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Good exercises for your senior dog

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

funny cartoon dog exercises senior dog yoga

'Use it, or lose it"" so the saying goes, and this applies to dogs as well as people.

That's why regular exercise becomes more important with each passing year, especially for senior dogs.

Swimming, leash walks and gentle games of fetch are all wonderful ways to maintain fitness.

If you just adopted a senior dog (YaaaY !!), contact your vet to discuss their exercise regime.

Your vet will be able to check your dog's vitals, weight, range of motion and asses their overall health.

Senior dogs are more likely to have health conditions or other problems that might limit how much they can exercise. They tend to slow down a little or rest more, but it's still important to keep them active so they stay healthy.

As dogs age, they may develop age or breed related health problems which stop them from doing certain activities or affect their day to day lives. These can include:

Arthritis, joint and mobility problems

Loss of sight


Heart problems

Dog dementia

If you notice your dog having any problems with getting around or they don’t seem to enjoy the idea of exercise anymore, contact your vet

There are a few tips to follow that will apply to almost all senior dogs:

* Keep exercise regular and gentle. This will keep your senior dog active and help their muscles and joints. Little and often is best as joints get stiffer when they've not been used for a bit.

Don't stop walking. Your dog might not be able to go on longer walks anymore but they still need the opportunity to get outdoors every day to sniff, stretch their legs and get some fresh air. Make sure you keep to a fairly short route in case your dog gets tired.

Try to keep to familiar routes and places if your dog has problems with their senses. As dogs get older, much like people they can start to lose their sight and hearing. Keeping to somewhere familiar to them will stop them becoming anxious and confused.

Be aware of your surroundings. If your dog’s sight or hearing is getting worse, sudden movements (such as cyclists coming from apparently nowhere) can take them by surprise and be quite stressful.

Go at your dog's pace. Don't rush them or try to make them exercise for longer than they are able to. If they stop chasing a toy or lie down on a walk, they need to rest.

Indoor exercises will benefit your senior dog. Puzzle toys and indoor games are a great way to keep your old dog happy and enjoy quality time together.

Here are some other exercises

* Swimming – if your dog enjoys being in water, swimming can be a great exercise as it doesn’t put as much strain on sore joints. Remember to dry them off as soon as they come out of any water so they don’t get cold and only let them swim if it’s safe to do so.

* Scent games – as long as they have a good sense of smell, dogs will benefit from scent games regardless of age. It’s a great way to keep not only their body but also their brain in good condition.

* Playing – although their pace might have slowed down your dog can still enjoy playing. Some dogs never seem to lose their fun-loving puppy nature and will still love to play with you. You can still play their favourite game, even when they get older. Try to keep games low and a little gentler so they don’t try to jump or twist for toys.

* Socialising – dogs are social pets. They might not be able to keep up with younger dogs as well and often get frustrated with puppy antics, but they’ll still enjoy seeing and hanging out with dogs their own age that they get on with even if they don’t end up playing.

* Training – old dogs can still learn new tricks. Training is a great way to keep an older mind active. They’ll enjoy the extra opportunities to get their brain working.

Pay attention to the weather as they are much more sensitive to heat and cold than younger pups.

Dress your dog appropriately for the weather.. Yes, a tutu is still on the list ;)

If your mom or dad loves yoga, why not try Doga with your senior pet ?

If your dog isn't exactly cooperating, don't worry about it.. As in more traditional yoga practice, as long as you come to the mat with an open mind and a sense of humor, you'll receive some benefits ;)

But most important of all, enjoy these moments together, as time is flying by..


a dog mom

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