Spring is officially around the corner, and for dog owners, that means more time spent outdoors and hopefully being more active. For those who have a senior dog, the level of activity may have dropped since their younger years, but that doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t love getting outdoors, or being active inside with you. So, with that said, here are five tips that can help keep your senior dog healthy and active all spring and summer long.
Allow Your Dog to Set the Pace of Activity
While you may assume that it’s best to just let your dog nap and rest all day since they are moving a little slower as a senior, this is the exact opposite approach you want to take. Making sure they stay physically active will help to keep joints loose and limber. It also helps to keep their body weight at a healthy level, is a wonderful bonding activity, and the physical activity is great for their mental health.
So, what can you do if your senior dog is just moving at a much slower pace? The simple answer is that you let them dictate the pace of the activity. If they don’t want to go hard when playing and going for walks, don’t force it. Just the fact that they are moving around is fantastic. From there, you can let them set the pace so that they don’t over-do it.
If you are going for long walks in the summer, be sure you not only go at their pace, but that you also give them breaks, and that you bring a supply of fresh water to keep them well hydrated.
Stay on Top of Vet Visits
Of course, it’s also important to stay on top of regular vet visits for your senior dog, even if they appear to be quite healthy and active. It’s always wise to take your dog for a yearly check-up, as the vet may be able to spot potential issues and address them before they become a bigger problem. It also ensures that you’re on top of all the necessary vaccinations that keep your dog safe and healthy.
When visiting the vet, it’s a good time to ask any questions you may have. You can also have your dog weighed to ensure they are a healthy weight, get their nails trimmed, have their teeth and gums looked at, and even check the quality of their coat/fur as this can tell a lot about a dog’s health.
Ensure Your Dog Maintains a Healthy Weight
When it comes to the best things you can do for the health of your senior dog, most vets are in agreement that maintaining a healthy body weight is essential. Even a little bit of extra weight can really affect their health as they age as it puts extra stress on their joints and muscles. It can also cause arthritis to flare up, as well as lead to breathing problems, heart conditions, skin issues, benign fatty tumours, and of course, it can negatively affect their quality of life. All in all, it’s best to maintain a healthy body weight.
One of the best ways to keep them at that ideal weight is to feed them a good quality food, ensure you aren’t over-feeding them, and skip the treats throughout the day. These steps alone can have a massive impact.
Consider Giving Your Dog Joint Supplements
If you’ve been noticing that your dog is moving around a little slower, perhaps feeling a bit of pain and stiffness in the joints, then it could be worth looking into joint supplements. Joint care for dogs can enable them to feel better overall, which means they will likely be much more active. You can easily find joint tablets for dogs, including those specifically meant for senior dogs such as yours.
One company that specialises in joint care for dogs is YuMove, which features a selection of supplements. Their Essential Joint Support Plus+ is meant for older dogs that are experiencing that stiffness in their joints that is all too common. This supplement can help with easing that stiffness and help to increase their overall mobility.
Introduce Newness into the Mix
Sometimes, it may not be physical limitations that are holding your senior dog back – it may be sheer boredom. The whole ‘been there, done that’ mentality could be sinking in. A great way to combat this issue is to take them to new places they can explore, buy them some new and different toys to have fun with, and even get out and meet other dogs. This could be all it takes to give them their pep back.
By following these tips, you’ll be ensuring that your dog stays healthy and active for the coming spring and summer seasons.