the winter.
 

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Alright. I am the only one that voted to walk him. Maybe shorten his walks or not do it everyday, but I do think it is good for him to have the structured exercise. His body is used to it now, if you stopped it might be a lot harder to get his body back into the routine if you need/choose to start again.
While I totally understand your point of view and am normally the advocate for keeping up the daily walks, I think the main reason I wouldn't push it with an older Dobe that is not wanting to go on a walk, is that sometimes there are issues going on that we aren't aware of but they instinctively know that they don't feel comfortable doing it.

My gal was not wanting to do things probably due to her Wobbler's but I was not aware of it in the early stages...of course, when it later became very apparent, then on hindsight I could see why she didn't want to do certain things.
 

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This year I have decided to keep Porsche in on cold cold days from her walks. She's 9 and has shown no desire to go out in that kind of weather, even though she loves her walks and the snow.

Sorry, Im not from Minnesota, Ontario Canada... Same weather lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Honestly, I would push him to keep going. Having a regular routine is great, and walking really keeps the fluids going within the joints. Have you thought of jackets that cover the legs? How about some booties? And a turtle neck to cover his ears?
He does have fleece with legs, and a snood to cover neck and ears. Honestly, I don't think it's just that he's cold. He has some issues with his back hips (he's on supplements) and with a back knee. The rescue vet suspects he had an ACL tear at one point that was untreated. He's generally pretty mobile, but I think being out in the cold and having to walk at my pace (rather than chasing Shanoa, which would definitely warm up his muscles more, and is at his pace) is just unpleasant for him. He also was treated for heartworm disease right after we adopted him, and it was advanced enough to cause some lung damage, so that could be a factor, too.
 

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Our older dobe wasn't comfortable walking in the winter, we later found out he had wobblers. Our last winter with him, I was concerned about slippery conditions, but if you leave it up to them, they manage quite well.
 

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That was the info I was looking for... any musculoskeletal history that might indicate arthritis or other weather-exacerbated ailments. You can either let him direct his own activity level, or you can do what is done in a rehabilitaion setting (human or animal)... give a pain pill about an hour before you want to walk (or any activity) - this will help decrease his hesitation or fear about the pain he might incur. Only go walking if it isn't bitterly cold or sleeting or other severe weather. Walk casually, so his joints loosen up and he gets a bit of exercise, but enjoys the process. Meanwhile, if he feels like playing at home, he still can. But the walks are not only good for his body, but for his mood, as well. If he absolutely resists, then don't force him. How much glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM do you give him?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That was the info I was looking for... any musculoskeletal history that might indicate arthritis or other weather-exacerbated ailments. You can either let him direct his own activity level, or you can do what is done in a rehabilitaion setting (human or animal)... give a pain pill about an hour before you want to walk (or any activity) - this will help decrease his hesitation or fear about the pain he might incur. Only go walking if it isn't bitterly cold or sleeting or other severe weather. Walk casually, so his joints loosen up and he gets a bit of exercise, but enjoys the process. Meanwhile, if he feels like playing at home, he still can. But the walks are not only good for his body, but for his mood, as well. If he absolutely resists, then don't force him. How much glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM do you give him?
Sorry, I should have included that in the initial post. He isn't really showing signs of pain on walks, just doesn't seem to enjoy them much. Normally when we walk (summer, fall), he was incredibly enthusiastic. I'll be talking to my vet about this, too, of course, and see what she says.

Simon doesn't have as much muscle tone as I'd like. He's improved since we got him, but he still lacks good muscle. I don't think he was exercised regularly in his previous home, and then the two months of crate rest for heartworm exacerbated the problem. We've been rebuilding slowly. He was doing very well on regular walks, and we'd do some hiking, too, that included small hills. He has also been able to go for short, slow bike rides.

One of the symptoms he has is that his left rear leg shakes occasionally. It will happen after heavy exercise, but also when he's resting. He also almost always chooses to lie on his right hip, keeping his left hip up.

He's on one tablet of Dasuquin with MSM per day (of the large dog formula), and a full dose of Hyaflex daily. He also gets 1000 EPA of fish oil daily.

I have some concerns about Wobblers that I've talked about with my vet. I'm also concerned that there may be some arthritis in his hips. Simon is getting two teeth pulled in March (my vet wanted to wait until 6 months post heartworm treatment to do it), and I'm planning to have an x-ray taken at that time to check his hips.
 

