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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I have a 15 year old Maltese lady that has lived with me since she was 4 months old. For the past 15 years I have always done all her grooming including nail trims by myself, and she has always been fantastic and unproblematic. In the past 2 years I have noticed that she is not as patient during grooming as she used to be, and I started to break up the grooming into shorter sessions. Sometimes I would clip her coat one day, do the nails the following day, and then clean her ears and bathe her the next day, which worked until about a year ago. Then she started to get really irritated during nail trims, and again I broke it up into doing one paw at a time over a few days.

This past weekend I had to groom her, and it turned into a disaster. She was panting, snapping at me, and acting completely out of character. I finally managed to clip her coat on Saturday and bathe her on Sunday, but she wouldn't let me get anywhere near her nails. My guess is that she's getting older and probably experiencing some senior anxiety, but I am at my wits end. I never had this issue, I never cut into her quick or nicked her skin during grooming in all these years (which is why I have always done it myself). Nothing bad happened during any of our grooming sessions, and she used to love bathing. My old girl is fine otherwise, always the first at the food bowl, still runs around like a puppy, loves to snuggle, being handled and massaged, and is generally really sweet.

Has anyone else dealt with behavior changes in older dogs and does anyone have any advice on what I can do? She was seen by the vet 6 months ago and checked out fine. There is nothing visibly wrong with her and she lets me touch her without any problems.

Sorry for my rambling, especially since this is my first post, but I really don't know what to do at this point and any input is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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I don't think it is that uncommon for older dogs to become cranky. My guess would be she has some aches and pains and is having grooming issues. Is there someone who she trusts that can gently hold her while you groom? Others here have more experience with senior maltese.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have tried to have people help me, but she's even worse when someone else is present. I guess, she's just not used to having anyone with us during grooming and her anxiety skyrockets. I haven't noticed any discomfort otherwise that would point to pain. She's still playful, runs around, goes up and down the stairs without any problems, and jumps on and off the furniture. This behavior really only occurs during grooming.
 
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