There are lots of reasons why your dog isn’t quite as active as some of the others you see down at the dog park. Breeding is a big problem for some. Deformed joints and limbs can simply make it too uncomfortable to run and jump as much as other breeds. Size is another issue. The smaller they are, the less distance they can cover, especially when trying to keep up with your long legged stride!
It’s not really a good idea to avoid the dog park altogether as your pet slows down. Instead, consider other ways to enjoy the space. A slow paced stroll can be just as beneficial, and certainly better for them than no exercise at all. Dogs love to socialize with each other, so give your pooch some time to roll around on the grass and hang out with the other canines around.
Arthritis is a huge problem for some breeds. As we age, we tend to have stiffness and aching in the joints. Arthritis is an inflammation in these areas that can be incredibly painful. If your veterinarian has diagnosed this condition, then consider helping your pet out. Try gentle movements rather than prolonged use of the joint. You could use something like a pet gear stroller to reduce the amount of walking they have to do if one of the leg joints is problematic. It helps your pet continue to enjoy their favorite places without having to do all the walking.
A less active canine is likely to need a special diet to avoid becoming overweight. This can be prescribed by your veterinarian, but many pet stores carry similar food products. Extra water might be required, so encourage your pet to drink plenty. Try to avoid treats and snacks. Instead, carry some of their regular portion of dietary food with you as a reward. This helps you to manage portion sizes better too.
Does your dog like swimming? Some breeds naturally love the water. Even if your pooch isn’t sure, this kind of activity is ideal for animals with discomfort in their joints. It can even help to improve mobility. Always supervise your pet in the water from the water so you can help out if necessary. Short distance ball games can be fun in or out of the water. Dogs love fetching, so see if you can still enjoy this game together as your canine ages with a few adaptions.
A less active pooch might struggle with his digestive system a little. And if there are hip problems, getting into the right position can be more of a challenge. This might mean you have to clean their fur up a little more often. Daily baths are usually OK, but if your pet is developing sensitive skin, seek a medicated shampoo for your pooch.
To ease digestive discomfort try some gentle leg movements. Your veterinarian can help to show you how. Dietary adjustments might be necessary too. Remember, a senior dog is just as loving as a puppy, and will continue to be a wonderful pet for life.