Up until about six months ago, Beans was still in really good health. The only sign of old age she had then was she needed stairs to get up onto furniture. It’s declined quite a bit since then. She now is on medication for a leaky bladder, she is on a cough suppressant to make her more comfortable despite her collapsing trachea but she still coughs quite a bit, she struggles with incontinence, and she has limited sight. She also struggles with choking on kibble or hard treats. I thought it would be interesting to share what a day in the life of a 14-year-old pug looks like for us. Or perhaps, what a day in my life looks like in terms of caring for Beans.
Beans is my alarm clock most days. We give her a cough suppressant and allergy pill at night to help soothe her throat and try to get her some sleep. She typically can sleep 6-7 hours fine, and then she wakes up and will cough for 20+ minutes straight which makes it impossible for me to keep sleeping even though we use a white noise machine to try to block out the noise. So I get up.
I take off her diaper and we go walk around the yard. She goes potty better when we go outside of the gated part of our fence, so we do that each morning. We have an acre and our house is near the back of it, leaving us with a pretty long driveway and quite a distance from our neighbors. I don’t leash her, but I make sure to stay fairly close to her because she can’t see very far. I’ve had cases in the past of letting her get too far away, calling her and then her turning and running in the opposite direction! It was a good laugh, but I worry about her going in a dangerous direction before I can catch up to her, of courses.
Once we come inside I wipe her with a baby wipe. She is prone to UTI’s and this seems to help. I then measure out a 1/2 a cup of her kibble and put it in a bowl with a little bit of water to soften for perhaps 5 minutes before feeding her and Frank both. She chokes on hard kibble, but the slightly softened kibble seems to go down well.
For those of you follow my curly girl method journey, this was second-day hair after not pineappling the second night. The top part went flat from being laid on…and the bottom waves got weird too.
I let her stay diaper-free for about an hour after coming inside so that she can air out and hopefully not get a UTI. Then I cut a hole in a diaper and put it on her. Check out my how to get a dog diaper to stay on post for details on how that works. I work from home online and she spends most of her day laying under my computer desk on the couch with me. We have a set of dog steps that she uses to get up to the couch. When I get up to make lunch, use the bathroom or otherwise move around the house sometime she follows me and sometimes she stays in place.
The last month or so, I have noticed that she hesitates to come down the dog steps. She stands at the top and will stare near the floor for a long time before coming down. I believe her sight is so limited that she cannot see the steps, or cannot set eh floor well enough to feel as confident as she used to on the steps. If I’m waiting on her to come down the steps I will place my had between her shoulder blades and then she instantly barrels down the stairs once she knows I am there guiding her.
Throughout the day she sometimes asks to go outside, especially if a person is going outside. She still likes to roll around and be silly.
When I shower at night, she follows me into the bathroom and will lay on the bathroom floor. I diffuse my hair which takes me about an hour of sitting in the bathroom and she stays with me that entire time too!
Around 10:pm we feed the dogs again, with me watering her food down for about 5 minutes before serving it to her. I also give her an allergy pill, cough suppressant and her hormone pill at night. We trick her into eating them by folding them into a tiny piece of ripped ham, like a little taco. Before bed, I will throw away her ‘day diaper’ and give her a new one, so she gets two diapers a day even if she has no accidents. More if he does, of course.
When I go to bed she climb up the dog steps by our bed and lays near my upper body most nights. It typically takes her 10 minutes or so to stop coughing after coming to bed.
Throughout the day, she will have several hours at a time without coughing at all sometimes. She seems to go into a coughing fit after moving. If I get up to make lunch and she follows me, she’ll cough for a while. When we go back out to do more work, she’ll lay down, but continue coughing for a while before she settles again. Most of the time her coughing fits are 10 minutes or less, but the first one in the morning is by far the worst. The one before bed is also intense. She used to pant heavily when we got ready for bed. As silly as it sounds, I think she gets really excited for bed at night, so I suspect her long coughing fit before bed is her coughing and panting at the same time, maybe.
In the average day, I would say we help pull her diaper back up into place, and/or replace a clip that has come off perhap 2-3 times.
If we leave her home alone, we block her in the kitchen so that if her diaper comes off and she has an accident, it will be easy to clean on the kitchen floor. We leave her one of our machine-washable dog bed in there so she can be cozy.
She feels a bit more high-maintenance now than she had before, but it’ still rather easy to keep up with. Most importantly, she still seems happy and in good spirits despite her health struggles so we are happy to do a little extra to keep up with her these days.