It can be tough to get your older dog the exercise she needs. She looks so content lying there on the couch—nobody wants to disturb her! But still, she needs to move around. Exercise will make her happier and make her feel better physically. Regular exercise can increase her lifespan and slow the advancement of arthritis.
Speaking of arthritis, be aware that if you have an older dog, particularly a large breed dog, chances are good that he is suffering from some arthritis or joint pain. For this and other reasons, it is always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before beginning a new exercise regimen.
Sometimes well-meaning dog parents do not get their dog enough exercise because the dog is in pain. This is understandable, but constant rest isn’t helping matters any. A safe pain reliever like CanineActiv becomes indispensable in these scenarios. It helps your dog get off the couch and helps her enjoy exercise more. Then, the exercise gets the blood flowing and makes the dog feel better in the long term.
So, how do you do it? What can your older dog handle? Here are some ideas:
- Swimming! Swimming is awesome for sore joints. If it makes you and/or your dog more comfortable, you might want to use a swim vest. Try to find a spot where your dog can wade in at his own pace. Your elderly best friend may not want to jump off the dock. And it’s true that some dogs just don’t like water. In which case…
- Short, frequent walks. Older dogs don’t have the same stamina they had when they were younger, but all dogs enjoy walks. (And if they don’t, it’s probably because they are ill or in pain. Consult your veterinarian.) Try three 10-minute walks per day instead of one long one. You might take a stroll in the morning, when you get home from work, and again before bed. This may seem inconvenient, but it might do wonders for your dog’s quality of life.
- Short games. A dog may love fetch or tug-of-war so much that he overdoes it. So, while it’s important to give your dog time to play, it’s also important to be the parent in the situation and not let her overdo it. We don’t want to cause excessive soreness later on.
- Organized classes. Your dog may have already taken obedience classes, but there’s nothing that says she can’t repeat them. Going to class, moving around, and being with other dogs can be a great opportunity for older dogs. Be sure to tell your trainer about your concerns and goals.
- A young friend. For many of us caring for an aging dog, adopting a young dog is the last thing we want to do. But it could be the best thing for your older dog. Younger dogs want to play and more often than not, they are able to persuade their older housemates. At the very least, the older dog will move more trying to get away from and hide from the puppy.
We’d like to see a picture of your great long-time friend. How about posting a dog pic over at the CanineActiv Facebook page?