As dog owners, we all want our beautiful companions to live the longest, healthiest life possible, and adequate exercise is one component to ensuring this happens. Like humans, exercise is a great way for dogs to improve their cardiovascular and muscular functions, as well as improve their overall mood and reduce anxiety. Taking your dog for regular walks or outside to play is also a great way to bond with them. But sadly, unlike humans, dogs age quicker than we do. So as this process occurs, it's important to adjust the level and type of exercise that's appropriate to their age.
The Importance of Exercise For Your Senior Dog
Weight gain and anxiety are common occurrences with older dogs simply because they don't tend to move as much. But even as dogs enter into their golden years and are less motivated to run and jump the way they used to, it’s still important for them to have an appropriate activity level. This allows their bodies to mitigate the risks caused by the extra pounds and higher stress levels and ensures they live the healthiest life possible.
Gentle and consistent daily exercise help stimulate muscle tissue in your senior dog. It also promotes better blood flow and improved mood. Their joints and ligaments can also benefit from mild exercise as the increased blood flow allows for more oxygen to reach these parts of the body.
Different Types of Exercise
Choosing the right type and amount of exercise for your senior dog is of the utmost importance. Clearly, a 5km run is not an option, but there are more mild options that can still get a healthy heart rate going. Here are some great ideas you can try, and remember to take stock of the current overall health and mobility of your dog, to choose the one(s) that are most appropriate.
Walking your furry friend is the most common form of exercise for most dog owners. Not only is it great for a dog’s health, but it also activates their senses and gives them plenty of things to sniff, as well as get to know and see other people and dogs they cross paths with. But as your dog gets up in age, you will need to modify those walks in more ways than one.
Depending on how your dog’s mobility, you may need to shorten the amount of time you take or perhaps divide your regular route into two shorter walks evenly spaced apart. Also, if your dog shows signs of joint pain, you may need to check and make sure your route doesn’t contain any difficult terrain that could cause more stress on your dog’s joints and ligaments. Effective joint supplements like FlexiDOG by Petvitals can also come in handy as they contain ingredients that help reduce inflammation and promote stronger joint tissue and ligaments.
Dogs also become more sensitive to temperature changes as they get older. This means you may want to consider boots and a doggy sweater in the winter to protect their paws and keep them warm. During summer months, avoid peak heat hours to prevent heatstroke and dehydration.
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for an older dog for owners that can incorporate it into their exercise routine. Swimming can help strengthen your dog's cardiovascular system without taxing the joints the way walking or running does. This makes it a great option for pet owners whose dogs show signs of limited mobility due to arthritis and joint pain.
But remember, as much as dogs love a dip in the pool or pond, you’re still dealing with an older pup. Keep swim sessions to a limited time to avoid overexertion and exhaustion. Also, stay close by and even swim with your dog in case it shows signs of tiring and needs help making it to land safely.
Some dogs may be at a point where running, walking, and/or swimming are just too much for their beautiful bodies to handle. But despite this, there are still ways they can work to stimulate muscle tissue and improve their quality of life. Look for reputable dog therapy clinics that specialise in massaging and stretching for older dogs. This can make a huge difference in how your beloved pooch lives out its golden years.
Enjoy Time With Your Healthy and Happy Senior Dog
You’ll notice that your dog will experience a decline in one or more of its senses and bodily functions as it ages, and while it is a heartache to see, it’s just a process that we all have to deal with in the best way possible. Make sure to apply the appropriate and right amount of exercise as it relates to your senior dog's current health, and consider a good joint supplement such as FlexiDOG by Petvitals to ensure they are moving more freely, with less pain and restriction.