As dogs age it becomes difficult for them to do some of the activities you both may have enjoyed when your dog was younger. For example, running alongside you while you’re riding your bike or jumping up into the back of your pickup truck. However, just because your pooch is experiencing their golden years doesn’t mean they have to be left out of your life. A proper diet and age-appropriate exercises will help keep your four-legged companion happy and healthy.
Here are five fun activities for you and your senior dog. These activities will keep both, you and your elderly pooch entertained while helping to improve your dog’s physical fitness, combat arthritis and stimulate your dog’s mind.
Sit up and Beg
Sitting up strengthens a dog’s hindquarter, back and stomach muscles. Senior dogs hindquarter muscles tend to atrophy from lack of use. This exercise will help keep those back-end muscles strong, which will aid your dog in getting up and down on their own.
This is a good strengthening exercise. Dogs love to play tug-o-war with their owners and other dogs. Tugging works the back-end and neck muscles while simultaneously strengthening teeth and gums. Be wary if your dog has weak gums or decayed teeth, you may want to avoid initiating any vigorous tug-o-war play until you can implement a dental care plan.
Swimming is a low-impact exercise that strengthens the whole body. Senior dogs need to keep moving in order to retain muscle tone and sensory awareness. Don’t push your dog, let him determine his own pace. Swimming is excellent for the cardiovascular system. Never leave a dog unattended while swimming. Keep in mind older dogs tend to get cold more easily than when they were younger.
Walking is a great way to exercise a senior dog, and it’s good for the owner too. Walking will strengthen leg muscles and provide a good endurance workout. Walk at a pace that is comfortable for your dog. Take breaks as necessary and remember to avoid over doing it. Two or three shorter walks may be better for your dog than one long walk.
Hide and Seek
You can hide your dog’s favorite toy and have them find it. This is a great way to keep your senior dog mentally stimulated as well as physically active. Plus if the weather is too unpleasant for venturing outside this is the perfect indoor game to play.
Remember, if your dog has not been exercising you’ll want to start out slow. Watch for signs your dog may be over exerting itself: lying down or excessive panting may be symptoms. You may also want to have your veterinarian perform a health check-up on your pooch before beginning any new exercise program. These are just a few of many activities you can do with your senior dog. Do you have a senior dog? What do you like to do to keep your elderly pooch fit as a fiddle?