Caring for a Senior, Special Needs Dog

Hey everyone! For this week's blog post I thought I'd talk a little bit about my personal experiences in caring for my older English Cocker Spaniel, Bailey.

Let's start from the beginning. I got Bailey when I was still in high school. He was a tiny puppy that we picked up in Wisconsin, where my sister was a vet. On the second day of having this 3 month old puppy, my family drove 15 hours back to Pennsylvania (where I'm from) with our newest addition to our family, and Bailey and I have been best friends ever since.

Puppy Bailey

Bailey has traveled with me to college, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and finally to Washington. We've been there for each other through thick and thin (including Bailey being diagnosed with Lyme Disease and a few cancer scares), and next month we'll be celebrating his 12th birthday (he says please send peanut butter treats and tennis balls)!

Adult Bailey

Since we moved to Washington last summer, Bailey has unfortunately had an increase in health issues. It seems like he has pretty bad allergies from this area and developed a skin condition that made him very itchy. We treated that. He had giardia. Thank goodness we treated that! He's developed quite a few eye infections and most recently we found out that he has zero tear production and now will be on two different eye ointments for the rest of his life. Bailey has also had more than his fair share of ear infections since we've moved out here. Just take a look at all of his daily medications!

Bailey's Daily Medications

Bailey's most recent health issue began on a Tuesday in the middle of this past February, when I noticed that he was very thirsty and was drinking and urinating significantly more than usual. He had to go outside every hour and started having accidents in the house. By that Saturday, he was diagnosed with diabetes, and I was learning how to give him insulin injections. It's been really difficult trying to care for a diabetic dog whose insulin dosage we hadn't quite figured out yet. For a good month, he had to go out every 2 hours (including throughout the night). I wasn't getting much sleep and I was sick of cleaning up from his accidents since often his need to urinate came on too suddenly to make it outside of the apartment.

Bailey's Insulin

We have slowly been increasing Bailey's insulin dosage per our veterinarian's instructions and thankfully we're just about at the right dose now. Finally, after almost 2 months of constant care, Bailey is getting back to normal and is sleeping through the night. He still has accidents now and then, and we still have a little bit of tweaking to get to the right insulin dose but he has greatly improved! Yay Bailey! And yay for being able to sleep through the night!

Despite everything we've had to go through, it was totally worth all of those sleepless nights and expensive vet bills to get Bailey feeling good again. Luckily Bailey's diabetes and other health conditions were treatable and he's still able to enjoy his daily walks and occasional fetch sessions!

Bailey and I have formed an even deeper bond from these experiences and we enjoy our special time together even more. As we've all heard, you never know what could happen next year, next week, or even tomorrow. It's important to cherish all of the moments that you have together and live in the moment. After all, that's exactly what your pet is doing! Now go spend some quality time with your furball and have a Waggly Tail day with each other!

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