Top tips for senior dog exercising
August 24, 2017
As dogs age, they can eventually become much more sedentary and won’t show the same high energy levels as they once did. Even though you may think your dog is happy relaxing all day, it’s important to not skip regular exercise, as it is one of the best things you can do for your older dog’s health. Lack of exercise can make an older dog much more prone to weight gain and obesity, which can lead to an increased risk of other health issues, such as diabetes.
Check in with your vet
It’s important that you take your dog in for a checkup with their vet if you are considering a change to your dog’s exercise regime. This is especially the case if you are noticing your dog has put on some extra weight or if you see your dog struggling to get up because of sore joints.
Take it slow
An older dog won’t have the same energetic streak as they once did, so whether you are introducing regular exercise into their routine or readjusting their activity needs, you should take it slow. Take your dog for short, gentle walks at a pace that’s comfortable for them. It is important to be careful and keep an eye out for signs of fatigue and breathing, as you don’t want to overexert your dog.
How much exercise is too much?
The level of exercise your older dog requires depends on several factors, such as whether they are used to exercising, weight gain and certain health issues. Most of the time you will be able to tell when your dog has reached their limit and needs to take a break. Excessive panting or drooling can mean your dog is under a lot of stress and is heavily dehydrated. This can happen when the weather is hot, so don’t take your dog out to exercise in the heat. Limping or favouring one leg can be a sign to stop as it may mean they are experiencing inflammation or joint pain. Coughing can be a sign of heart or airway issues that are often common in senior dogs. Repeated coughing can be distressing for your pet, so if this keeps happening it’s a good idea to check in with your vet.
Keep it interesting
To keep your dog interested in exercise, mixing up their usual regime can help. Besides walking, if your older dog can handle a short jog this can help give their joints a solid workout and help maintain their muscle tone. Swimming is also great for older dogs as it is a low impact workout that puts less pressure on their joints, which is especially good for dogs suffering arthritis.
Exercising your dog is important at any age. As your dog gets older, you should keep adjusting their exercise routine to suit their changing needs. This could mean exercising more or going for gentle walks around the block every second day. It’s important for owners of older dogs to know just how much exercise their pet needs.