You might be looking at your senior dog lying on the floor at your feet, your beloved friend. In his puppy days, he used to jump up onto the couch with you, and tug at his leash when you took him on walks - sometimes he was so energetic, he kind of took you on a walk! But now as you look at him lying there; he has not had much exercise lately. You love him and want him to spend his golden years still with you – but you might have been wondering how much exercise an old dog like him should get. You might already be aware that he no longer runs or jumps as high anymore. This is when it is important for owners of senior dogs to understand a dog’s senior years and their limits – it is an ideal time to create an exercise routine that he will love and not leave him exhausted and injured as a result of his efforts.
You need a vet’s opinion when your dog’s age, his exercise requirements, and tolerances change. If you adopt an old pet, you might not even know his complete health history and what type of exercise history he had. You need to always consult your vet and get his approval before changing any existing program or start a new one for your senior dog. Your vet will need to do a complete physical examination of your pet and discuss appropriate exercises. Some type of exercises won’t be suitable for a senior dog, especially if physical limitations are present.
That means not letting your senior pet exercise for long periods of time outside in hot or humid weather or climates. Don’t force him if he seems reluctant or tired. Go slow, because a lot of elderly dogs try to keep up with their owners when they are out running or walking. They don’t know they need to rest when they’ve reached their limit.
Provide an environment for your dog to get mental and physical stimulation. One vet recommends that your dog moving around the home, helping him to go up and down a few stairs to keep his muscles and joints loose. If climbing stairs it out the question, you could invest in some ramps to help him as he moves around the home.
A senior dog should get regular walks throughout the week. You need to keep them short though. It is recommended you talk to your vet to see what a comfortable distance is for him to walk each day.Swimming is also good because it won’t hurt his joints. For any dogs with injuries, swimming is an excellent therapy. Dogs that have physical limitations might still want to run and jump up at Frisbees for instance, like they used to, but they are not likely to have the stamina. Limit the non-stop games, whatever they are, because they can be very fatiguing after extended periods of time. Remember to be sensitive to the temperatures of hot and cold too, keeping your dog hydrated and in the shade on hot days, particularly if he is overweight.
Some people like the idea of doing Pilates or DOGA with their senior pet, but you need to check this with your vet! A vet will advise whether these exercises can improve your pet’s health, contributing to longevity and increasing immunity against infectious diseases as some people believe – some say it helps to improve the bond between dog and owner.
Dogs certainly love to stretch – it’s a great tool to help maintain mobility for your dog as he ages. These motion exercises like stretching can help your senior dog to preserve function and also decrease pain. Here are5 types of stretches you can work with your dog to do.
Daily exercise is vital for dogs, particularly those with arthritis because it keeps their joints moving. A casual 30-minute walk might be too painful for a senior dog that is why it is important to talk to your vet. Even dogs that use specially equipped carts or wheelchairs can still enjoy a walk through the neighborhood and continues to take part in water activities.
Make accommodations for an older dog with special things he might benefit from in his older years if he has not already got these:
Your dog might be grey in hair, but remember to look after his golden heart through his golden years – A high five to that!