When Your Dog's A SeniorEver since she tore her CCL last year, her activity level hasn't been the same. She still loves going on walks, but humidity and hot weather will tend to shorten our walks. Considering I have Gigi who is much younger, this can present a problem in finding the happy medium in walking them both. Still, walking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do for your dog.
Here are some tips for walking your senior dog:
- Give 'em a rubdown. Before walking your dog, it always helps to rub their leg muscles. With Cookie, I gently rub the area that was affected by the injury last year after the walk. It's a good way to notice if your dogs joints are swollen as well.
- Be conscious of the weather. When I take the dogs on the walk, I think as if I were a sunbather. You always hear to avoid the sun between 10AM and 3PM. We get temperatures over 90°F (33°C) especially with summer on the way. When you compound it with the humidity, it can be a huge double whammy for your senior pet. Taking them out early or late gets the best possible results for the necessary exercise.
- Walk in stages. I've found that stopping for a minute or two is a great way to keep your dog going. They just don't have the stamina they used to when they were younger and resting a few minutes will give help them complete their goal.
- Walk them indoors.I've found that walking the dogs at a pet superstore like Petco, Pet Supplies Plus or Petsmart is a great way to get them the exercise they need. It's climate-controlled so temperature and humidity aren't a factor. You also get other dogs' scents and may even run into one for your dog to greet. It's especially useful if you need some pet food too.
- Take them to a dog park. Although this isn't a traditional walk, this is an effective way to make sure your dog has enough exercise. Most dog parks give your dog the freedom to run off-leash, and if they're well-behaved and get along with other dogs, they can pace themselves accordingly. Most of the dog parks where I live require memberships but it's well worth the investment if you have a senior dog.
Let's Discuss!What are some ways you keep your senior dog in shape? What is your biggest challenge in walking them?
Senior Dog WebsitesThe Senior Dog Project
Related PostsThe Benefits of Walking Your Dog Part I
The Benefits of Walking Your Dog Part II
A Day At The Dog Park