As dogs age, they may gradually slow down, but that doesn’t mean they must surrender to a sedentary lifestyle! In fact, staying active is beneficial for their physical health and also vital for their emotional well-being. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), providing appropriate exercise is a great way to make your dog happy, and who doesn’t want to see their four-legged companion wag their tails at every life stage?
Whether your senior dog is a seasoned adventurer or a couch potato-at-heart, there’s an activity for every personality and energy level. Exploring different activities with your furry friend is the best way to help them lead an active lifestyle. Consider the following tips to keep your senior dog active and offer them a better life.
Tailor Exercise to their Needs
Senior dogs may not have the same energy levels as once, but regular exercise remains crucial for their physical health. However, adapting their exercise routine to suit their age and potential health issues is essential.
Low-impact activities like short walks, gentle hikes, or swimming are excellent choices. Keep in mind that shorter, more frequent walks are often preferable to prolonged sessions. Pay close attention to your dog’s behavior during exercise, ensuring they aren’t overexerting themselves.
Provide Mental Stimulation
Mental stimulation is as vital for senior dogs as physical exercise. Engaging their minds helps prevent cognitive decline and keeps their brains sharp. You can achieve this through various interactive toys, puzzle games, and training sessions.
Hide treats around the house or use interactive toys that dispense treats when solved. These activities tap into their problem-solving instincts and provide hours of entertainment. Moreover, continued training reinforces good behaviour and keeps their cognitive skills in top shape.
Adjust their Diet
Proper nutrition is essential for keeping your senior dog active. Their dietary needs may change as they age, and it’s crucial to provide them with a balanced diet that meets their specific requirements. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best diet plan for your furry friend, ensuring it supports their energy levels and overall health.
If you’re not feeding your dog a raw diet, you may want to consider switching to a raw dog food diet to explore its unique benefits. Raw food diets from reputable brands typically include bones, organs, and veggies, and are made without added processes. These natural ingredients are packed with nutrients, enzymes, and amino acids that support their overall health and vitality. By nourishing them with the right stuff, their digestion tends to improve, which means more energy for playtime and adventures. But before you make any changes to your pet’s diet, make sure to speak to your vet.
Consider Senior Dog-Specific Activities
Many communities now offer senior-specific dog activities. These can be in the form of social gatherings or structured classes designed to suit older dogs. These activities can be beneficial as they cater to your senior dog’s needs, ensuring they engage in age-appropriate exercises with peers. Additionally, such gatherings allow your senior dog to interact with other dogs, promoting socialization and overall well-being.
Prioritize Regular Veterinary Check-Ups
Before embarking on any new exercise routine, visiting your veterinarian for a comprehensive check-up is crucial. Regular check-ups become even more important in your dog’s senior years. Your vet can assess your dog’s physical condition, rule out any underlying health issues, and offer advice on the best ways to keep them active without causing harm.