With their calm and mellow nature, senior dogs make great companions. However, this also means that they may not be able to indulge in the same kind of activities they did when they were younger. Here are some activities to do with your older dog that will keep him or her physically and mentally stimulated.
Caution: Choosing activities to do with your older dog
Remember to take your dog’s preferences and health conditions into consideration. Senior dogs may suffer from many age-related conditions such as loss of sight and hearing, fatigue, dietary issues, muscle and bone problems etc. So choose accordingly.
1. Make walks interesting
Walking is a good, low impact exercise for senior dogs. To make it both physically and mentally rewarding, pick routes with interesting sights and smells along the way.
Change your route every now and then for variety. If your dog up for it, go on hikes with mild to moderate terrain.
The pace and length of the walks can be moderated depending on your dog’s health and ability.
2. Encourage safe swimming
Swimming can be a good activity for senior dogs who enjoy playing in water. However, do check with your vet if your dog is okay to swim as it is not recommended for dogs recovering from certain conditions.
You can take your senior dog swimming to nearby lakes, ponds, doggie pools or set up your very own inflatable pool.
Monitor your dog during the swim to ensure that he or she does not get exhausted. For safety, pick shallow depths, make your dog wear a life jacket and have portable steps or a ladder to help your dog get out of water easily.
3. Seek company
Getting to see new humans and dogs can be enjoyable for your senior pet. Find a dog park in your city to let your senior dog socialize.
Be mindful of your dog’s preferences — some senior dogs like the company of younger dogs, whereas some might prefer to observe from a distance. Don’t force your dog into any interactions that he or she doesn’t enjoy.
You can also set play-dates with other pet parents who have dogs of a similar temperament.
4. Plan a road trip
Wondering how to entertain your old dog if he or she has trouble walking? Plan drives during the cooler parts of the day, such as morning or evening hours.
Ideally, choose a route where your dog can get some fresh air. Remember to check on your dog’s comfort levels for the road trip and stop regularly for bathroom breaks.
5. Give a nice massage
If you’re thinking of quiet and relaxing activities to do with your older dog, consider massages.
Just like humans, dogs develop pain in the joints as they get older. Not just that, your dog may also be suffering from stress and anxiety. In these cases, some calming music and a soothing massage session can make your dog’s day! Plus, its a great way to spend time with your dog and bond.
6. Get the right senior dog toys
Senior dogs may still enjoy playing, but you’ll need to introduce gentle, indoor games that allow interaction.
What toys top the list on how to entertain your senior dog? Balls that bounce lightly, soft chew ropes, plush toys etc. Puzzles that dispense treats at the end are great senior dog toys too.
In case you can’t buy toys now, create a scent trail and make your dog sniff out treats hidden in the room for an interesting game.
Important tip: Choosing activities to do with your older dog
Smell is a dog’s sharpest sense. It is especially vital when he or she gets older and the other senses start to fade. So pick activities which stimulate your older dog’s sense of smell.
A few modifications to your older dog’s daily routine and lifestyle will ensure that he or she feels stays physically & mentally active. It might add a few years to their lives too!