Your dog will slow down in his golden years, and will gradually become more interested in napping and collecting belly rubs than in playing Fetch or chasing the neighbor’s cat. Fido will still need some activity to stay healthy, however. In this article from Armitage Animal Clinic, a Newmarket, ON vet discusses exercising senior dogs.
Walking is probably going to be your pet’s major form of activity as he grows older. Let your canine buddy pick his pace. Enjoy those relaxing walks with your pup!
Fido may not run as far or as fast as he once did, and he may not be able to jump up to catch that Frisbee anymore. Keep a close eye on your pup, and be careful not to overdo it. When he looks like he’s getting tired, take him in.
Older dogs are much more sensitive to temperature extremes than their younger counterparts are. Limit Fido’s outdoor time in bad weather. A doggy sweater may be helpful in winter.
Paw care is very important! Keep Fido’s claws trimmed, and use paw balm or wax to protect his feet.
Fido won’t be as frisky as he once was, but he’ll still have moments of playfulness. Toss a ball or toy for your pup sometimes, and see if he goes for it! This will not only keep your dog active, it will also give him mental stimulation. Toys are also important. Offer your pooch puzzle toys or treat-dispensing ones.
Swimming is a great way for older dogs to get a workout. The water will support Fido’s weight, which is easy on his bones and joints. Of course, this one will depend on the season. When it’s cold out, you’ll need to take your furry friend somewhere that offers indoor warm-water swimming for pets.
Not all activities are right for every pooch. Ask your vet for specific recommendations about the type and amount of activity Fido should have. Also, it’s generally best not to encourage older dogs to jump or stand on their hind legs much, if at all. Many senior dogs develop arthritis and/or hip dysplasia. These painful conditions can both be exacerbated by too much and/or improper activity.
Do you have any questions about caring for senior dogs? Please contact us at Armitage Animal Clinic, your Newmarket, ON vet clinic, anytime.