My Senior Dog

by Melissa R. on January 19, 2011

Mocca is almost 12!

Mocca is almost 12!

My dear Border Collie Mocca is 11, and rounding up to 12 this year. I can’t believe I’ve had her almost 8 years now! She is really getting up there in age, though she surely doesn’t show it. You’d never know she was a “senior”, and people are always surprised when I tell them.

Here’s a few things I do for her because of her age:

  • Because she is a senior, I feed her Senior Vitamins. I do not feed her a senior food because she has no issues with her weight and seems happy on her Drs. Foster & Smith Chicken & Rice dog food.
  • Mocca has always been hard on her joints, so several years ago, I started her on various types of Glucosamine supplements. She currently is taking our Drs. Foster & Smith Joint Care 2. It definitely helps! If she doesn’t take it, she often gets up with a little limp in one of her back legs, but when she’s on it – no limp.
  • Mocca also has been hard on her teeth! She LOVES to play Frisbee and catch anything, and the near misses – “SNAP” – seem to have ground down a lot of her front teeth. I do try to brush them occasionally and check to make sure there isn’t too much tartar. We have been lucky in that she has never had to had her teeth cleaned by a veterinarian.

Lumps & Bumps:
In the past couple years; she has also developed many lumps and bumps. This is common in older dogs – they are usually just fatty deposits. They have come on slowly, one by one. When they first started appearing, I rushed her to the vet to have it aspirated and checked for Cancer. They have always just been fatty deposits, thankfully! I have had this done to 3 or 4 lumps by now, and at this point, have stopped having them checked. Of course, a couple lumps every year adds up, so now there are many, not a few. I keep an eye out for any that feels “different” though.

Lyme Disease:
You may have read the posts about Mocca’s experiences with Lyme Disease. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to have affected her health or joints at all. We keep a close eye out for that telltale sign of a limp on her though, and our vet will write us a prescription immediately if it starts up. I hope this time we got it all and when spring/summer rolls around we won’t have a recurrence. So far, it’s been about every 6 months.

Geriatric Exam:
Last week I was doing a check of her teeth and noticed one of her big fangs in front had turned brown. I am not sure what is going on, so I’ve decided it is time for a visit to the veterinarian. I’ll also have them check over the new lumps, and I think do a good baseline blood test just to be sure she’s healthy. One of the lumps that has been on a back leg for several years is getting bigger (also it is UNDER the muscle) – we’ll have that checked out to see about having it removed. It doesn’t seem to bother her, but I want to discuss it with our veterinarian.

Hopefully nothing is up with the tooth, and the leg lump is no issue. But I’ll definitely feel better having had our vet check things out! I’ll keep you posted!

Related Posts:

  • My Intrepid Senior – Tips and tricks to keep older senior dogs happy and comfortable during their golden years.
  • Pearly Whites – Simple steps you can take to improve your dog’s dental well-being, and ultimately, his overall health.
  • Dogs & Dog Beds – Think your dog doesn’t need a bed?


About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

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Rosemary January 19, 2011 at 8:01 am

My Rat Terrier, Lucky, will be 11 sometime in mid May. Most people don’t believe he’s that old, either. Even when they see his grey face, they think it’s just part of his markings, since he’s black and white. He does have “old dog eyes’ , which shows when the light hits them. He still has good vision, however, and sure can see those squirrels (and cats) when we walk.

He’s been on joint supplements for years, because he probably has Calve-Perthe, which is a devolopmental joint condition. He started limping when he was nine months old, so I took him to the vet, thinking he had a slipping patella, but the problem is actually in his hip. We’ve never shot x-rays for a definite diagnosis, but it is a common problem in terriers and smaller dogs. I also have to be carefull to keep him active, and not let him get overweight. That’s why we walk so much.

He has a little bump that will re re-checked at his next exam, but doesn’t appear to be anything serious. His teeth are also in pretty good shape, considering that I don’t brush them all that often. They are still very sharp, which is why I am so careful when it comes to trimming his nails, as he will try to bite.

Like I said, most people just don’t believe that he’s as old as he is, because he still is so active and energetic. While not as fast as puppy Ilka, he still runs rings around me. After a three mile walk, I’m pooped, while they are still raring to go.

melissa January 19, 2011 at 8:16 am

Quick update: Mocca’s visit to the veterinarian yesterday went well. Her lumps all checked out as fatty deposits like I thought. The tooth that had turned brown/gray is dead, but not bothering her and is no concern. And last, the lump on her back leg is something I need to think about having removed as it will be easier than when it gets bigger. So, I need to think about that a bit. They drew blood to do bloodwork on her and I should have those results back today or tomorrow. All in all, I’m happy we want – although turns out nothing to worry about, now I don’t have to worry!

Cheryl @ Allergy Friendly Dogs January 19, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I was only discussing this topic with a friend the other day who is concerned about her aging Labrador. Forwarding the link now. Great article, and helpful information, thanks.

Eric Swisher January 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Over the past several years of making custom support harnesses for pets, mostly dogs, I have become aware of the very large number of canine osteosarcomas in the population, and the resulting number of amputations, which is how these pets enter my arena. I would strongly caution all dog owners to pay close attention to bumps on their pets legs, and have them examined as soon as detected by their veterinarian. Even after amputation, however, dogs can live on, even for years, with the support of dedicated owners.

Diane Cox January 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Iadopted a senior Australian Kelpie from the animal shelter 6 months ago. Nobody else wanted him because of his age. He just turned 9 years young.. He still keeps up with me on our 1 mile run every day.He is my best friend.I have no regrets what so ever about adopting a We both love your products from Foster and Smith. It is so convienent and fresh.The Customer Service is excellant too! ,Thanks for all of your great serviceYour Friends, Diane Cox and Ray the dog!.

Jacqueline Browning October 22, 2017 at 2:09 pm

My Shiz Zu is almost 10 and his personality has changed. I am widow living alone with two dogs so neither of them have been socialized. Recently a large, younger dog visited and wanted to play but my dogs were scared to death of him. Since then Tripp’s personality has changed drastically. He has spells of rolling on his back from room to room whinng and sometimes barkng. During the day, he takes naps sleeping on his back. The visit from the large dog was 2 weeks ago and he seems to be better. Has he been tramatized by the big dog or could it be something else?

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