The deeply-loved dog of Mr. Machine's childhood is very, very, very old. I believe he is somewhere along the lines of at least being 13 years old at this point, and he lives with Mr. Machine's father about an hour and a half away. They spend all day together and are absolute best friends. We spend what time we can, but it isn't a lot.
On Metafilter's recommendation, we bought some salmon oil
for his creaky joints/lack of desire to eat his food, and it worked for a while, but doesn't work consistently. When it does, and he enjoys his food, it brings a lot of joy to us and to Mr. Machine's father.
What other comforts/treats can we get now that a sedate one hour walk exhausts him for the rest of the day? Cost isn't a big factor, but the following are:
- He isn't very food oriented (and has never been). See above on the salmon oil, and even when younger, he turned his nose up at a lot of dog treats.
- On the other hand, getting to lick the plates after Thanksgiving dinner is still one of the things he loves with ALL HIS DOGGY HEART, so he looks forward to them and still gets them.
- According to his vet, he is technically still overweight, as he carries a lot of fat in his belly.
- Tennis balls are no longer interesting for him.
- He does not like hanging out with other dogs and gets very anxious around them.
- He has arthritis and is having real trouble getting up and down stairs/up and down out of the back of the car that Mr. Machine's dad drives. Mr. Machine's dad has fixed a harness to help him lift the dog over stairs/the back gate of his hybrid car, but it's rough on a man of about 70, too.