Keeping Your Senior Dog Active: Tips and Strategies for a Happy and Healthy Furry Friend

We all know the saying “Age is just a number”. This is especially true when it comes to our furry friends. Senior dogs may move a bit slower, but with the right exercise routine, even older pups can stay active and healthy!

As our furry companions age, their exercise needs change. While we may notice that our older pups don’t run and play as often, keeping senior dogs active is just as important as it is for younger dogs. In this article, we will explore tips and strategies for keeping your senior dog active, as well as safety considerations, and how to make exercise fun for your elderly furry friend.

Keep Your Pup Safe in the Car with These 4 Tips - family walking dogs

How Do Our Dogs Age?

Before diving into exercise routines, it’s important to understand how your furry friend changes and the unique health issues they may face as they get older. These changes are important to keep in mind as they can help develop a safe yet effective exercise routine. 

Some common health issues that contribute to decreased mobility include arthritis, joint problems and weight gain. As dogs age, their energy levels may also decrease, which can make it challenging to engage them in physical activity.

Fortunately, regular exercise and keeping your pup moving can help manage and counteract these issues. Exercise can help to maintain muscle mass, reduce joint stiffness and pain, and prevent weight gain. Exercise also promotes mental and emotional well-being, which is crucial for senior dogs who may experience anxiety or depression.

The Signs of Dental Problems in Pets

There are a number of activities you can include in your daily routine to help keep your senior dog active. By incorporating a combination of low-impact exercises, mental stimulation activities, and mobility and flexibility exercises, you can help keep your senior dog active, healthy, and happy!

Keeping Your Senior Dog Active - jumping dog

Low-Impact Exercises:

When it comes to keeping senior dogs active, low-impact exercises are an excellent option. Walking, swimming, and gentle play are all great choices that won’t put too much strain on your dog’s joints. These activities can help to maintain muscle mass, improve circulation, and promote overall fitness, which is important for keeping your furry friend healthy and happy in their golden years.

What’s more? They provide an excellent opportunity for bonding with your furry friend while enjoying the outdoors. Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll in the park, splashing around in a pool, or playing a gentle game of fetch, you’re not only keeping your dog active, but you’re also creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Mental Stimulation:

Mental stimulation exercises are also essential for senior dogs, as they help keep their minds sharp and engaged. 

Puzzles, brain games, and short training sessions can provide an excellent outlet for their mental energy, while also helping to build a stronger bond with their owners. Interactive toys, such as treat-dispensing toys or puzzle feeders, are also great options for keeping their minds active.

The House Call Vet offer a range of fun and stimulating mental toys, such as the Buster Activity Mat and the Kong Wobbler Treat Dispenser Dog Toy, to keep your pup both physical and mentally active!

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arthritis in dogs - dog looking at biscuit dough


The food that pets consume has a direct impact on their dental health. A diet that is rich in sugar or starch can lead to the formation of plaque and tartar, which can cause serious dental issues over time. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and can eventually harden into tartar, which needs professional removal.

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Mobility & Flexibility Exercises:

Incorporating mobility and flexibility exercises into your senior dog’s routine can help to improve their range of motion, balance, and coordination.

 Stretching exercises and massages can help to relieve stiffness, increase flexibility, and improve joint mobility. These exercises can also help prevent injury and reduce pain and discomfort, making it easier for your furry friend to move around comfortably.

Not only are these exercises good for their bodies, but they can also be a great way to bond with your senior dog. Many dogs love cuddling and getting massages, and by incorporating these activities into their routine you can help them feel loved and cared for. Plus, spending quality time together can be a great stress-reliever for both you and your furry friend!

Other factors:

Medical conditions and physical trauma can also play a role in the development of dental problems in pets. Trauma can result in tooth loss and other issues, while other medical conditions can affect the health and function of the mouth. 

Additionally, certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease, can increase a pet’s risk of developing other oral health problems.

The Importance Of Dental Care For Pets - vet looking at teeth
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Safety Considerations When Trying New Activities

It is important to remember that every dog is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Before starting an exercise regimen with your senior dog, there are some safety considerations to remember and precautions to take to ensure that your companion stays healthy.

Taking Your Pet To The Vet

Regular check-ups are crucial for all pets. For senior dogs, these appointments can help identify any underlying health issues that may affect your dog’s ability to exercise. In addition, your veterinarian can provide guidance on what activities are appropriate for your pup and how to develop a safe exercise routine to help treat and manage underlying health issues.

Tips For Ensuring Safety

First, consider using a leash or harness to prevent your dog from wandering off or getting into dangerous situations. This is especially important if you’re taking your dog to a new or unfamiliar location.
Additionally, it’s important to choose appropriate terrain for your senior dog. Avoid rough or uneven surfaces that can increase the risk of falls or injuries. Stick to flat, even surfaces, such as walking paths or grassy areas, whenever possible. 

Prevent Overexertion

When it comes to the intensity of exercise, it’s important to avoid overexertion. Senior dogs may not have the same level of stamina as younger dogs, so be sure to start slowly and pay attention to your dog’s body language and be mindful of any signs of fatigue or discomfort. It’s also a good idea to take breaks and offer water during exercise to prevent dehydration.

Warning signs that your senior dog may be overexerting themselves include excessive panting, limping, or reluctance to continue the activity. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to stop the activity and seek emergency veterinary attention if necessary.

Keeping Your Senior Dog Active - husky at vet

Make Exercise Fun For You & Your Pet

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it should be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your companion. Here are some tips for making exercise a positive experience:

  • Choose activities that your pet enjoys: Like humans, every pet has their own preferences when it comes to exercise. Some dogs love to run, while others prefer to play fetch or swim. By understanding what your pet enjoys you can tailor your exercise routine accordingly.
  • Set achievable goals: It’s important to set achievable goals for your pet’s exercise routine. Start with short walks or gentle play sessions and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the exercise over time if needed.
  • Incorporate playtime: Incorporate playtime into your pet’s exercise routine. This can include playing fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek. These activities can help to keep your pet engaged and motivated without feeling like exercise.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement to encourage your pet to participate in exercise. Offer treats or verbal praise when your pet performs a desired behaviour, such as fetching a ball or coming when called.
  • Change up the routine: Keep your pet engaged by changing up the exercise routine from time to time. This can include exploring new trails or parks, trying out different toys, or incorporating new training exercises.
  • Exercise together: Join in on the exercise with your pet. This can include going for walks or runs together, practicing yoga with your pet, or even taking a dip in the pool.
    Make it a social activity: Invite friends and their pets to join in on the exercise. This can include group walks, playdates at the park, or even joining a local dog walking or running club.
Keeping Your Senior Dog Active - youn boy with dog and cat on couch

Get Started Today! Some Key Takeaways

Keeping your senior dog active is essential for their health and wellbeing. By incorporating low-impact exercises, mental stimulation activities, and taking the appropriate safety considerations, you can help your furry friend to stay happy and healthy in their golden years. Before starting anything new, remember to consult to ensure that your senior dog is healthy enough for exercise and to develop an exercise routine that is appropriate for their individual needs.

Looking to get your senior pup up and moving, but don’t know where to start? Consider reaching out to The House Call Vet. We are passionate about caring for senior pets and offer a range of services to ensure they are healthy and well cared for. From regular check-ups to vaccines, x-rays, and more you can trust that your senior dog will receive the best possible attention and care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step in keeping your furry friend happy and healthy in their golden years.

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