Even Senior Dogs Need to Stay Active
All dogs need exercise. Whether they are still puppies or already at the prime of their lives, dogs need to stay active in order to maintain their health and keep them physically fit. This is especially true among senior dogs that may already be suffering from a host of ailments because of the many effects of aging.
Many consider the slowed responses and low energy levels of senior dogs to be a sign of old age and that they need to conserve their strength for more productive uses. While it is true that aging dogs will require plenty of rest, it does not follow that they don’t need to exercise anymore.
However, owing to the many changes associated with his aging, you may need to make a few changes in your expectations. You will also have to help your dog in his physical activities. He definitely earned to have his own ‘room service’ after serving you and your family for a good portion of his life.
While you may not expect your senior dog to enjoy walking five miles the way you used to when he was still younger, you can still take him for a walk. However, this time, you will need to follow his wish to rest every so often because he simply cannot keep up with the pace anymore. You can also walk at a much slower pace and provide him with plenty of water and doggie treats during your walks.
You don’t need to go to the park to walk. A few rounds in your backyard should help keep the muscle tone in his body. Just remember though that if your senior dog has arthritis or other skeletal problems, you may need to forego with the walking.
Time for a Swim
If your senior dog happens to be suffering from joint problems, you can bring him to your backyard swimming pool. The buoyant force of the water will not create undue stress to his joints. However, he will still be needed to paddle along which should address his needs for physical activity.
New Toys, New Tricks
Help stimulate your senior dog’s mental health by introducing a new toy or even a new activity. Encourage him to actively interact. Just choose a toy that is appropriate for his energy level, complex enough to create a challenge and simple enough to allow for optimal body movements. You can even introduce a new command. You do have to be more patient and consistent this time around.
Shower with Attention
Your senior dog deserves your full attention. This is the time when he is at his most vulnerable state for depression. The last thing your dog needs is neglect from the very same family he has protected and cared for the rest of his life.
Give Physical Comfort
More frequent visits to the veterinary clinic should help you monitor his health status. You can consider chiropractic manipulation, stretching, acupuncture, and water exercises to keep him mobile for the remainder of his life. Talk to your veterinarian about supplements you can provide to help with your dog’s physical problems. Consider massage to improve circulation and promote lymphatic drainage.
Giving tender loving care to your senior dog is one way of repaying his undivided loyalty to you. By keeping him active you can still enjoy each other’s company until the time he finally says goodbye.