Top tips for strolling with your senior companion

Posted by MyDogDoc on

Dogs really aren’t that different from people in many ways, and getting old may mean slowing down but it doesn’t mean the end of having fun! Although your mature mutt may have a few more aches and pains they can still benefit from walks just as much as younger dogs, but their physical limitations may require a more sedate pace.

  • Always discuss your older dog’s exercise with your vet .

  • Fresh air and gentle exercise keep a senior dog’s brain and body healthy.

  • Walks will need to be adjusted to take into account the physical capabilities of the older dog.

  • Slow down the pace, reduce the distance travelled and allow the dog to take their time.

  • Increase mental stimulation to substitute for the reduced physical exercise they will be getting.

Don’t undestimate the importance of exercise for you dog

  • Fresh air and gentle exercise are beneficial to all dogs. Walks keep a senior dog’s brain active and their body fit and healthy.

  • Getting outside to sniff different smells on walks, watch the world go by and potter along at their own pace should be part of their daily routine.

  • The emphasis should not be on physical length or intensity but rather on mental stimulation and gentle exercise.

How can I alter my walks to benefit my older dog?

Slow down! Look at walks as going on a “Sniffari” – let your dog sniff, mooch and take in information about their environment. Walk at their pace rather than stomping on ahead, as this will force the older dog to move faster than they may otherwise be comfortable with in order to catch up. Stop when they stop. Let them dictate where you go as well as the pace. Let them feel in control!

Dogs showing signs of sensory deprivation (not hearing or seeing well) might need to be kept on a lead so that they know where you are and to prevent them becoming disorientated.

Some older dogs are still very motivated to run around on walks and chase a ball. They might then suffer the consequences later that day when they are stiff on rising. Be aware that your dog does not know what is good for them, but you do, so you need to make these decisions for them.

If they are still active on their walks, reduce the length of the walks so it is still within their physical capabilities without the pain and stiffness afterwards. Reduce ball throwing games, or adjust the game to minimise fast chasing and leaping behaviour. For example, ask the dog to sit and place or throw the ball out ahead of them. Then release them to fetch it.

Increasing mental stimulation in the form of scentwork (hide a favourite toy in long grass or shrubs and encourage the dog to find it) or training will mentally tire them out and keep their lives enriched and stimulating. Getting old doesn’t mean having less fun!

Key Watch-Outs for Senior Strollers!

As dogs get older, changes may start to be noticeable in their behaviour such as:

  • Spending more time resting or sleeping;

  • Seeming stiffer or wobblier on their legs;

  • Difficulty jumping up onto the sofa or into the car, for example;

  • Slowing down on walks;

  • Panting heavily with less exercise;

  • Stiffness on rising;

  • Not hearing or seeing so well.

First and foremost, liaise with your vet if you observe any of these signs which could be indicative of underlying medical issues and not just symptoms of aging. They will be able to discuss treatments to help manage any physical problem, joint pain or stiffness.

Arthritis Behaviour and Training Dog Exercise Exercise for older dogs Health Joint pain Older dog Older dog walks Senior Sniffari Stiff Stiff joints Stiffness Walking

← Older Post Newer Post →

MyDogDoc Online Dog Care Advice

First Aid – General Advice

Lets Chat Cushing’s Disease

Looking for more expert advice?

Why not download to MyDogDoc app for more expert content and to speak to our professional vet staff

Download the free app now:

App Store | Google Play

Custom HTML

Add your custom HTML here.