As your dog ages, he won’t be as energetic or frisky as he used to, but that doesn’t mean he’ll immediately transform into a furry couch potato. Fido will always be a puppy at heart! He’ll also benefit from the exercise, stimulation, fun, and bonding that play provides. You’ll need to do some things differently at this stage of your pup’s life, however. A Saginaw, MI vet offers some advice on that below.
Playing offers senior dogs the same benefits that it does for puppies. It keeps them active, offers them enrichment, and lets them burn off some energy. It’s also a great way for Fido to spend time with his favorite humans!
As your canine pal ages, you’ll slowly want to adjust his playtime options to things that are less physically taxing but offer more mental stimulation. Fido may still enjoy running after a ball, but might tap out after a few rounds. Try things like Hide And Seek or puzzle games. Scavenger hunts can be fun as well. Just remember to pick up anything your furry friend misses. You can also work on teaching your pet new tricks, or play a doggy version of the Three Cups game.
Most dogs will benefit from having at least a few minutes of playtime each day. Your furry pal may do better with shorter but more frequent sessions. Daily play is great for many pups, but every pooch is different. Get specific recommendations from your vet.
The biggest thing to watch out for is fatigue. Fido will wear out a lot faster than he used to, but he’ll push himself to keep going if he thinks that is what you want of him. That really says a lot about how loyal and loving our canine companions are. End playtime if you notice any signs of fatigue. Also, be sure to choose a safe area. Don’t play with your furry buddy around potential hazards, such as pools, fireplaces, or busy roads. Finally, don’t encourage a senior dog to jump or stand on his back legs. This can exacerbate hip and joint issues, such as arthritis.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? As your Saginaw, MI animal clinic, we are here to help.