Senior dogs still need adequate daily exercise, to keep them healthy and happy. However, an exercise that might suit a young pup, just won’t be appropriate for an older canine.
- The best form of exercise for a senior dog is of course, walking. Your pet might not be able to walk quite as far as previously, but he does need to get outside and keep moving.
- Break up your exercise sessions into smaller periods 15-20 minutes – usually long enough per session
- Low-impact exercise, like swimming, can help with health issues like joint pain or arthritis
Provide daily exercise, but be consistent
When it comes to your dog walks, don’t become a “weekend walker”. It’s important to keep a senior dog active every day, to maintain the dog’s stamina and muscles. Be cautious too with a senior dog, if he’s used to just walking around the block Monday to Friday, he won’t have the energy and vigour to tackle a longer, weekend hike.
Make allowances and adapt your playtimes
A young pup seems to have endless energy when it comes to chasing after balls or tugging at toys. A more senior dog, however, will still enjoy playtimes, but his movements will be slower. It’s time to adapt your play sessions so that your dog still has fun, but be considerate about his energy and reaction times, which may be slower as he ages.
Take plenty of rest breaks
An older dog will attempt to keep up with your walking pace but might begin to lag behind you as he tires. Keep checking your dog’s stamina when out for your daily walks, taking a breather stop and give him a chance to rest if he seems tired.
Swap your routine and exercise at home
When the weather isn’t too good, your senior dog might be more reluctant to go outside. Don’t force him but exercise and play games inside instead. Walking round the house with your dog following you from room to room, up and down the stairs is a great workout. Hide treats in various rooms and let your dog sniff them out. He will forget his aches and pains if there is a snack involved.
Listen to your dog’s needs
As your pet ages, its clear he will become less energetic. He certainly won’t be able to walk such great distances and will easily tire. At this point in his life, its important that you pay attention to your dog’s needs. Its advisable for him to have more frequent medical checks to ensure he is aging without any major issues which will allow the vet to treat any age-related problems at the onset.
When your senior dog is unable to take a daily walk, or perhaps is totally housebound through illness, we can offer a service to visit your home and check on your pet, if you’re not able to be around. We will let your dog into the garden for toilet duties and clean up afterwards. An ageing dog benefits from smaller, more frequent meals, which we can give to him, together with any medication that’s needed. Of course, we will also shower your pooch with love and attention and offer soothing belly rubs, making sure that the dog is settled for another snooze before we leave.
Getting older is a natural part of both human and canine life. Respecting this will still give you both enjoyment as you celebrate your dog’s advancing years.