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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10920
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My 10yr old Shih Tzu is behaving strangely in various ways

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My 10yr old Shih Tzu is behaving strangely in various ways including she has started frequently sitting down when walking on her lead.

She will also eat breakfast out of her bowl but not her evening meal & holds her chews in her mouth for ages before eating. She seems otherwise active & happy. The vet has checked her all over and can't find any problems.

Hello Rachael, I'm Dr. Deb.

I recently came online and see that your question about Daisie hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response,but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.

I'm not absolutely certain if her reluctance to go for longer walks is related to her problems with eating out of a food bowl at night.
The former could be secondary to arthritis; if so, then you do have a few options is she isn't currently taking any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and has no other pre-existing health conditions. I'm also not certain if she's taking supplements but if not, I'll list ones which may be helpful.
1. She could be given Aspirin at a dose of 10 mg/lb twice a day with food to avoid stomach upset. Many dogs will ultimately require stronger drugs from the vet but many will also respond to this drug initially.
I’m a huge fan of joint supplements such as Dasaquin or Cosequin which are veterinary products specifically formulated for dogs. Quality control is a big problem with these products since what’s on the label is not necessarily what’s in the bottle which is why I mentioned specific brands. These are available on the internet.

3. Also, fish oil supplements can be helpful since they have anti-inflammatory properties. Welactin and 3V Derm Caps are good veterinary products and are also available on the internet.

It takes several weeks for these products to build up in the system, so you might not see immediate results. But once started, these supplements should be continued for them to be effective; you wouldn't stop and start them, in other words, like you would drugs...but you may already know this.

4. Another option would be Zeel which is a human combination homeopathic that can be used in conjunction with other NSAID medications and has a very low incidence of adverse effects Dose would be 1/2 tablet two to three times a day....I'd go with three times a day for the first 2 weeks, then drop back to twice a day for maintenance.

5. Alternative therapies such as hydrotherapy, laser therapy, massage therapy and even acupuncture have been shown to be very useful for joint and spine problems.



As to her other odd behavior, when an older dogs starts to behave in unusual ways, there are several possible explanations:

1. Dementia or early senility. Many dogs will experience Sundown Syndrome which is very similar to humans with this condition. This is usually a slowly progressive condition for most dogs but it does tend to progress. Symptoms can be vague and non-specific for some dogs while for others, it's more obvious: staring off into space, acting confused, loss of housebreaking, panting, wandering aimlessly. Appetites can also be affected in some cases.

Treatment options tend to involve supplements:


a) Cognitive supplements such as Neutricks, SAMe (Novifit) and Senilife

b) Combinations of antioxidants such as Golden Years (Sogeval *) or Cell Advance 440 (VetriScience)
c) High dose fish oils as I mentioned above
d) Combination of Acetyl-l-cystine and alpha lipoic acid (200mg/400mg)
e) Melatonin at night as a sleep aid, if necessary; it's also a potent antioxidant 3 mg before bed would be the dose
e) Mirtazapine for appetite stimulation if needed although this is a drug which you'd have to purchase from your vet. If given in the evening, it can also help as a sleep aid

f) Diets such as B/D (which is a prescription diet from your vet) or the Purina senior diet with MCT oil may improve cognition and reduce anxiety if present.


2. High blood pressure can cause dogs to behave in some odd ways. Primary hypertension is not commonly seen but is usually secondary to an underlying disease such as problems with the kidneys, Cushing's disease, or Diabetes. Certain drugs can cause it, too, such as steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or Phenylpropanolamine but usually the dogs have been taking the drugs for a while.


If blood work was done recently and was normal, then this is less likely.


3. Unfortunately, I always worry about a brain mass when older dogs start acting odd. I don't include this to be alarming but just to be complete.



If this were my case, I would encourage arthritis supplements and an anti-inflammatory drug. These may help with her walk issues.

As to not eating out of the bowl at night, this is more problematic. I might feed her more in the morning if she has a better appetite at that time. I might offer her canned food or even mix human baby food (avoiding those with onion or garlic in them) in her kibble at night to make it more palatable. I might even feed her on a flat plate as opposed to a bowl.

I would definitely encourage supplements such as I mentioned.


I hope this helps; again my apologies for the delayed response. Deb




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Thanks for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.

And, all the best with Daisie. Regards, Deb

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