Just like humans, dogs don’t live forever. As they get old, their mobility is likely going to decline. Again, this is very similar to humans.
Taking care of a senior dog can be a real challenge if you don’t know what the main areas to care about are.
One thing about senior dogs is sure -they still need to exercise.
The truth is that their mobility declines, but it doesn’t mean that they should go a day further without any exercise. After all, exercise will help them live longer.
In fact, keeping senior dogs active can create a real, healthy lifestyle and help with significant health issues.
Older dogs are not prone to chasing the ball as fast as they used to, but they are still willing to chase the ball.
Luckily, there are many ways to engage your aging dog with safe physical activity.
Proper exercise keeps a dog’s mind active, their weight up to normal, and their bodies strong. If you want to keep your senior dog healthy and active, make sure that you create a dog’s activity up to notch.
Go To The Vet
Before you create the ultimate exercise plan for your senior dog, you should talk with your veterinarian. So, take your canine to the veterinarian for a full check-up.
Veterinarian will check dog’s weight, overall health condition, and range of motion. Based on this exam, your veterinarian will recommend a proper exercise plan or therapy.
When you schedule the appointment, let the staff know that you want an in-depth wellness examination. After this examination, you can expect a plan for an effective exercise strategy.
Since every dog is an individual, the therapy for each dog will defer. Still, you can provide a few exercises on a daily level to help your senior dog be more active and healthier. Here is how you can help maintain a dog’s well-being.
Walking a Senior Dog
Dogs love spending time outdoors. If it were up to them, they would only eat, cuddle with their favorite humans, and walk all day.
A long walk is beneficial for both puppies and adult dogs because it promotes a healthy body and mind. Moreover, a long walk with your canine has also beneficial effects on you – on strengthening your body and clearing your mind.
As your dog ages, you’ll want to pay attention to your pace, the weather, and how your dog feels/reacts during and after the exercise.
Little is known, but older dogs are more sensitive to changes in temperature – they don’t do too well in too hot or too cold temperatures. It’s important for senior dogs to make sure that they are comfortable throughout your walk.
Always think about climate and the time of day to prevent overheating from frostbite. Keep in mind that footing will have an effect on your dog’s ability to walk and walk longer.
Sand and grass are highly recommended surfaces, while gravel and asphalt should avoid any cost – especially in warmer temperatures. Hot walking areas can harm a dog’s paw pads.
Have Often Breaks
Young dog scan spends hours outside. In the meantime, they might take only an ultra-short break of a few minutes before they take start another race. However, with senior dogs, things don’t work like that.
Senior dogs would never exercise for 30 minutes or more, and they should never be forced to do so.
Split up your dog’s exercise into smaller chunks, such as two 15-to 20-minute periods of exercise.
Since your dog still needs to exercise, choose a low-impact exercise, because it may work the best for your dog. For example, swimming is a great low-impact exercise for your dog. Make sure that you check with your veterinarian if swimming is an option.
Is it Safe For Senior Dogs to Swim?
If you have one of the dog breeds that are good swimmers and who could spend the entire day swimming, then you know just how much they love water. Some dogs are cray about swimming, while others just like to swim here and there.
Still, swimming is suitable for a dog’s overall health, muscle strength, and beneficial effect it has on the body.
Swimming is effortless on the body, especially the joints, while it’s a total-body workout at the same time.
Swimming is a safe and easy way to keep your dog’s activity level on a healthy balance. Because swimming can be so beneficial on the entire dog’s body, swimming it usually often used as physical therapy for dogs that have undergone major surgery for injuries.
If your dog doesn’t know how to swim, think about finding a good rehabilitation center that offers safe instruction for getting your canine in the water.
Also, putting a life vest on your dog is always a good idea, especially in deep water. This should be an option even if your dog isn’t the most advanced swimmer. Bear in mind that some breeds aren’t encouraged to swim as much as others.
Give Your Dog A Massage
Dogs love cuddles, and they also love having a massage here and there.
You can hire a canine massage therapist or you can learn some basic techniques and use them to improve your dog’s muscle tone, circulation, and flexibility.
Also, massage helps joint discomfort, stiffness, and even speeds recovery from accidents and injuries. As a bonus, massage can boost the connection between you and your pet.
Cross-Training Older Dogs
When it comes to your senior dog health, cross-training is actually mandatory. Cross-training allows specific areas of the body to rest while you work on building strength in others.
There are various kinds of ways to exercise your dog’s body. Think about pilates and yoga for dogs so that you can provide your senior dog both mental and physical benefits to dogs of all ages: research local training centers and online classes near you.
Cross-training is a fun, fresh, and engaging way to provide enough fun for both dogs and people. You might be surprised at how much they love mutual sports activities!
Always Focus on Weak Areas
When you want to help your senior dog, you should always focus on weak areas.
For example, if your dog suffers from an ailment, such as elbow and hip dysplasia, you’ll want to consider a physical activity that may ease the stress of those areas. Moreover, you might want to strengthen those muscles.
While you may do everything right, and have the best plan in the world, unplanned situations can still occur. With that on the mind, you should know what you should avoid, as well.
Here is what you should avoid:
1. Be Careful With Games
Don’t push your dog to do physically demanding games, if you know that it might hurt him. If you know that your dog suffers from joints, don’t force catching games, spinning, running on hard surfaces, or running on the streets.
Don’t expect your senior dog to jump on the seat, on the couch, or up and down the stairs. Adjust games to your dog’s health. Keep movements slow and steady.
2. Be Inconsistent With Your Dog’s Exercise
Consistency is the key when it comes to helping your senior dog. Do small steps every day, but do them every day.
A few minutes of daily or twice-daily exercise will create enormous benefits than unregular and longer sessions once or twice a week.
Let your dog show you what works for him, and when its the time to stop.
3. Exercise Your Dog Without A Warm-Up
Don’t ask your dog immediately to jump high or run summer fast. Start with 10 minutes of slow, gentle movement, such as a slow-paced walk.
Only if your dog is comfortable moving faster increate the pace for another five to ten minutes.
Monitor your dog all the time, and always take the dog’s ability and condition in the count.
Also, don’t let your dog gain weight. Obesity in dogs is an alarming condition, and even more in senior dogs. It’s far easier for a younger dog to lose weight than for a senior. Therefore, know when you should fed your dog and how much.
Reduce food portions if needed, in collaboration with your veterinarian. Avoid high-fat or high-carbohydrate diets in favor of foods with high protein levels, which help maintain lean muscle mass.
The Bottom Line
The most important thing here is not to overdo it. Remember that your senior dog is more sensitive and fragile than when he was a puppy or a young adult.
Always create an exercise plan caring about the dog’s current physical and mental state. If needed, talk with your veterinarian to create enjoyable activities for your dog.
Remember: your dog’s comfort and well-being come first. So, if anything seems too difficult for your dog or painful, don’t do it.