Whether you’ve had them since they were a puppy, or adopted them as a senior dog, we all want the best for our pets. Check out these four activities that will help your dog keep fit and healthy, and remind him that they’re still a puppy at heart. While you may not be climbing mountains together, there are still plenty of ways to keep your canine both mentally and physically stimulated.
#1 – Swimming
If your dog loves the water, then swimming is one of your best activities you could do. Senior dogs are often at risk of muscle loss and weakened bones, but swimming can offer a great way to help tone and strengthen their bodies better than walking or running. The resistance of the water provides a harder workout, but the lack of pressure on their joints when in the water means that there is little risk of pain or injury. The strength they build up from this exercise will also help them prevent injury while outside the water.
#2 – Walking
When you have an older dog, do not assume that they would not like to venture outside. They may not be able to walk as fast or as far as they used to, but any dog loves a daily walk. As senior dogs are more sensitive to temperature, consider keeping the time of day in mind, depending on the season. Extreme hot or cold weather is not great for senior dogs, but try your best to take them out every day. Not only is walking a safe and easy exercise (providing they are not suffering from any injuries or arthritis), but it also means you’ll get to spend more time outdoors together.
#3 – Food/Toy Puzzles
If going outside isn’t always an option, consider using treat puzzles and interactive toys to keep your dog busy while at home. While they cannot replace outdoor exercise, these activities are great for stimulating your dog’s mind. Your dog can work the different puzzles to earn a treat or toy as a reward. They require little physical effort but will keep your dog happy and having fun!
Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was lying – senior dogs love to learn new things! While agility courses or frisbee may be out of the question, there are still plenty of things your dog can do. Nosework is a great activity for your pup to get involved in, even if you never compete. Nosework uses your dog’s greatest natural ability, their sense of smell, into real-life situations of detection and searching. You and your dog will learn how to find and indicate specific scents, and have fun exploring new environments. Treats and toys are also great incentives for your dog during and after taking part.