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You might get some plain pure MSM, try a feed store in the horse section for a decent price, and give him the MSM at least two times per day. MSM doesn't have a very long shelf life in the body. I had a mare that was just a whole lot more comfortable and supple under saddle on MSM, and when showing her under saddle, we dosed it every 8 hours.
 

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Sorry, I should have included that in the initial post. He isn't really showing signs of pain on walks, just doesn't seem to enjoy them much. Normally when we walk (summer, fall), he was incredibly enthusiastic. I'll be talking to my vet about this, too, of course, and see what she says.

Simon doesn't have as much muscle tone as I'd like. He's improved since we got him, but he still lacks good muscle. I don't think he was exercised regularly in his previous home, and then the two months of crate rest for heartworm exacerbated the problem. We've been rebuilding slowly. He was doing very well on regular walks, and we'd do some hiking, too, that included small hills. He has also been able to go for short, slow bike rides.

One of the symptoms he has is that his left rear leg shakes occasionally. It will happen after heavy exercise, but also when he's resting. He also almost always chooses to lie on his right hip, keeping his left hip up.

He's on one tablet of Dasuquin with MSM per day (of the large dog formula), and a full dose of Hyaflex daily. He also gets 1000 EPA of fish oil daily.

I have some concerns about Wobblers that I've talked about with my vet. I'm also concerned that there may be some arthritis in his hips. Simon is getting two teeth pulled in March (my vet wanted to wait until 6 months post heartworm treatment to do it), and I'm planning to have an x-ray taken at that time to check his hips.
It makes me wonder if Simon might have Wobbler's...or a hip issue. Audrey stopped wanting to run about a year ago altho at that time she would still trot a little bit, then she didnt' want to go onto her hind legs to 'jump/reach' for a treat. But she still loved her walks and could walk a lot. Those were early signs that something was bothering her. But nothing else was apparent (to me at the time).
On the one hand, any exercise is good for maintaining muscle strength but if he has an issue with the nerves firing the muscles, those muscles will be weak and tend to lose strength. Audrey has been losing rear leg strength the past year. She's still pretty good for walking straight ahead on even ground.
When he has dental work, see if they can do an xray on his entire spine and not just his hips. Audrey's xrays showed Wobbler's. If it is advanced enough (as I understand it), it will show up on an xray. If it is just beginning, could be only an mri would confirm. But either way, if you dont want to spend the money on an MRI (since the treatment might be the same if you don't go for surgery given his age), if Simon's legs are weak and he is 9 and he is hesitant about some activities...I would let him guide you in what he should and can do. Sounds like he isn't a couch potato since he loves his walks usually and since he plays with Shanoa in the yard, so I think he probably doesn't feel up to it for some reason.
Audrey's vet has her on 2 Dasuquin a day for large dogs.
 

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I'd let Simon decide. He's an old, happy guy and he's kinda been banged up in life and Dobes are really stoic. He may not show many signs of discomfort on winter walks but not wanting to or flat out not enjoying them would be the only sign I'd need to let him play freely and rest at his own leisure.

Kisses to Simon. I <3 him. :)
 

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Willie is 8, and he also has some shakiness of his rear legs after "big" exercise - but he also shakes when he's concentrating really hard, so I think it's partly just what he does when he's excited - he absolutely looks forward to his 2-3 times daily of chasing bubbles - I use his passion for them to get him to jump hurdles, go on the teeter-totter, and a few other home-made obstacle/agility-style things... He loves to jump, and levitates effortlessly. But I agree that if a dog just really tells you they don't want to do something, it means that it isn't pleasant for them, and there's nothing wrong with respecting that - especially with a rescue, or an elderly dog.

I don't buy special G/C/MSM for my beasties - I give them the same stuff we use - I've been using it since 1999 because of a severe knee injury & knee reconstruction, and I always buy the RiteAid brand natural one that's 1,500mg/1,200mg/900mg per 3 tablets. Willie gets 1 twice a day, Annie gets 1 once a day, and DH & I each take 1 twice a day. I only buy them when it is a BOGO sale, and I buy the 240 tablet size - saves a bunch o'money!

(oh, and PS - I don't think I'd hike or bike with a senior Dobe - they get arthritic too easily, unless they've been athletic all their lives - and even then, might be too much... save that for a Whippet or Schipperke - LOL!)
 
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