Exercise in senior dogs keeps and enhances muscle tone and also burning calories to keep excess weight off. These two aid in increasing your senior dog’s quality of life. Just because your pet is a little older, does not mean you should stop exercising.
Though, this is a rigorous exercise. But don’t ignore it without a good reason. Dogs like to run and it gives awesome cardiovascular and calorie burning advantages which can actually keep your dog feeling young. Ask your veterinarian whether it is cool to jog or run with your old pet. Supposing you have approval, be extra conscious of your dog’s signals and watch out for signs of tiredness (e.g. intense panting or significantly slowing pace) or disinterest (e.g. repeated stopping, looking back in the path that you came from) that can show that they are exhausted or not comfortable. Use loop paths – routes that circle around close to your home in smaller loops so as to remain close to home if you have to cut the run short. Go more slowly than you used to when they were younger.
If your dog can’t run, then let them walk. This is actually the most common form of dog exercise and for good reason. It is minimal impact, ‘easy’ to execute, and needs no particular equipment. Find a pace that your older dog is more comfortable with and use ‘loop’ routes.
- Use Gravity
Slopes can be a good way to always keep a dog fit and in good shape. Slopes and hills can be used as a way to exercise our aging dog’s weaker hind quarters. The slope can be used to target either the back or front legs, depending on whether you are heading up or down. Focusing on uphill is more effective in engaging a dog’s hind legs.
Swimming is another low impact exercise which is perfect for your older dogs. It can be useful for both muscular development and also cardiovascular benefits. The limitations of swimming include accessibility to a suitable body of water (e.g. pool) and the likely added stress of having to bathe the dog more often.
- Balance Exercises
Aging dogs have to exercise their proprioception abilities, just like human seniors, our stability can deteriorate. Try the balance drill on the couch. Carrying out the side step is also a great exercise for a senior dog. These two form of exercise are low impact but loaded with benefit.
- Range of Motion Exercises
These will keep your senior pet ‘limber’ and better ready to move around. You can use the reach-stretch frequently as a warm-up. Have your pet sit (or lay down) and (with a treat handy), Let them follow your hand while you gradually move it far from them, and then sideways. You can also move it back in the direction of their flank so they get a great stretch. To make this exercise highly effective, your senior dog needs to be in the seated or down position.
- Take baby steps
I understand your dog is a senior, not a puppy, but use baby procedures. Based on precisely how out of shape your senior dog is, you have to start gradually. You wouldn’t begin a new exercise session by entering a marathon or bench pressing your own body mass. So don’t imagine your old pet to come right from the gate running three miles together with you that first morning. This is about you walking together with your dog; it’s not about him keeping up with you. Be aware of your dog’s frame of mind, his breathing and even his heart rate. If he looks all over-exerted, stop. Never force him to go on.
- Consider the surface
Bear in mind that your senior dog is not putting on the latest, ergonomically-engineered footwear. He’s only walking on his bare, little, old, weary feet and he most likely hasn’t been doing much on them recently— through stimulating tough calluses. Avoid:
- Freezing ice and snow
- Blistering very hot pavement
- Ridiculously stony terrain
This is not to state that your aged dog must always walk only on completely smooth and level surfaces. First, those smooth surfaces might be too slippery for him. But more importantly, there is benefit to taking a walk on reasonable slopes and on quite rough surfaces with some traction. Your dog has four legs, which means if one of them is strained or stiff, he can move his weight off that leg. This makes him much more comfortable for a while, but can lead to muscle fatigue in the long run. Making your senior move around a bit on those less-than-perfect surfaces will make him walk with all four of his legs.
Finally, constantly alter and re-adjust any exercise routine to your aging dog’s specific situation and changing abilities – either that means your senior dog gets stronger and can do more or gets frailer and have to do less. Remember, at the end of day the purpose is to enjoy each other and have fun while working toward a healthier, happier, senior dog.