As dogs age, they often experience decreased mobility and may develop health complications. To combat these issues and promote healthy living, it is essential to incorporate exercise into their daily routine. However, as they age, intense exercise routines can cause more harm than good. This is where low-impact exercises come in handy. Low-impact exercises are gentle on your dog's joints and can improve their overall well-being.
The benefits of low-impact exercises for old dogs:
Reduced risk of injury: As dogs age, their bones and joints become more fragile. Low-impact exercises are gentle and less likely to cause injury.
Helps with weight loss: Older dogs often gain weight due to decreased activity levels. Low-impact exercises such as walking can help them shed excess weight.
Improved stamina and endurance: Regular exercise can improve your dog's cardiovascular health and build stamina and endurance.
Improved joint health: Low-impact exercises such as swimming, can be beneficial for dogs with joint problems, as they put minimal pressure on the joints.
Examples of low-impact exercises for old dogs:
Gentle walks: Taking your furry friend for a walk is an excellent way to get them some exercise while also providing stimulation to their senses. Avoid steep hills or uneven terrain as it could put unnecessary stress on your dog's joints.
Swimming: Swimming is one of the safest and most enjoyable exercises for old dogs. It is easy on their joints and it helps to build their muscles and improve stamina. If your dog is not an experienced swimmer, you should supervise them and consider using a lifejacket. A dog paddling pool is another great idea to get your dog swimming and has the further benefit of keeping your dog cool in the heat of summer.
Hydrotherapy: Can be seen as a controlled swim or controlled exercise using a hydrotherapy pool or an underwater treadmill. It is a great way of improving muscle tone using the buoyancy of the water to reduce the stress on the joints.
Light Play: Although age may mean less energy, a little play can go a long way to keep your dog active. Try tossing a soft ball or playing dog frisbee. You may need to modify playtime for arthritic pets or dogs with low mobility. Arthritis in dogs can make daily exercise more challenging.
Physiotherapy: These exercises can be used to help with muscle tone. You can be taught the exercise to help your pet and perform them at home daily. Physiotherapy can increase your dog's range of movement and can also improve their balance and coordination.
Equipment that can make low-impact exercises more enjoyable:
Comfortable dog harness: A properly fitted, comfortable dog harness can make it easier to walk or jog with your furry friend without putting excessive strain on their joints or back.
Interactive toys: Interactive dog toys like puzzle feeders can offer your dog the stimulation they need to stay engaged if they are less able to exercise. You could play hide and seek with your dog to get them off their dog bed and engage with you.
Joint supplements: A dog joint supplement can help alleviate inflammation and support healthy joint function, making it easier for your dog to stay active and pain-free. A dog supplement is an easy way to help manage your dog's joints.
The most important thing to remember is that every dog's exercise needs are unique, and their ability to engage in certain activities varies. Before starting an exercise routine, consult your veterinarian to determine the best plan for your dog. By incorporating low-impact exercises into your furry friend's daily routine, you can help them maintain a healthy weight, improve their mobility, and promote good physical and mental health.
Looking to give your senior dog extra comfort at home? Check out our recent blog post for helpful tips! There are even some tips targeted at arthritic dogs.