As our pets get older, they still need to get out to get their bones 'a moving! Here are a few tips to help keep your senior pet feeling good while continuing to exercise:
1. Check with your vet before changing your exercise routine: Write down any questions you may have before your appointment so that you can discuss any concerns with your vet. The doc will be able to assess your pup's condition and can help come up with an exercise routine that would be perfectly suited for your dog.
2. Enjoy a daily walk together: It is recommended that all dogs get walked daily, and your aging buddy is no exception! You may not be able to take him/her on a long hike in the woods like you could before...but he/she would definitely still enjoy a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood or park. Let them take sniff breaks and explore their surroundings. If you have a pup with mobility issues, just remember to keep them on flatter walking surfaces to make it easier on their joints.
3. Take it slow when beginning your new routine: Ease your senior pup into any new exercising routine. Increase the activity over a longer time period to avoid injuries. If you are beginning a new walking routine, start with flat surfaces and slowly increase the pace/distance over time. Be sure to watch your pet for signs of discomfort and stick to low impact exercises. After a few days of exercise, you should be able to better gauge what they can handle and how far they can go.
4. Give your dog a warm up: Just like humans, our pups need to warm up before jumping right into exercising. Stroll around the yard for a few laps to get your pup moving before you head out on your walk/hike.
5. Add some mental exercise to your dog's routine: Keep their mind sharp with some mental exercises in addition to their physical exercise. Use a food dispensing toy or a stuffed kong. Play hide and seek with their favorite toy. Most of all, let your dog have fun!
6. BE CONSISTENT: Dogs are less likely to injure themselves if they have at least 15-20 minutes of daily exercise versus 1-2 hours of exercise only on the weekends. Not to mention, your pup will enjoy the daily one on one time with you!
7. Save some time to give a doggy massage after your exercise: A 10 minute massage will help soothe your dog's muscles and decrease stiffness/pain, helps lower their blood pressure and improve circulation. This will also leave your senior pup feel more relaxed after their exercise.
Now, get out there and get moving! :) Your old guys and gals will love it!