Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Pet Wellness: 9 Tips to Keep your Senior Dogs Active and Healthy

Home Wellness Pet Wellness: 9 Tips to Keep your Senior Dogs Active and Healthy

It’s easy to keep young dogs active. They usually know how to entertain themselves by running around and exploring every nook and cranny of your home or backyard. 

But with senior dogs, it’s a completely different story. Their joints aren’t as flexible, and they may exhibit lower energy levels throughout the day. You’ll often find them lazing around more, which may make them prone to weight gain and conditions like arthritis.

When your dog reaches a certain age, it’s important to be more vigilant about keeping them healthy and active as best you can. Here are nine ways to do just that.

9 Tips to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Active

Take them on daily walks 

Allot at least 15 minutes every day to walk your dog outside leisurely. You can take them to the park or just a stroll around the village. This will move their muscles and stretch their joints more, preventing arthritis in the long run. It also allows them to breathe some fresh air.

If your dog is feeling extra playful, play fetch with them in a safe, outdoor place, like a park or in a street that isn’t busy.

Get them moving at home

You don’t have to go outside to encourage physical activity for your senior dog. If you don’t have the time to leave the house, give your dog opportunities to move around indoors. Play games like hide and seek or tug of war with them with some rope.

You could even build them a simple obstacle course in a spacious room. All you need is some laundry baskets, rope, maybe some hula hoops, and your dog will be active and entertained for a while.

Switch them to healthier food for a more balanced diet

If you have a habit of feeding your dog table food, try to stop and switch them over to healthier options. Natural food like sweet potatoes, carrots, watermelon, pears, and apples are excellent for dog health. Treat them to some fish once in a while too.

Plus, senior dogs can get a bit choosy with their food. They can easily get bored of the food they’re already used to. Changing it up and allowing them to try something new may be exciting and stimulating for them.

Give them supplements for extra nutrients

To make sure your senior dog is getting all the right vitamins and minerals to keep them strong and healthy, add some supplements to their diet. There are heaps you can choose from, like probiotics and antioxidant supplements. You can even get multivitamins formulated specifically for dogs.

Fish oil is among the best supplements for older dogs, especially those prone to disease. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are fantastic for boosting heart, joint, and even skin health for dogs. Other benefits of fish oils include reducing your dog’s risk for kidney disease and alleviating arthritis pain.

Another good supplement for older dogs is glucosamine. This amino sugar helps strengthen bones and cartilage, and has been proven to improve osteoarthritis in 70 days. It’s perfect for relieving dogs of joint pains.

Teach them new games and tricks

Ever heard of the phrase “old dogs can learn new tricks”? Well, it’s a popular idiom for a reason. Teaching your dog new games and tricks can help challenge their cognitive skills more while keeping them active as well.

Teach them something they were never able to master as a pup, like rolling over. You could also teach them unique tricks like guessing which of your hands has a treat in it before giving it to them.

Buy new toys for mental stimulation

Physical activity isn’t the only thing you should encourage when keeping your older dog healthy. Stimulate their minds with new toys that are interactive and can exercise their brain more.

Look for puzzle toys or interactive toys they can sniff and lick. This is great not just for mental stimulation, but to allow your old dogs to feel young and curious again.

Find them some dog friends

If you can’t get your dog to be physically active by yourself, maybe the presence of a new doggo friend can help out. Set up a play date with another dog (perhaps that of your sibling or best friend) and let them run around and play to burn off calories together. Not only does it keep your dog moving, but it also allows them to be socially active even at their age.

Build a sustainable routine for them

Senior dogs find comfort in a predictable daily routine. They’ll know when it’s time to nap, eat, or take a walk. Set up a sustainable routine for them that they like.

Plus, if you know all the little details about your dog’s schedule—from what time they wake up to when they have to go potty—it’s easier to notice when there’s something wrong. Something as small as refusing to eat at their usual mealtime might be a sign that your dog isn’t feeling well. By keeping tabs on details like these, you can address health issues faster.

Stay on top of your visits to the vet

Finally, make sure you schedule appointments with your veterinarian for annual check-ups. Don’t visit the vet only when your dog is feeling sick. Make it a habit to go on check-ups just to make sure your dog is as healthy as can be.

Your vet will be your partner in making sure your dog stays healthy. They’ll help you pinpoint your senior dog’s ideal weight and vitals so that you know how to plan their diet and daily routine better. 

Senior Dogs Need Extra Help to Stay Healthy

Older dogs go through many physical and mental changes. They’ll lay low and slow down on activity, but you shouldn’t just let them be. 

Stimulate them in different ways to boost their health and keep them active by incorporating the tips above into their daily routine. That way, you can make sure they’re around to enjoy life with you for more years to come.

You may want to read more,

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Brianne Zane
I'm Brianne a parent and an advocate of "Adopt, don't shop". I love spending time with my dogs and 2 cats.

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