Your pooch may have wagged those bouncy days of youth goodbye, but that doesn’t mean there’s no spring left in their step. With a healthy diet and regular exercise, senior dogs can stay active well into their twilight years – they might just need to take life a little slower.
Try these gentle exercises to keep your dog in top shape.
Started making a noise when you heave yourself off the sofa? Same here. Aching joints are as big a concern for an elderly pooch as they are for us.
To stop your dog pulling a muscle, get them to limber up before you head outside by laying them on their back and gently stretching out their legs for them. Or you can try getting them to sit, then lie down and crawl towards you using a treat, which will encourage them to stretch out their spine.
If your dog has always loved a game of fetch, chances are getting older won’t change their mind. Keep playing, but bear in mind that your pooch probably won’t know when enough’s enough. Teach them that shorter games are just as fun and limit the amount of time they spend chasing that ball.
No matter what age your pooch gets to, they still need their daily walk. But instead of those long, lengthy walks you used to take them on, try the little and often trick: two or three shorter walks will work just as well as an extended outing. Plus you can always cut back home quickly if your dog starts looking tired.
To keep strength in your dog’s legs, try incorporating some hills into your daily walks. Go slowly up more challenging inclines and take it easy when going down – it’ll help build muscle in your dog’s front legs and keep them steady on their feet for years to come.
The perfect no-impact exercise for elderly or injured pooches. Easy on the joints, total body conditioning and your dog can just hop out of the water when they’re done. Think about investing in a doggie-life jacket as your pet grows older, just in case they don’t realise quite how tired they are.
Wrestling over a rope toy is a great way to get your dog using their whole body, without much impact. Great for ageing joints but be careful on the teeth: there’s no need to play rough. Tugging gently is enough to keep your dog interested without pulling anything out.
Hide and seek
As dogs grow older they become more sensitive to the heat. So if it’s the height of summer and going for a walk is too much effort, try playing hide and seek indoors. Dogs love to sniff out where their beloved owner is hiding – especially if there’s a treat waiting for them when they find you.
A game like this keeps their mind stimulated too – so go on. You’re it!
No matter what the age of your furry friend, keeping them active will add years to their life. Monitor their weight, activity levels and nutrition with PoochPlay tracker and watch them grow older with grace.
Browse our dog activity trackers here.