It is inevitable that your dog is going to slow down as they get older, but this doesn’t mean that they can no longer enjoy themselves. As a senior dog owner, you will be fully aware of the amazing ability dogs have at sleeping for the majority of the day! They seem to enjoy doing nothing but sleep. However, for the portion of the day that they are active and wanting attention from you, you can be helping them to feel young again. Here are some of the best ways to do this.
Give them chance to exercise
Exercise is extremely important for dogs of any age and breed. You may not be able to take your dog for long hikes anymore, but gentle exercise every day can do wonders for your dog’s physical and mental wellbeing. It will help to keep your senior dog’s joints limber, muscles strong, improve blood flow and even reduce any pain from mobility issues they may have. It is important to carefully monitor how your dog is coping with their walks, and if you think they can manage longer, then consider extending your walk.
A dog is never too old to learn new tricks
Contrary to the popular saying, a dog is actually never too old to learn new tricks. Training is a fantastic way to strengthen a bond between human and dog and it can be very rewarding too. The speed in which your dog will learn the new trick will entirely depend on how you are training them, as well as their character and breed itself. Some breeds, such as a Labrador or German Shepherd, are much quicker at learning than others. A good training session can really help to boost your dog’s confidence as well as doing wonders for their cognitive behaviour. Short sessions and positive reinforcement techniques are a must.
Make sure your dog has a comfy bed
Your dog is going to be spending the majority of their day in their bed, either sleeping or relaxing. Just as us humans, dogs can get uncomfortable very quickly when they are older and this is why it is so important to invest in a good-quality and comfortable bed for them to curl up in. Opt for a bed with lots of padding, as their joints will need it in their later years. We would also recommend trying to find a bed that is washable, with a waterproof lining in case of any accidents. Now more than ever, where you position their bed is also important. Choose a quiet corner in your home where they won’t be disturbed by the hustle and bustle of a busy household.
Spend quality time together
All dogs love to spend quality time with their owners – they are attention seekers and just crave the love we give them. Cuddles on the sofa will always be a dog’s dream, but having you play with them is also very rewarding. Senior dogs are still young at heart and will still very much enjoy playtime. You may not be able to play tug-of-war or fetch anymore, but setting up puzzles, obstacles and anything that requires minimal physical excursion is a great way to bond with your dog and keep them entertained.
As your dog gets older, it’s important to monitor them closely. It is likely that their behaviour and tolerance towards certain things will change. Learn with your dog and grow together.