Your dog has been by your side through thick and thin, and you've given them the best life possible. But now they are getting older and starting to slow down. You know they are just as eager to play fetch and go on hikes with you, but their body just isn't cooperating.
Watching your furry baby become less active and not be able to do the things they were so eager for before can be hard.
Unfortunately, as they get older, your dog may have or be at risk of developing arthritis or other health conditions that can cause them pain and restrict their activity even further. They may not be as energetic as they used to be.
They may not perform agility jumps or do air flips or zoomies like before, but it doesn't mean they don't enjoy life anymore or can't have fun. The good news is that with some careful planning you can still entertain a senior dog and keep them active well into their senior years. Keeping your dog physically mobile and mentally stimulated is an integral part of taking care of an aging pet. It's all about finding new ways to enjoy each other's company.
Trust us when we say it'll be worth seeing the spark come back into their eyes when they find something they enjoy.
Here are some exciting activities for senior dogs that you can incorporate into your four-legged pal's routine to ensure they have the happiest golden years.
Daily walks are critical for senior dogs to help maintain their mobility, muscle strength, and overall health. Of course, you can decide the ideal duration and pace of the walk based on the condition and stamina of your dog.
But please, don't make it boring.
Your senior dog may not want to go on a walk if every day is the same. Here are a few ideas to make walks more fun:
If the weather is bad outside you can still keep your dog active by exercising them at home. It's not as much fun as going outside to explore, but it'll do on a rainy day. Especially for dogs that still have a lot of energy to burn.
Like in humans, there's no age limit for learning in dogs.
You can teach your senior dog new tricks to sharpen their mind and keep them stimulated. Start with the easy ones and make sure your instructions are as clear as possible, so they don't get confused or annoyed. Also, as much as you may be tempted to combine a couple of tricks, ditch the idea unless you want your dog to lose interest in the activity altogether.
And yes, don't forget to reinforce good behavior with some treats or a toy. The reward will keep them going!
Consider taking a road trip with your senior dog when in the mood to do something more adventurous. This is especially recommended if your furry friend likes riding with you. It'll give them a chance to get some fresh air without having to walk. Planning a road trip to California or looking for pet friendly stays in Idaho or other states, check out our blog travel series on Fun Travel Ideas for You and your Pet; we cover most of the states :-)
Wherever you go, make sure you pack plenty of water and snacks for the trip to keep their tummy full and take plenty of potty breaks. Check out these tips on how to travel with pets.
Ideally, you should feed your furry baby a couple of hours before heading out. It's best to go out in the morning or evening so it's not too hot for your dog. And make sure you have a car or seat belt harness to ensure safety throughout the ride.
Consider observing your dog the first time you go to the park to determine their preferences—some senior dogs prefer watching everyone from a distance, while others like being petted by people while they play with other dogs.
Remember, you shouldn't force your dog to interact with anyone. Let them go about it as they like. It is important to respect your dog's space and especially monitor puppies as they tend to be overly eager and can annoy older dogs.
Interactive toys like treat-dispensing puzzles are also great for senior dogs. They provide a mental challenge to keep your furry friend entertained for hours and help exhaust pent-up energy. Even some puppy toys are good for older dogs, it really depends on their interest and energy level.
If you can't find or don't want to buy a treat-dispensing toy, you can make one by making a hole in one side of a simple plastic bottle. Add treats to it. The biscuits in the bottle will make a noise as your dog rolls it on the floor. It will also leave behind a trail of yummy treats that they'll want to explore!
Do you have a café nearby that serves food for humans and dogs?
If not, simply a dog-friendly café or outdoor patio would make a fun hangout spot for you and your four-legged pal.
Some days, you can invite a friend for each of you to make the experience more enjoyable. Consider setting up a play date with a different friend each time to keep things interesting.
As your dog grows older, they may not be able to enjoy every season like they used to. But guess what?
No dog is too old to play in the snow, dig in the sand or burrow into the pile of leaves you just raked in the backyard. Let your furry baby out for a bit, and enjoy jumping in the pile of leaves and making a snowball with them.
Senior dogs need a lot of attention, love, and care. With our list of fun things to do with a senior dog, you can add excitement and movement to your furry friend's life.
All recommended activities for senior dogs are meant to keep them active while allowing you to spend quality time with your pet.
If your dog has physical limitations due to arthritis or joint pain, consider using WALK-EASY® Arthritis and Joint Pain Relief Remedy as a safe and natural treatment solution. It is ideal for improving mobility and overall comfort for your dog, so they can enjoy all senior-friendly activities to the fullest!