Keeping Your Aging Canine Companion In Shape

Is your dog showing signs of aging? Perhaps you’ve noticed a change in your pet’s enthusiasm for playing or chasing squirrels lately. Or, Fido’s muzzle may have started turning gray. Over time, your furry companion will naturally start to take things at a more relaxed pace. We all slow down as we get older! It’s important to ensure that your furry companion doesn’t become a couch potato, though. This post from a local Easley, SC veterinarian offers helpful tips on maintaining the activity levels of an older dog.

How Can I Motivate My Older Dog To Be More Active?

No matter what age your furry friend is, it is important to make sure he is getting regular exercise. Most dogs enjoy going for walks, which is pretty much the standard for old pooches. Allow Fido to set his own pace and bring him indoors when he begins to look tired.

Feel free to explore different paths and parks with your furry friend. Interacting with other dogs can still be an enjoyable experience for Fido. Make sure to carefully choose your pet’s playmates. Take a minute to look around, and ensure that the dogs currently at the dog park are all friendly and well-mannered.

Playing is also fine. Fido will occasionally feel the urge to embrace his playful side. Go ahead and toss a ball or a toy for him to catch. We would suggest picking toys that are specifically made for older dogs, though. Many of these are quite soft, and are therefore gentle on the mouths of older dogs. Others may have lights or sound effects, making them more noticeable and easier for him to follow.

Additionally, it’s important to choose secure locations. If possible, opt for a site with carpet or soft grass. This will give your pet some traction and also provide a bit of cushioning in case of a trip or fall. Avoid playing with or exercising your dog near potential dangers like pools, stairs, roadways, and fireplaces.

Why Is Exercise Important For Older Dogs?

As Fido gets older, he may lose some of his muscle mass and may gain a bit of weight. Keeping your furry companion active can help reduce or delay the onset of common bone and joint issues, such as arthritis. This can also help keep him from becoming, well, chubby. It’s great for his digestive system, cardiovascular health, and respiratory function, too!

How Do I Keep My Senior Dog Entertained?

Fido won’t have quite as much pep as he once did. This is actually a positive thing, in some ways. Many people enjoy having senior dogs! They are incredibly calm and low-maintenance, not to mention absolutely adorable. 

As your canine pal enters his golden years, you’ll need to prioritize stimulating and enriching his mind rather than focusing solely on burning off excess energy.

Here are some ways to do that:

Paw Buttons: These could easily be considered one of the most groundbreaking pet inventions of recent years. You may be able to teach your furry companion to communicate his needs for a walk, a treat, or some affection. (Results may vary.)

Learn Something New (And Adorable) Whoever claimed that it’s impossible to teach an old dog new tricks might have been approaching it from the wrong angle. Just like humans, our furry friends are constantly expanding their knowledge. Teaching your pet simple tricks is a wonderful way to engage his mind and give him a sense of fulfillment. It’s always heartwarming to see how dogs beam with pride when they conquer something new!

Mental Challenges: Nowadays, there are plenty of fun and interactive dog toys available for your furry friend. For some, Fido will need to solve a “puzzle” in order to receive a treat.

Snuffle mats and scavenger hunts are pawesome ways to engage your furry friend’s sense of smell. Your dog will have a great time sniffing out all the crumbs of kibble you scatter around for him. These activities may not burn many calories, but they are great for Fido’s brain. Think of it as a doggy version of solving a crossword.

TV: Fido can enjoy watching channels specifically designed for his entertainment. This is a fantastic option for when your furry companion needs to stay home alone.

Why Does My Old Dog Seem Restless?

There could be a few different reasons for this. One possibility is simple boredom. However, it’s important to keep in mind that dogs may engage in this behavior if they are experiencing pain or discomfort. If you notice your dog frequently showing signs of restlessness or constantly changing positions, contact your Easley, SC veterinary clinic.

What Kind Of Exercise Is Best For Senior Dogs?

There isn’t a universal solution for this, with the exception of going for walks. All dogs have their own unique needs. You’ll need to consider Fido’s age, size, weight, and overall well-being, as well as what he enjoys. Your Easley, SC veterinarian can provide helpful guidance on what is best for your furry friend.

Nevertheless, there are a couple of general guidelines to keep in mind. It’s generally best to discourage Fido from jumping or standing on his hind legs too often, as it can be tough on his bones and joints.

Also, don’t push your pup too hard. Our furry companions are extremely devoted; they will go above and beyond to earn our approval. Keep a close eye on Fido and watch for any signs of exhaustion, like heavy panting or lagging behind. When your beloved furry companion starts to show signs of fatigue, it’s a good idea to wrap up playtime. Give Fido some water and let him rest. Be sure to offer plenty of affectionate belly rubs during his recovery nap.

Is Swimming Suitable For Older Dogs?

Swimming can be a fantastic low-impact cardio workout. Fido’s bones and joints won’t be strained, as the water will support his weight.

There are, of course, a few limitations. Swimming may not be suitable for every dog. Even the slightest current has the power to sweep away small dogs. Long-backed dogs, such as corgis and dachshunds, don’t do well in the water either. This is also unsafe for brachycephalic breeds, due to their increased susceptibility to respiratory issues. Of course, Fido can still enjoy swimming in a kiddie pool.

That said, water sports can be an excellent choice if Fido has always enjoyed swimming. Just make Fido’s safety your top priority. Only let your pup swim in safe, shallow areas. Avoid areas with large wakes, sudden drop-offs, or powerful currents. Also, keep a close eye on your beloved pet. Always ensure that your dog is never left unattended near water, even for a moment.

In conclusion, it is important to ensure that your furry companion continues to receive the necessary exercise to keep him healthy and fit as he ages. Get your dog involved in some fun activities like swimming and going for leisurely walks. Games, toys, and training are great tools for nurturing their intellectual growth. Just be sure to ask your vet for advice.

Contact Your Local Easley, SC Animal Hospital To Schedule An Appointment

Do you have any questions about the amount or type of exercise your senior dog needs? Please feel free to contact us as soon as possible. As your Easley, SC animal clinic, we are dedicated to providing top-notch treatment and ‘pawesome’ customer service.

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