Dogs age at a faster rate than we do, but no matter their age they need to keep moving. Just like us, it is even more important to stay mobile as they age. It has physical and emotional benefits.
Naps are amazing and necessary, but you may have noticed that Fido is napping more. Dogs are considered a senior at age 7, which is roughly 56 in human years. Many older dogs suffer from arthritis and other diseases that may make it difficult or painful to move.
Follow these tips to help encourage your dog to move more.
Walk But Stop To “Smell The Roses”
Walking is good for the joints and blood circulation. Slow down the pace so that senior Fido can enjoy sniffing and strolling along. There is no need to rush. Remember sniffing is like reading the newspaper for dogs. In addition, you can shorten the distance. At first, you might need to praise or bribe your dog to go for a walk.
Watch what the temperature is outside, as older dogs are bothered by extreme heat or cold. Walk Fido on a sturdy surface, so there is minimal chance of falling. Eventually, Fido will figure out the routine and look forward to your daily strolls.
Aim For A Healthy Weight
It is important to keep your dog at a healthy weight to help him want to move around. If a dog is overweight, it puts a lot of stress on joints, that may also be arthritic. The added weight makes it even harder to move, so be sure not to overfeed Fido.
Make Moving Around The House Easier
Fido may have once been able to jump up on your bed and do zoomies on the hardwood floor. However, now that he is in his golden years he may need pet stairs or a ramp. Rugs or runners are also helpful if you have slippery floors. Fido will be more encouraged to walk around if he is not sliding and falling on the floor.
Block Off Dangerous Areas Inside
Unfortunately sight and hearing start to go as a dog ages. Fido may not see the stairs and tumble down them. Even if you try to call for him to stop, he may not hear you. To prevent any falls, invest in some baby gates that you can put up at the top of the stairs, or other danger zones.
Memory foam or orthopedic beds are ideal for your aging companion. After a nice walk, a soft supportive bed is necessary. It relieves pressure on the joints and means a deeper sleep for Fido.
A Gentle Massage
Nothing feels better than a gentle massage on aching muscles. You can gently massage your dogs legs and back to help him relax. Don’t forget to rub the belly.
If walking is too painful and you have access to a pool or body of water, Fido can go swimming! Swimming is great exercise for animals that have arthritis. In the water all the weight is taken off the joints, giving instant relief. Simply attach a dog lifejacket and watch Fido paddle away.
With an itinerary of fun activities for your senior, you can add supplements to help with the aching joints. Products that contain omega fatty acids and glucosamine can help relieve the inflammation in the joints. Be cautious to not overexert Fido and give him breaks to recuperate. The golden years can be fun, just at a slower pace.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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