If you have an older or senior dog and you are looking for ways to keep him fit and active, then this article is for you. From low impact exercises to the importance of daily physical activity, here is what you need to know when it comes to exercising a senior dog.
visit your vet prior to changing exercise routine
It is highly recommended to see your doctor first before starting a new routine. A veterinarian will be able to assess your aging dog’s condition and he can help you come up with a routine that is good and well-suited for your dog.
routine daily walks
Just because they are old, doesn’t mean they can’t go on a daily walk routine. It is recommended that all dogs should have a daily walk routine. They might not be able to walk for longer periods of time but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a nice stroll around the neighborhood.
Stay on flat surfaces if your dog is out of shape or has mobility issues.
Be patient when starting a new routine
Take it slow when starting a new physical activity with a senior dog. Overexertion can be harmful and may prevent future exercises with your dog. Gradually increase the activity over time to avoid injuries.
Before starting any activity, it is recommended that you do warm-ups with your dog. You can do some laps in your yard or walk for about 2-3 minutes. This is just to help them get moving.
Choose low impact exercises
Dogs can have arthritis too and studies suggest that about 80% of dogs can have canine arthritis by the time they are 8 years of age. So it’s important that you know how to manage the condition.
If your dog happens to have mobility issues, stick to low impact exercises such as swimming, walking or indoor games coupled with gentle play indoors.
Mental exercises are also necessary
Aside from physical activities, you can also incorporate mental exercises to your dog. This is to supplement their exercise routine and increase their mental stimulation. Nose work games as well as giving them a puzzle toy can help them stimulate their brain.
Observed your dog for pain
Be on the lookout for any signs of pain or discomfort in dogs. This is especially true if you are starting out on a new routine. Common signs of discomfort are limping or wanting to slow down or stop altogether. If you notice this on your dog, give him enough time to rest and possibly adjust your routine as necessary.
When it comes to daily activity, be consistent. Dogs that do not exercise regularly are more prone to accidents and injuries compare to those dogs that have short but consistent physical activity on a daily basis.
It is very helpful for your dog if you can help him soothe his muscles by giving him a 5-10 minute dog massage. It will not only do the latter but will also decrease muscle pain and stiffness, lowers blood pressure and improves circulation.
Find the right routine
Exercising with your senior dog can be a fun activity as long as you can find the right balance. You can add an extra 5 minutes activity to the 20-minute walking routine your dog is used to or add a play session in the evenings. But it is important to watch out for any signs of pain or discomfort in your older dogs.