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Exercising Senior Dogs (7 Tips On How To Walk Your Senior Dog)
As our furry companions grow older, their exercise needs change, requiring a thoughtful approach to keep them healthy and content. Let’s explore effective ways to engage in exercising senior dogs, promoting their physical and mental fitness in their golden years.
Seeing your beloved puppy get older and start slowing down can be emotional, especially as their age restricts them from doing the things they once loved most.
We know that when our dogs stopped being able to jump up onto the couch for some cuddles, it certainly made us sad.
“As we dogs get older, we may not be as spry as we once were. That means our daily walks might need to be adjusted to match our new pace. We might not be able to run and play like we used to, but we still love getting outside and sniffing around.
Just be sure to take it easy on us and adjust the distance and speed of our walks to match our energy levels, and you can bet we will still wag our tails with joy just to spend time with you!”
In this article, we’re covering some tips for exercising senior dogs, while keeping their long-term health and wellbeing in mind.
Exercising senior dogs is a key aspect of ensuring their well-being and happiness as they age.
We know that seeing your dog age is as emotionally tough on you as it is physically for them, but with the following tips and tricks, you can enjoy plenty of walks with your old friend for years to come.
The key to helping your senior dog continue to enjoy their daily walk is consistency and patience. You might need to adjust their routine or slow down slightly, but they’ll still love being out and about by your side!
You can also start adding new exercises into their routine. Swimming is sometimes even better for senior dogs than walking, as it stretches their muscles without putting too much pressure on their joints.
Tips On Exercising Senior Dogs
From the importance of a daily walking routine to using low impact exercises, here are 7 tips for exercising senior dogs.
1. Check In With Your Vet First
It can be tempting to try and ignore the signs of your dog ageing and to try and keep that same level of youthfulness they had as a puppy; however, as they get older and become a senior dog, there are several things you need to be aware of that can have an effect on their ability to walk.
Depending on your dog’s breed, you’ll need to be aware of some health conditions as they age, including mobility issues.
Your vet can test your dog’s range of movement and mobility challenges and you can use this information to create an exercise regime for your dog to work towards as they age and lose muscle mass.
Walking is still an important part of any dog’s routine, so it’s beneficial to work with a professional to maximise your dog’s energy levels.
“Hey, we dogs can’t always tell you when we’re not feeling our best, so it’s a good idea to take us to the vet every now and then, especially as we get older. Before you take us on any walks, it’s important to make sure we’re healthy enough to do so.
Your vet can help explain any changes we might be going through and give you tips on how to make adjustments. After all, we just want to feel good so we can keep spending quality time with you!”
2. Walk Daily
Should you walk senior dogs? Of course!
“Hey, we dogs might not be able to go on those long hikes like we used to, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still love getting out for a daily walk with you.
We might need to take it a bit slower and stick to shorter routes, but that just means we get to enjoy more time with you and take in all the scents and sights around us.
And let’s be honest, you might be secretly grateful you don’t have to carry us back to the car anymore! So let’s lace up those laces and go for a stroll together.”
If you notice that your dog is struggling with more challenging surfaces or inclines, try to stick to gentle walks around your local neighborhood at a slower pace too.
This will ensure that your dog (and you) manage to get your daily exercise done without exacerbating any of their issues.
Older dogs tend to want to sniff more as they walk, particularly if they’re losing their other senses.
This might make walks take longer and be shorter in distance but do allow your dog the time to explore their surroundings. They’ll enjoy the mental stimulation and sensory benefits.
“It’s all about quality over quantity with us old dogs!”
3. Keep Your Routine Consistent
One of the most important aspects of walking a senior dog we’ve found is consistency.
The trick to exercising senior dogs is to avoid falling out of an exercise routine that can cause your pet to stiffen up and gain weight.
You might be concerned about the prospect of walking your old man or girl so often, but the reality is that a dog that walks for 30 minutes daily is much less likely to incur injuries than a dog that walks for 2 hours once a week.
“We dogs love to explore and sniff out new places, so feel free to mix it up and take us on new adventures. Maybe we can visit a different park or walk around a new neighbourhood. As long as we’re spending quality time with you, we’re happy pups!
But remember, daily walks are important for our health and happiness, so even if we stick to the same route, we’re always grateful to be out and about with you. Let’s keep those tails wagging and hit the pavement!”
4. Start New Exercise Routines Slowly
If you’re starting a new exercise routine with your senior dog, you’ll want to make sure that you start it off slowly; otherwise, you might end up causing an injury. It’s more difficult for dogs to recover from injuries as they age.
