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What Is The Best Exercise For Your Senior Dog? (Keeping Your Pooch Fit + Healthy)

As your dog reaches their golden years, you might have noticed that they’ve begun to slow down slightly.

Gone are the days of puppyhood when they would chase you around the garden and jump over gates to get into fields. It’s now all about relaxation. 

What Is The Best Exercise For Your Senior Dog? (Keeping Your Pooch Fit + Healthy)

You still need to exercise your senior dog well, as it’s crucial for their health. You’ll need to consider their health and some other factors to ensure that your dog is getting the exercise they need without causing injury. 

“In this guide, your human will get everything they need to know about exercising you in your golden years, so you can stay fit and healthy! Woof!”

Key Takeaways

  • Despite their age, there are plenty of great exercises your senior dog will be able to enjoy 
  • You’ll need to consider their mobility, strength, and medical issues, as well as the exercise environment to ensure that your dog is safe
  • Things such as swimming, low-impact cardio, and mental stimulation will all help your senior dog 
  • Your veterinarian will be able to help you to create an exercise program that suits your dog

Importance Of Exercise For Senior Dogs

If it’s your first time owning a senior pooch, then you might not realize just how important it is to ensure your beloved canine companion gets the exercise they need! 

Benefits Of Regular Exercise

Regularly exercising your dog keeps them fit, healthy, and happy. 

“Not only does regular exercise make me feel good, but it also keeps my heart healthy, helps me move better, makes my muscles stronger, and boosts my mood! Plus, it helps me stay healthy, so I don’t get overweight and sick like some of my doggy friends.”

Common Health Issues In Senior Dogs

“As us pooches get on, we can begin to develop some health issues, some of which can cut our time with our favorite humans short, so our human friends must be aware of what can cause us problems.”

Some issues that dogs can develop as they become senior dogs include arthritis, obesity, and cognitive dysfunction. All of these can be aided in some way by ensuring that your pooch is regularly exercised in the right ways. 

Factors To Consider Before Exercising Your Senior Dog

Factors To Consider Before Exercising Your Senior Dog

It’s important to remember that before you exercise your senior dog the same way you would when they were a puppy, some factors can affect their ability to exercise. 

“I wish I could exercise like I did when I was a puppy, but there are some things that my human friend needs to consider before we go on any adventures!” 

Health And Medical Conditions

Before you go exercising your pooch, you’ll need to consider their health and any pre-existing medical conditions first. 

“Us senior dogs can suffer from some different issues, such as heart and respiratory issues, as well as cognitive dysfunction. All of which can prevent us from exercising as much or for as long as we used to”

Mobility And Strength

The mobility and strength of your dog are also important when it comes to exercising your beloved pooch. 

“Being old means I might not be as spry as I used to be, so keep this in mind before we go on any long hikes or difficult terrain. Woof!” 

Senior dogs can suffer from joint problems such as arthritis, which makes moving around more difficult than it used to be.

In addition to this, lack of exercise also means that their muscles will get weaker too, so they might not be strong enough to cope with the amount of walking they once were. 

Environment And Weather

Finally, the weather and environment can have a massive effect on your dog’s ability to exercise. 

“If it’s hot outside, too much exercise can lead to heatstroke, but if it’s cold outside, then I might get hypothermia!”

In addition to this, uneven surfaces should be avoided too, as your dog might not have the strength and intelligence to navigate them anymore.

Nowadays, Honey is not so keen on pebble beaches as she’s not so confident about anything that isn’t firm underfoot anymore. 

While loud, crowded areas can also be particularly overwhelming for them too. 

Types Of Exercise For Senior Dogs

It can be difficult to know exactly what type of exercise will be right for your senior dog. But with these helpful sections, you should be able to find some that are right for you and your pooch! 

Low-Impact Cardiovascular Exercise

Low-Impact Cardiovascular Exercise_

There are some great low-impact cardio exercises for you and your senior pooch to enjoy! Why not try shorter walks, indoor fetch games, or a slow and gentle jog?

“Woof! I love indoor fetch, it gets me active, and I don’t even need to leave the house!”

Strength-Training And Balance Exercises

Looking to help your pooch out with some strength and balance exercises? Considering trying resistance training with elastic bands, or some slow and controlled sit-and-stand exercises

“Woof Woof! I love the sound of some resistance training, I might just run away with the elastic bands though!” 

Mental Stimulation And Enrichment Activities

Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is just as important as physical exercise, so be sure to give them plenty of food puzzles and scent games to help keep up their cognitive ability. 

“I get to play with a toy AND get a treat for it? Woof woof!”

Water-Based Exercises

Swimming and other water-based activities can be great for exercising senior dogs. It allows them to exercise while taking the pressure off of their joints! 

“I love swimming! My pet parents don’t though, as I usually shake my coat everywhere!”

Creating An Exercise Routine For Your Senior Dog

Keeping your senior dog on a routine is the best way to help them exercise regularly! 

“Creating a routine is hard, but it will help me to exercise frequently, woof woof!” 

Starting Slow And Gradual Progression

The first step to building a routine is to start slowly. You don’t want to tire your senior pooch out, so start slow and gentle before working your way up to where you want to be.

Setting Realistic Goals

“As much as I want to be able to run around chasing my canine friends all day again, my human says I should keep to the realistic goals we set. At least I can still see my friends often!”

Monitoring Your Dog’s Response To Exercise

Within the first few weeks of your dog’s routine, you should closely monitor how they respond to the exercise. If they’re exacerbated after a short walk, you need to lower the pace and shorten the length. 

Shorter walks more often during the day rather than one long walk may be a better way to approach it. Plus don’t be surprised if your dog now prefers to sniff lots of smells rather than chase a ball about.

Tips For Exercising Your Senior Dog Safely

Tips For Exercising Your Senior Dog Safely​

Ensuring your dog is exercising safely is important. Thankfully, these tips will help to make sure that your dog is ready to exercise! 

Pre-Exercise Warm-Up And Cool-Down

Before I start my exercises, my humans like to make me do figure eights and position changes, which help me to limber up ahead of our adventures!”

Avoiding Overexertion And Overheating

You should always be sure that your exercises aren’t overexerting your dog or causing them to overheat, so try to ensure that you bring plenty of water for them to drink and that you don’t do anything too intensive! 

Proper Rest And Recovery Time

“If we’ve been on an adventure and done some fun exercises, I always like to have a day off to relax and recover, I get tired easily!”

Additional Considerations For Exercise And Mobility Issues

There are some other considerations when it comes to exercising your senior pooch, especially if they have a mobility issue. 

Assistive Devices And Mobility Aids

“Some of my pooch friends aren’t quite able to walk anymore, but with things such as a doggy wheelchair, they have just enough assistance to be able to join me for small walks!”

Rehabilitation And Physical Therapy

Suppose your pooch is struggling with regular exercise. In that case, it might be a good idea to contact a certified animal physical therapist, who can provide your pooch with some rehabilitation to help them get moving again! 

Veterinary Care And Regular Checkups

Veterinary Care And Regular Checkups​

I’m not a fan of visiting the vet, but my pet parents say it’s very important woof woof!”

Importance Of Professional Assessment And Advice

Regular checkups are important for your senior dog, as they help the vet to notice any small changes in their physical and mental health, which could be the key to identifying an underlying health issue before it develops into something more serious.

Common Health Issues And Treatment Options

Your vet will be able to provide your senior pooch with treatment options for some of the more common issues they face. 

For things such as arthritis, anti-inflammatory pills are commonly prescribed, and they’ll also work with owners to help build a physical therapy routine to ensure they’re exercising properly. 

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