Just like us as pets age, they can become less mobile and suffer from joint issues like arthritis.
Joint problems are a common complaint from pet owners as their dogs age. Joint function can deteriorate with age which can have a huge impact on your dog’s quality of life.
Exercising your senior dog
There can be noticeable changes as your pet ages and physical changes and signs of mobility loss can become more apparent as they get older. Senior pets may slow down or need more rest than their younger counterparts.
Common signs include:
- Slow to stand or stiffness as they stand after rest or sleeping
- Lagging behind on walks, reluctance to exercise
- Unwillingness to jump on furniture or into the car
- Slow or refusing to go up or down stairs
- Interacting less with family
- Struggle to bend down to their food or water bowl
- They may sleep or rest in easier to reach places
Regular and gentle exercise is important for senior dogs to help maintain their mobility and quality of life. Be sure to go at their pace and stop if they need to rest.
Be sure to take it slow and keep at your dog’s pace. Don’t push them too far or hard, stop and rest if they are struggling.
You can teach an old dog new tricks. Training not only keeps your pet active physically; it also helps to support their cognitive function.
Swimming is good for senior dogs as the water buoyancy supports their body weight and puts less strain on their joints.
Your dog can still enjoy a game of fetch if they feel up to it. Be careful not to over-exert your senior dog. Despite their age, some dogs never lose their fun-loving puppy nature.
Tips to help your senior dog’s joint health
To help your senior pet’s mobility and support their joints, there are some positive things you can do, which include:
This will help to keep your senior dog active and help their muscles and joints. Think little and often as joints get stiffer when they are not used as much. 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 and stretch their legs. Keep the route short in case your dog gets tired and needs rest.
These can be great around the home or for in the car. They can be used to help your dog get onto furniture or into the car without having to jump up, which can add pressure to their joints.
Soft floor coverings
Ley rugs on hard wood floors or use non-slip treats on hardwood stairs. You don’t need to replace all your floors but ensuring some areas in your home less slippery can make it easier for your old dog to get around.
Keep an eye on your dog’s weight and try to ensure they maintain a healthy weight. As they get older and stop moving around as much, your dog may gain some excess weight. This can add pressure to weight bearing joints and cause a reduction in mobility. Speak to your vet who will be able to offer the best course of action if you’re worried about your pet’s weight.
If your dog struggles to bend down, raise their food and water bowl to help with easier access.
Provide your dog with a warm and comfy bed. Be sure to give them plenty of bedding to pad around their joints. If their bed is usually on a tiled floor, move it to a room that is carpeted and away from any drafts.
If the weather is too hot or cold outside, indoor exercises can benefit your senior dog. Puzzle toys and indoor games are a great way to keep your old dog happy and active and enjoy some quality time together.
Giving your senior dog a daily joint supplement can help to maintain their mobility and flexibility. Key natural ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin and Boswellia extract can help to maintain your pet’s quality of life by maintaining optimum joint health.
Speak to your vet
Regular check-ups with your vet can help to monitor your dog’s joint health. Always check with your vet before starting a new exercise routine with your pet. They are best placed to monitor your dog’s health.