Whether they act upon it or not, few people would deny the importance exercise plays in health and longevity. This human truth holds true for dogs and cats, too, including during their golden years. Just because your furry friend is getting up in age is no reason to stop exercising him. In fact, appropriate exercise is a key part to keeping your senior pet happy, healthy and mobile.
Just like their people, as pets age their bodies change. Senses like sight and hearing may get weaker, joints may stiffen and ache and energy levels decrease. These types of changes, individually or collectively, may lower your pet pal’s enthusiasm for physical activity. But throwing in the towel is not the answer. That could actually be the worst thing for your pet. Instead, simply modify your routine.
One of the best ways to exercise a senior pet is with the tried and true walk. Just keep some things in mind to ensure your furry friend’s comfort and well-being. Keep your route familiar; older pets take comfort in knowing their surroundings. Go at a pace that is easy for him to keep up with and at a time of day when the temperature isn’t extreme. On chilly days, consider a sweater or jacket for him to prevent chilled, achy bones. If he likes to take breaks to stop and sniff, let him. When you notice he’s getting tired, head home.
If your pet pal likes to swim, it can be a great source of exercise as it’s easy on the joints. Just avoid extreme water temperatures, make sure he doesn’t have to struggle to get in or out of the water, and don’t let him overdo and exhaust himself. Dry him well afterward to avoid chills.
Plain, simple indoor activities like tug-of-war and fetch can be enjoyable, too, especially if it’s too hot or cold to be outdoors. Just keep the activity at a level your pet can enjoy without becoming winded.
Staying physically active is important for people and pets. We’d be happy to evaluate your senior pet to determine some exercise options that are both comfortable and beneficial.