When your little cute puppy gets older or if you decide to adopt a senior dog, there are a few things you should know. Firstly, a senior dog is not a puppy: they need different types of activities to keep them healthy. Secondly, they won’t be as energetic as they once were.
Although you might be observing that your kiddo is not as energetic or playful as they used to be, you can still find ways to engage them with games, exercises, and physical activities. Let’s look at some exercise tips for senior dogs to make them maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy life.
Here are some of our favorite exercise tips to help your senior dog stay healthy and happy.
Tip 1: Regular Daily Walks
It is hard to imagine a dog that does not like taking a walk! Their love for the outside usually stays the same no matter what their age is. Taking walks is a great opportunity to do a low-impact exercise that allows your senior dog to stretch their legs and get some fresh air.
You will need to be careful about your pace and the weather, though. Too cold or too hot weather may be hard to cope with for senior dogs — cold means they’ll be stiff and too hot means they’ll overheat easier.
They’ll be slower too. While puppies may zoom from side to side and stop to smell every new blade of grass, senior dogs may just take their time. That’s why it’s important to take regular breaks and go at their pace.
If you can, avoid concrete as much as possible. Sand, grass, or dirt provides a softer surface that is easier on their limbs.
Tip 2: Respect Their Endurance and Stamina
It is important to take it slow. They’re not as young as they once were, so it’s time to respect your elders and move at their pace.
It may be likely that our furry friends exhaust themselves during walks or other exercises. If they have not got used to the new routine, they may find it difficult to determine the right pace. Therefore, you need to guide them to take it slow and increase the pace gradually according to their performance. You should observe your buddy after a new set of exercise to see if they show any signs for discomfort or pain caused by an injury. If you’re not sure what their limits are, then start with shorter walks and play times.
Bonus tip: bring plenty of water and treats to keep them motivated.
Don’t Forget To Add A Little Extra Support
Senior dogs are a little more brittle than they used to be. They can’t bounce back like puppies, and they’re not as steady when they jump and land. Adding a little extra leg support can go a long way to help relieve their discomfort or prevent leg injuries.
A dog ACL brace is perfect for their hind legs. It provides just enough support and restraint to disallow potentially harmful movements. A brace can also provide the support your pup needs to take that extra step or relieve stiffness in the morning.
Tip 3: Make Sure They’re Warmed Up
Did you know that 80% of senior dogs have arthritis around the age of eight? It causes uncomfortable pain and stiffness, which can really impact their quality of life. That’s why it’s so important to be patient and go at their speed. It can take them a couple of laps around the living room or yard before they’re ready to really get going.
Make sure they’re warmed up and stretched out before you ask them to do anything too strenuous. If your pup simply isn’t feeling it that day, let them relax and enjoy the sun. All forms of warming up is important at their age, after all.
Tip 4: Make Time for Mental Exercises
Our furry companions’ mental health is just as important as their physical wellbeing. Keeping their minds active and healthy is essential when they are older. You can add a set of mental exercises to daily physical activities or you can make additional time for mental exercises.
Scent games are ideal for dogs of every age as they have a good sense of smell most of the time. You can make them find the treats or you can play hide and seek to keep your buddy’s brain engaged. You can also run through some commands with them or teach them a new one. Show the world that old dogs can learn new tricks!
Tip 5: A Massage May Be the Answer
After a nice warm up and some fun exercises, a relaxing massage can help your senior dog feel better if they suffer from stiffness or some discomfort. It not only helps improve their circulation, but it strengthens the bond between you both. Gently rub out their soreness and listen to their body language. They may melt under your touch or move away if they don’t like it.
It is good to focus on weak areas that your buddy has while exercising by aiming to strengthen those muscles. When you and your furry companion do those types of exercises, dog massage should not be neglected.
And that’s it! Those are our five tips for helping your senior dog stay healthy. We hope they helped you both!
About the Author:
Casey Watts is a former journalist and current content writer for Urban Design Associates, and Doggy Brace. She aspires to one day be a published author. She enjoys spending time hiking, reading, and hanging out with her dog, Peter, and her cat, Olive.