Pet parents of older dogs know that an important part of maintaining their pet’s health is ensuring that the dog stays active and gets enough exercise. It is important to note however, that older dogs are subject to a host of considerations and precautions that younger pets are not. In addition, if older dogs exercise too much or in the wrong ways, they are at risk for injury and exhaustion.
Fortunately, these five easy tips can help your older dog exercise and stay active while also ensuring that Fido stays safe, comfortable and happy the whole time:
Focus on Quality Rather Than Quantity
Even if you used to take Fido on strenuous hikes and all-day excursions, there is a good chance your dog has slowed down with age. As your canine companion moves towards his twilight years, focus on leisurely and enjoyable activities like evening strolls, trips to swim at the lake or a walk downtown. In addition to fulfilling your dog’s exercise needs, these activities are low-impact enough not to aggravate existing issues like arthritis or stiffness.
Mind the Temperature
Older dogs are not as resilient as younger dogs and can easily become over-heated or too cold. Pay careful attention to the outside temperature before you decide to exercise with your pet. Use our article on heat stroke as a helpful guide. Quite simply if it is hot or cold enough that you would not want to exercise outside, wait until the temperature normalizes in order to ensure your dog’s safety and comfort.
Make Sure the Dog Stays Hydrated
Older dogs can easily become dehydrated, so it is important to ensure that yours has ample water available while exercising. Take frequent breaks during walks or light jogs to ensure the dog has a chance to drink and make sure that the dog’s water bowls at home are always filled with fresh, clean water.
Exercise in Familiar Places
Older dogs often suffer from decreased hearing or eyesight, which can cause them to become anxious in strange situations. In order to ensure your dog feels safe and comfortable, stick to familiar areas for daily exercise such as walks and swims. This will help your dog focus on the task at hand rather than worrying about the surroundings.
Consider Indoor Exercise
While outdoor exercise is wonderful, indoor exercise can be just as beneficial and fulfilling. For days when the weather is poor or a schedule does not allow for a long walk, consider helping your older dog exercise indoors with activities such as walks up and down the stairs or some play with a puzzle toy. These activities serve the important purpose of keeping your dog moving and mentally engaged without requiring a long jaunt outdoors.
When older dogs get ample exercise, it benefits their overall health and mobility. There are plenty of ways to achieve this without compromising safety or comfort. Consider the above tips and tricks to keep your-not-so-spring-chicken able to live a long and happy life.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian