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Keeping Your Senior Dog Active

Updated: Mar 5

It’s not often that I feel old.

Sure, sometimes I look in the mirror and notice my silvery muzzle and some gray around my paws. But mostly I’m too busy digging for earthworms or searching for my squeaky squirrel to worry too much about that.

However, last week as I was taking my around-the-block walk, I found myself putting on the brakes at the edge of the overpass and turning around to go home. Fancy thinking I could still climb that steep slope as I’m hurtling towards my golden years.

Then, in a coincidence, Felix, the older and grayer Schnauzer from across the street, scooted past me and started making his way up the ramp.

Watching him, I was reminded of something: Getting older doesn’t mean slowing down.

And in that moment, I went from cutting my walks short to embracing the long way home.

There’s no reason a dog can’t lead an adventurous life as they age. In fact, staying active as they age can help dogs live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Read on for a few tried-and-tested tips on how to keep your senior dog active and healthy.

Exercise Every Day: Your dog will be livelier on longer adventures if they’ve had a chance to keep their muscles limber with a structured walk once or twice each day, instead of just stepping off the porch for a lazy pee. Regular walks will keep your dog jogging rather than slogging through their post-puppy years.

Keep in mind, the focus of exercising a senior dog is to keep them moving and mobile, not to tire them out. Allow your pup to get lots of rest between walks and ensure they have access to cool, fresh water at all times.

Keep Your Dog’s Mind Sharp: Senior dogs can suffer from age-related cognitive decline, including cognitive dysfunction syndrome, which is more reason to provide lots of enrichment opportunities. In fact, mental stimulation is a surefire way to prevent boredom, encourage engagement with you and the environment, and keep your dog happy. Thankfully, many types of physical exercise provide mental exercise as well. For example, most senior dogs love sniff walks where you let them explore at their own pace and track every scent. They also love puzzle toys that challenge them to solve a problem to obtain a treat. And what dog isn’t yearning for a snuffle mat? Trick training is fun enrichment, too.

Explore New Places: Whether it’s taking your dog to a new place to play, a dog park or even walking a completely new route, the experience of a different location can help provide your dog with mental stimulation.

Introduce New Toys and Tricks: For an older dog, a new toy isn’t just fun and exciting - it can also offer your dog mental stimulation and encourage more interaction.

It’s just that simple. With a little watchfulness, accommodation and a lot of love, you and your dog can make the most of their golden years - and more of them – together. Remember, the activities you share together are what keeps any dog’s life fun and healthy.

How do you keep your senior dog active?

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