Watching Pets Age

Watching your pets age is a bear.

Those of you who have read here for a while know our dog, Butterscotch. She’s approaching 13 years of age, has Cushings Syndrome, and a very small heart murmur. Today she is having dental surgery, a surgery more on the routine side than the high-risk one, but with her age and conditions, it is in the modestly high-risk category. It is a necessary operation; without it the plaque on her teeth could infect the gums, her blood stream, and ultimately her heart, so it must be done. She’s in great and highly-skilled hands, and all precautions are being take, but it is hard not to worry.



She’s been showing her age more these last few months, or perhaps I’ve just noticed it more. Nothing dramatic…little changes, but noticeable. She used to run when I would (occasionally) put her on a flexi-lead in the fields, but she doesn’t do that anymore. When she does try to run, even for a short distance, she pays for it with fatigue and some arthritis. She limps for awhile after she’s pushed herself, and so I keep the walks closer to home than I used to. Just in case.


Butterscotch walking

The stairs started getting difficult for her a year or so ago, and we put carpet runners on the wooden ones. That worked pretty well for a bit, but the stairs are back to challenging her. She likes to sleep upstairs with us, and she used to be on the bed non-stop, but now she finds it tough to climb up, and she won’t use the doggie stairs I bought. She prefers her dog bed and the floor more often these days. And someday…maybe not for a year or so…the stairs will be too much for her. I won’t like that at all. Neither will she.

Butterscotch is nowhere near death’s door, to the best of my knowledge. She’s just aging. (So am I, truth be told!) She still loves her daily walk, even if it is shorter and less intense. She never skips a meal, and would probably prefer a few more of them each day. She still gets up on the sofa and the bed when she wants to.  She forgets all about her age when there’s something to bark at…unless she’s asleep, which happens a tiny bit more often than it did in the past. But she’s got some years left in her still, I think.




Still, it is hard to watch her get older. I’m gonna spend the next few hours thinking good thoughts for her and her surgeon, and will be glad to have her home tonight.

16 thoughts on “Watching Pets Age

  1. Timely post. I am writing about contrasts and aging. Jake is a 15 year old cat and this may be his last summer. It is heart wrenching to see him age and there is not much I can do but make him comfortable. We are going on a vacation and I will have to board him which won’t make him happy at all. He has too many accidents to be left with just a visiting cat sitter. The hard part is that I can’t explain all this to him and assure him I will be back to pick him up. Breaks my heart. Butterscotch is beautiful.

    1. It is so hard that we can’t tell these creatures that we love what is going on!! I hope all goes well while you are away.

  2. I can relate. My Shih Tzu are fourteen and thirteen respectively. It’s hard watching them, yet they still do what they can.

  3. What a gorgeous girl. If only pets could read, and she could see the love you have for her in your post. But she feels it in the care you give her every day, so she knows. 🙂 Watching pets get a little older, a little greyer, and a little slower can be difficult. I can really relate. All the more reason to love and cherish each moment with them. I’m going to go hug my furry babies right now. 🙂

    1. It is, indeed, reason to cherish them daily. Luckily Butterscotch came through the surgery well. We have some medical issues to deal with related to her Cushings, but we’ll figure it all out. Can’t wait to go pick her up from the vet!

  4. It does make your heart heavy to watch them age..our boys are 10 and 11 and we have seen the changes..slowly..pulling up sore from plays but try telling a fox terrier to slow down! finishing play a bit earlier,longer stretches before getting up..but healthy happy and much loved..getting greyer much like me long as they are healthy and loved and clearly beautiful Butterscotch is..i am glad all went is a worry..but dental things are vital for heart health so we way the pros and cons..this is the hardest part of being a pet owner..watching the puppy become a senior citizen..knowing you can’t explain to them they are aging..have a great reunion with your precious baby 🙂 Hugs Fozziemum x

    1. I’m pretty sure fox terrier and slow down don’t work in the same sentence…maybe not the same universe!!
      Your babies are lucky to have you.

      1. And yours you 🙂 the two words are an oxymoron! our vet laughed his head off years ago when Doc had his knee reco and said make sure he rests for six weeks….hmmmmm I asked if he was sedating him for six weeks!! no chance 😉

    1. Butterscotch did great, thankfully! We have some work to do on her Cushings meds, but we will figure that out. She is home and happy to be here!

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