Everything you need to know about exercising your senior dog

As dogs age, their exercise requirements change so how much exercise does a senior dog need?

As time goes on, older dogs naturally slow down and rest a lot more, but they still need plenty of regular exercise to stay healthy.

Here, we’re sharing everything you need to know about exercising your senior dog.

General advice

Senior dogs need regular but gentle exercise and whilst every dog is different, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to exercising older dogs:

  • Keep exercises sessions regular and short. If senior dogs don’t get out for regular walks, their joints and muscles can stiffen up over time and cause them pain.
  • Slow the pace down. Follow your dog’s lead and go at their pace and if they lie down on a walk, it means they need to rest.
  • Stick to familiar walking routes, especially if your dog is starting to have issues with their sight and sense of smell and getting more confused in their older age. Walking familiar paths will help them feel more confident and less anxious.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. Senior dogs don’t do as well in the extreme cold or heat so be sure to walk in the cooler parts of the day in the summer and wrap them up warm in the winter.
  • Indoor exercises like sniffing and puzzles can be very beneficial to senior dogs, especially if the weather makes it difficult to get outside.
  • Use an activity tracker like Pawfit 2 to ensure your senior dog is getting the right amount of exercise each day and not overdoing it and risking injury and/or exhaustion
A senior golden retriever dog walking in a wooded area

Exercises for older dogs

There are all sorts of low-impact exercises that are great for senior dogs to help keep them both physically and mentally stimulated:

  • Walking – even older dogs will enjoy regular walks, just remember to take it slow and rest if it looks like they’re struggling
  • Swimming – a great low impact exercise that’s easy on the joints
  • Training – you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks and training is a great way to keep their minds stimulated and stop them getting bored
  • Scent games – dogs explore the world with their noses and sniffing is a great stress reliever and form of mental stimulation. Play scent-based games at home and give them lots of opportunities to sniff on walks.

Illnesses and health problems

It’s important to remember that as dogs grow older, they may develop breed or age-related illness that can impact their ability to exercise and their overall fitness levels. These can include:

  • Arthritis or other joint related issues
  • Loss of sight
  • Deafness
  • Dog dementia
  • Heart problems

If you think your dog is having issues with their movements and you’re concerned about their quality of life, speak to your vet as there may be things that can be done to reduce their pain and help your dog get around more easily.

If you have a senior dog, we’d love to hear what exercises they enjoy. Let us know by emailing PawfitPals@Pawfit.com or by getting in touch on social media.

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