Zeus is 9 years old!

Zeus is 9 years old!

It’s January 2023, and Zeus is now 9 years old! For a Great Dane of his size this is amazing! The bigger the dog, the shorter the life span. Therefore, we are so grateful to have him at this age! At his prime, he was 200lbs 😳. Now, he is about 185lbs. Which is still big! His chest girth is still large, but his back-end and legs have lost some muscle which happens with age.

Ambulation

When I first started to write this post back in June 2022, I wrote how he had slowed a bit but still had moments of feeling like his 2 year old self with spurts of energy to play/attack with his buddy Thor. But the days of being able to play while standing upright are few now. While he can walk unassisted, he has days where he can loose his balance easily. We use an assistance sling that is positioned under his back hip/leg area to help keep his back legs steady when needed (picture below). The one we use is called a Ginger Lead and has worked great for him. It’s easy to position and provides just enough support for Zeus when he needs it. We actually found this particular sling on Amazon as our local pet stores did not carry a harness large enough for a Great Dane – if interested you can check out the link to it here.

By clicking the link, I may receive compensation. However, the purpose for providing the link is to also show what we are using that has helped our Dane and to share it with others that might be in the same situation and need.

A huge part of Zeus is not only his size, but his personality and his sensitivity. He is extremely loyal (as most dogs) and he loves being with those that he loves at all times, including bedtime. Until this past year, he would make his way upstairs and into our bed, despite our efforts to make him, at least to start the night, on his very luxurious (expensive) oversized bed on the floor with Thor πŸ˜‚. However, in the recent year or so, he has had difficulty getting onto the bed, but could still manage the stairs easily. That changed this past August, where he had trouble maneuvering going down the stairs, but we could manage as long as he was assisted. Then in September, it became impossible for him to get down the stairs, even with the harness assistance. So we made the decision to change our sleeping arrangements to be down on the first floor of the house with him. We knew if we were upstairs sleeping, even if Thor remained downstairs with him, he would be crushed not being with his human family. Since he was born, he has never slept alone at night as we would always ensure someone was at the house with him while we were on vacation! And yes, we have great friends and neighbors who would help make this happen! Despite his enormous size for a dog, he loves to cuddle with his humans!

After we changed our sleeping arrangements, is was not long before he also had times of difficulty with walking and staying upright. He spine had hunched more significantly which we could see was effecting his ambulation. However, with all this, he did not appear to be in any pain which has been key. So after a few vet visits, it was determined that he had arthritis in his spine and hip dysplasia, which was causing inflammation and pinching nerves resulting in his inability to feel and maneuver his back legs. The vet prescribed an anti-inflammatory injection that we gave to him twice weekly for a few weeks and then weekly. The first injection was like a magic potion! He was back to his old self, able to get up and walk without supervision. It was incredible. But after a few days, you could see it start to wear off as he would begin to have difficulty again. The original dosing was twice weekly for 4 weeks, then once weekly, then once per month. However, the vet stated we would probably need to extend or double that timeframe for him due to his size. Which is exactly what needed to happen. We did the injections twice per week for about 8 weeks. This allowed enough time for the medication to build up in his system to last up to a week. We are currently at the once per week injections, which we have been doing for about 1 month and anticipate we will continue this regime for another 4 weeks before we decrease to monthly, or biweekly. We stay in close communication with our veterinarian so that we are making sure he is receiving what he needs. Right now, he is doing very well with this regime, and our goal is to ensure keep he is comfortable both physically and emotionally.

This post is specifically to share updates with our Dane, we are not veterinarians, please seek professional advice from your own veterinarian if needed.

The Couch – his favorite spot!

As I share on Instagram, Zeus loves his couch area! He spends most of his day there. While some might feel he is spoiled, being positioned on the couch actually helps him be independent with getting himself up. If he were on the floor he would need help getting up every time as his back legs are not strong enough to push his body upright to a standing position. And at 185lbs, that’s a lot to lift several times a day! He does still love his walks. We make sure he gets a short walk twice a day to keep his muscles engaged, somedays it will include a walk at lunch also. We are fortunate enough to live next to a beautiful trail system, which is where he loves to go.

His bigger than life personality is also still strong! No one can enter our house without going over and saying Hello and giving a few pats/hugs to Zeus. He won’t allow it! He will whine, shriek, bark until you go over to him. If by chance someone has the audacity does not go over to him, he will begrudgingly make his way up and ensure that individual gives his some attention. πŸ˜‚

We are so grateful to have this big guy in our lives! ❀️

Update on Thor coming soon!

Make sure to check my Instagram page for more photos and updates of our two larger than life Danes!

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