Elderly dogs need exercise just like young dogs and they still love to be active and play. It is also a good way to manage any weight gain that they might have experienced as they got older, helping to prevent any onset or worsening of arthritis symptoms, a common ailment among older dogs. It’s just important to keep in mind they require a bit more special care to keep them healthy.

If you are wondering how to keep elderly dogs active without injuring them, this article has all of the information you need.

How to Keep Elderly Dogs Active

Take Them for Walks

One of the best forms of exercise for keeping elderly dogs active are walks. Not only are walks enjoyable, but they are relatively low impact on older bones and paws. With elderly dogs, you should avoid long walks or complicated walks. Instead, take shorter 15 to 20 minute walks at a slower pace and give them time to rest if they need it.

Give Them Plenty of Toys

When trying to keep elderly dogs active, you should make sure you’re well-stocked in toys. This helps to keep their body and mind active. Try to keep their toys on a rotation to prevent them from getting bored. This will help them to have something to do when you can’t take them for walks or have cuddles on the couch.

Take Them Exploring

Like walks, taking your dog exploring is a great way to keep elderly dogs active and energetic. They still like to love to explore and discover new things, plus it’s a great way to bond with your dog. You can venture into the woods, head to a new dog park, or explore the grounds of your local high school!

Practice Gentle Play

Even an elderly dog still loves to play with their favorite person. You may have to tone it down and keep playtime more gentle but your dog will love it just the same and enjoy the time spent with you.

What Not to Do When Keeping Elderly Dogs Active

Don’t Exercise Them in the Cold

The cold has a direct effect on old and weary bones and muscles. Just like your grandpa can feel the rain in his knees, your elderly dog can feel the bitter cold in his or her muscles and bones as well. When it gets too cold outside, try to keep bathroom breaks short and encourage them to stay active indoors. You can find all kinds of ways to stay active indoors if you get creative. You can even play fetch in the house if you clear out a long strip of space.

Don’t Exercise for Long Periods of Time

When keeping elderly dogs active, exercise is key to helping them to stay happy and healthy. You want your dog to be energetic and youthful even as they age but you also don’t want to overdo it and push them to be more active than is healthy for them. Exercises should be gentle and be kept short. It is better to exercise your elderly dog multiple times a day for a short amount of time each session than it is to exercise them for hours all at once.

Avoid Roughhousing

You might have been able to safely roughhouse with your favorite pup once, but now that they are older that isn’t a good idea. You can play with your elderly dog, but you should avoid too much roughhousing or aggressive play. Keep it fun but light.

Don’t Overfeed Them

One health risk elderly dogs face is significant weight gain, which can be very hard on their joints and muscles. You want your dog to stay healthy, but you don’t want them to pack on the pounds unnecessarily. This can lead to more age-related health issues along the way and make it too difficult to exercise them.

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