Even ‘easy’ exercise routines can be strenuous for older dogs. For example, hydrotherapy or swimming is an excellent exercise for senior dogs as it’s a gentle method of moving their muscles.
However, starting them off with too much time in the water can actually do more harm than good.
Limit their first session to 10 minutes or when you can see them getting out of breath and tired. You can slowly increase their time in the water as their muscles adjust to the movement.
“Sometimes us dogs need a little time to adjust to new routines, just like you humans do. So, it’s important to start off our walks slowly, especially if we’re getting up there in years.
We might need to take it easy at first, but don’t worry, we love spending time with you, so we’ll be happy no matter the pace. Let’s take it one paw at a time!”
5. Incorporate Low-Impact Exercises
Exercising senior dogs is essential to keep them physically active and help with common health problems in old dogs. However, their ability to perform intense or high-impact activities may decline with age. Therefore, it is important to prioritize low-impact exercises that are easier on their joints and muscles while staying physically active.
“Us dogs might not be as bouncy as we used to be, but that’s okay! As we get older, we might develop arthritis, making it tough to keep up with our old exercise routines.
So, we might not be able to go on those intense jogs or play those rousing games of fetch anymore. But don’t worry, there are plenty of other ways we can get some exercise during our daily walks!”
Walking is always a good start, but if you live close to a beach or lake, then swimming is another low-impact exercise that is both fun and safe for your senior dog.
It’s always a good idea to supplement your walks with indoor games, and gentle play sessions are other exercises we’d recommend for you and your old dog. They’ll help to keep the strength in their muscles up without being too intensive or detrimental to your dog’s health.
6. Check For Discomfort
One of the things we stress the most about anyone who walks their senior dog regularly is to check for signs of discomfort.
If your dog is beginning to limp due to your walks or is constantly trying to slow the pace down, then you’ll need to consider this and adjust your routine accordingly.
“Us dogs might not be able to tell you when we’re feeling pain, so it’s important for you to keep an eye on our body language during our walks.
If you notice any signs of discomfort, like us limping or lagging behind, it might be a sign that something’s not quite right. Don’t worry though, we know you’ll take good care of us! If you do notice anything amiss, it’s always best to take us to the vet.”
7. Post-Walk Massages
“After a good walk, us senior dogs might need a little extra TLC to keep us feeling limber and pain-free. That’s why we love it when you give us a nice massage after our walk! It only takes about 10 minutes but can work wonders for our stiff joints and muscles.
So go ahead and give us some gentle pets. We love feeling pampered and relaxed, and we’ll be sure to give you some extra tail wags to show our appreciation. Let’s end our walks on a happy note!”
If you need some advice for different techniques to try, you can ask your vet, who should be able to advise you on which ones to use based on what will be best for your dog!
Alternatively, there are plenty of free resources online that can help you with post-walk massages. Here is a great informational video on three ways you can massage your senior dog. It’s vital you massage your dog safely, so following a professional video is an excellent idea.
How To Walk Your Senior Dog
While he might be moving more slowly, your senior dog still needs his daily walk. Here are some tips on how to walk your senior dog safely:
- Start slowly to avoid strain on aging muscles and joints.
- Check weather conditions, as older dogs may be sensitive to heat or cold.
- Protect their feet with booties on hot asphalt or rough terrain.
- Take breaks and watch for signs of discomfort during walks.
- Monitor changes in behavior and mobility, reporting any concerns to your vet.
In conclusion, learning how to walk your senior dog is an essential skill for responsible pet owners.
Exercising senior dogs not only support their physical well-being but can also keep them mentally sharp while they age gracefully.
Evie Randall is a talented writer at KnowMyDog.com who specializes in creating content that provides senior dog owners with the knowledge they need to take care of their furry friends. Her passion for dogs and her exceptional writing skills have enabled her to create engaging and informative articles that cover a wide range of topics related to senior dog care, from the importance of regular veterinary checkups to tips on managing age-related health issues.
Through her writing, Evie has helped to build a community of dog owners who rely on KnowMyDog.com for guidance and support in caring for their aging pets. Her dedication to providing high-quality content that is both informative and easy to understand has earned her a loyal following among dog owners, who appreciate her expertise and her ability to make complex topics accessible. Overall, Evie’s work at KnowMyDog.com has made a significant impact in the pet industry, and her commitment to helping senior dogs and their owners is sure to continue benefiting countless pets and their human companions for years to come.