Reasons To Protect Your Older Dog’s Back

My sweet rescue-dog, Archie, will be 8 years old in the new year. He’s been perfect for me to have as a little companion or emotional support dog. He never barks (unless he sees the UPS man) and is very good at house training. Archie has all kinds of signs to let us know what he needs and seem to understand what we’re saying.

dog at vet

We do our very best to take care of him. He has his regular vet check-ups and takes his prescriptions. He has been neutured, chipped, and has a collar with his/our identification. He’s part Bichon so his main hair is long, curly, and wild! I trim it every few months with a kit and need to clip around his eyes a little more often, because he has tears that get matted.

Last year, out of the blue, we noticed he was just sitting on the flour, away from us. This was something he has never done. We coaxed him up to the couch and he wouldn’t come. As we started watching him, we noticed that he started shaking. He shook all over, as if he had a fever or chills. We brought him food, water, treats, and even peanut butter. He wouldn’t eat or drink anything. We knew he must be hurting or sick.

Herniated Disc

We called and the vet saw him the next morning. She felt his spine a lot, going up and down his back. After a few minutes she said that he had a vertabrate problem. I think she was suggesting a slipped or herniated disk. Either way, there was inflammation. She gave us a lot of instructions.

Medications

We were to give Archie two dog prescriptions, which we picked up at the drugstore. We had Archie covered under our Kroger Family Discount Plan, which saved us a lot of money on the Gabapentin. He was to take 75 mg of Gabapentin twice a day (for nerve pain) and Prednisone (for a week) to bring down the inflammation so that the spine/disks could go back to normal size and heal.

ramp

Jumping Can Create Injury

The Vet said that dogs such as Dachshunds, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, Beagles, and German Sheperds are more prone to herniated disc than some other breeds. Our Archie is part Chihuahua and part Bichon Frise.

We needed to find a way to keep him from jumping on the couch. The Vet said to lift him carefully to the couch and up the stairs. To prevent him going up the stairs we put a baby gate at the bottom. We were to do this for a month. This was a real inconvience, but so was a very expensive surgery.

Later, I asked the Vet about this problem returning. She said that it would most likely return. And because of his breed, it could very well become chronic. Oh, that really worried us. Our entire love this little dog and we want to prevent him getting in pain again. What can we. do.

Chronic Pain

The Vet said the best way to prevent this problem from re-occuring is to prevent him from jumping up on the couch, running up the stairs, or jumping on the bed. I can’t always be there to pick him up, but I found a solution!

Dog Ramp Prevents Pain

Alpha Paw is a company that makes items for dogs and cats. They have a creation called DachRamp, which is for smaller dogs. They also have a larger ramp and a ramp to use outdoors with a car. Using these adjustable ramps will make it easy for your dog to stop jumping up and down. They easily collapse and can slide under the bed or furniture.

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Lisa Ehrman
Lisa Ehrman
Lisa has been blogging since 2013, and loves sharing resources and ideas for living a simple life. To get free printables, bonus words, and more - sign up for the newsletter.

8 thoughts on “Reasons To Protect Your Older Dog’s Back”

  1. Great article. It is super important to protect your dog’s back – even younger dogs. My beagle, Remington, had a herniated disc when she was 5. It was the scariest thing ever. One morning, I woke up to her screaming in pain. She was shaking and hiding under my bed. I had to move the bed to get to her because she wouldn’t come out. I thought she was dying. I rushed her to the vet who said that she couldn’t feel anything wrong but she suspected it was a problem with her spine. She gave me two options – a referral to a specialist 3 hours away who would most likely recommend expensive surgery or 8 weeks of strict crate rest and pain meds. I opted for the 2nd choice. While it wasn’t very pleasant, the crate rest worked great. 3 years later and she hasn’t had any issues with her back since then. Our vet said that she’s allowed to go up the stairs and jump onto the couch but she’s not allowed to jump down or go down the stairs as it puts too much pressure on her back when she hits the ground. We put a gate at the top of the stairs and I carry her down to the backyard to go out (we have a walkout basement). We also try to lift her off the couch and set her onto the floor whenever we can. It’s a good thing that she’s a small dog. The vet also recommended a harness instead of a collar so it doesn’t pull on her neck.

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  2. I always worry about this as well since I have a dachshund. Unfortunately she’s been stubborn with steps or ramps so far but hopefully one day

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  3. Most interesting article. Lucky that you were so observant of your dog’s behavior and consulted with your vet. Nice to know about the ramp. I will pass this information on to my daughter whose dog is suffering from DM.

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