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Keeping Your Aging Canine Companion Fit
April 15, 2024

Is your dog displaying signs of getting older? Maybe you’ve observed a bit of a decline in Fido’s zest for playing or chasing squirrels recently. Or, your pup’s nose may have begun to turn gray. Over time, your beloved pet will naturally begin to adopt a more laid-back approach. We all slow down as we grow older! It’s crucial to make sure that your furry friend doesn’t turn into a couch potato, though. This post from a local Saginaw, MI veterinarian provides useful advice on keeping an older dog active and healthy.

Why Does My Senior Dog Get Restless?

There are several possible explanations for this. One option is plain old doggy boredom. However, it’s worth noting that dogs might exhibit this behavior if they’re in pain or discomfort. If you observe your dog displaying frequent restlessness or constantly changing positions, contact your Saginaw, MI veterinarian.

What Are Suitable Activities For Senior Dogs?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for this, except of course for taking walks. Every dog has their own set of individual requirements. It’s important to take into account your pup’s age, size, weight, and overall well-being, as well as his preferences. 

Your veterinarian can offer valuable advice on what is most suitable for your beloved pet. However, we can point out a few general guidelines. Avoid encouraging Fido to jump or stand on his hind legs too frequently, as it can strain his fragile bones and joints. 

Also, take care not to push your pet too hard. Dogs are incredibly loyal and will always strive to make us happy. Closely monitor Fido and be on the lookout for any signs of tiredness, such as panting or falling behind. When your furry friend starts to get tired, finish up playtime. Provide Fido with some water and belly rubs, and let him relax with a nap. (Old dogs peacefully snoozing in their beds is always an adorable sight.) 

How Can I Encourage My Older Dog To Be More Active?

Ensuring the well-being of your beloved pet, regardless of their age, involves regular exercise. Going for walks is something that most dogs really enjoy and look forward to. Just let Fido go at his own speed and bring him inside when he starts to get tired.

Your cute pet may never outgrow his love of exploring. You can still wander through various paths and parks with your beloved pet. Fido may also still enjoy interacting with other dogs. It’s important to be selective when choosing who your pup spends time with. Take a moment to make sure that the dogs at the dog park are friendly and well-behaved.

Playing is also acceptable. Every now and then, Fido will feel the need to let loose and embrace his inner puppy. Feel free to throw a ball or a toy for him to catch or chase. We recommend selecting toys designed for more mature dogs. Some of these options are very gentle, making them suitable for older dogs with sensitive mouths. Certain types may have additional lights or sound effects, which can enhance their visibility and make them more user-friendly.

If possible, choose a spot with carpet or soft grass. This will give your pet added grip and a little extra padding in case of any slips or accidents. It’s important to be cautious when playing or exercising your dog to ensure his safety. Avoid areas that could pose a risk, such as pools, stairs, roadways, and fireplaces.

Why Exercise Is Important For Older Dogs

As Fido ages, he might experience a decrease in muscle mass and a slight increase in weight. Keeping your furry friend active can help prevent or delay the development of common bone and joint problems, such as arthritis. This can also assist in preventing him from gaining excess weight. Plus, it has numerous benefits for his digestive system, cardiovascular health, and respiratory function. Ask your Saginaw, MI veterinarian for more information.

Keeping A Senior Dog Entertained

Fido won’t be as energetic as he used to be. There are certain advantages to this. A lot of people find senior dogs to be really great companions. They have a calm and easygoing nature, which makes them low-maintenance pets. Plus, they are just really, really cute!

As your furry friend gets older, it’s important to shift your focus towards keeping his mind active and engaged rather than just focusing on physical exercise.

Here are a few ways to accomplish that:

Paw Pads: These pet inventions are truly revolutionary and have made a significant impact in recent years. Sure, no problem! Teaching your furry companion to verbally express his desires for a walk, a treat, or some affection is completely achievable and also lots of fun. (Your mileage may vary.)

Training: That old notion that it’s challenging to teach an old dog new tricks should definitely be reconsidered, if not retired. Similar to humans, our beloved pets are always growing their understanding. Teaching Fido tricks is a fantastic way to stimulate their mind and provide them with a sense of accomplishment. It’s truly heartwarming to witness the joy dogs exude when they successfully overcome a new challenge!

Pup Puzzles: These days, there are a wide variety of enjoyable and engaging dog toys to choose from for your beloved pet. Fido may be required to solve a “puzzle” before they can be rewarded with a treat. You can also engage your furry friend’s sense of smell with snuffle mats and scavenger hunts. Your dog will thoroughly enjoy exploring and discovering all the tiny morsels of kibble that you scatter across the mat. These activities may not be very good for calorie burning, but they are excellent for stimulating Fido’s mental abilities. Imagine it as a canine rendition of solving a crossword puzzle.

TV: Fido can have a great time watching channels that are made just for him. This is an excellent choice for when your beloved pet needs to be left at home by themselves.

Can I Take My Senior Dog Swimming?

Swimming is an excellent choice for a low-impact doggy cardio workout. Fido’s bones and joints will be well-supported by the water, preventing any strain.

There are, naturally, a couple of restrictions. Not all dogs are well-suited for swimming. Even the smallest stream can carry away small pups. Short-legged breeds like corgis and dachshunds are definitely not known for their swimming abilities. It’s important to note that this can also be risky for brachycephalic breeds, as they are more prone to respiratory problems. And, of course, some dogs just don’t like the water.

If your furry friend has always loved swimming, this may be a great option. Ensuring the safety of your beloved pet should always be your utmost concern. Only let your pup swim in areas that are safe and shallow. Be cautious of areas with strong wakes, abrupt changes in depth, or swift currents. Always keep a close eye on your dog when he’s in or near water.

Contact Your Saginaw, MI Pet Clinic

Do you need any guidance regarding the exercise requirements for your senior dog? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at your earliest convenience. At our Saginaw, MI animal clinic, we strive to deliver exceptional treatment and customer service to our valued clients.

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