While most American households own a pet, the number of households who own a senior dog shrinks exponentially. Even though many families watch as their family dog grows older and eventually passes away, some families find that the investment in senior dogs is too much, ultimately surrendering their dog when things get too expensive or they are no longer able to provide the specialized care their dog would need.
That trend seems to be changing, though! Some reports indicate that the number of dogs and cats over the age of seven in households across the U.S. is on the rise. This is great news for animal shelters everywhere, but for dog owners who live with a senior pet, it can be tough to find ways to keep them active and energetic. However, there are things you can do to keep a senior dog active and healthy for many years! Here are some of the best ways you can encourage your senior dog to stay active in their later years.
Don’t Stop the Walks
A simple walk twice a day might be just what your senior dog needs to stay active. These walks don’t have to be as long as they once were when your dog was just a puppy. Instead, these walks can be a brief yet leisurely pace around the block, or you can take them off site for a walk through the woods or on a trail. Your dog will enjoy spending time in nature, and it keeps them active for a little bit longer than they would be otherwise. A comfortable dog collar and leash set is essential for any senior dog to continue to enjoy their walks outside. Make sure to find a set that fits them well, doesn’t cause an allergic reaction and won’t make a lot of noise to scare them.
Feed Them Energizing Treats
While some dog treats will make your dog feel tired or even make them gain weight, others will encourage good breath and help your dog feel more energized. These treats usually feature a variety of natural ingredients, so you know they’re coming from a good source. It’s important to know what’s going into your dog’s body, just like you want to know what’s going into your body as a human. This can really help your dog appear more active since they’ll be ingesting ingredients that make them feel better and less lethargic.
Bring a Puppy Home
This isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and it’s definitely not something you should jump to right off the bat. Instead, consider this one of your later approaches if your senior dog still doesn’t seem too active. Sometimes what your dog needs is a young puppy to make them feel more active. They’ll want to teach the puppy everything they know or, in some cases, give them a reality check about leaving them alone. Either way, a puppy can make your older dog feel a little bit more youthful, giving them a companion to play with and feeling much more lively.
Regular Dog Grooming For Older Dogs
It’s a good idea to keep up with the regular pet grooming of your senior dog, especially if they are prone to infections. This will prevent your old dog from catching skin infections and parasites that could make them more susceptible to pain, suffering and complications in the future.
If your senior dog needs special care during the grooming process, it’s important to tell your groomer about this before the appointment. This way, she will be able to take the necessary steps to ensure a stress-free and comfortable experience for your dog.
Take Your Dog to the Dog Park
Dogs need other dogs! Take your senior dog to the dog park as a way to help keep them active in their later years. This way, they continue to have interaction with other dogs, keeping their training and socialization skills up to par. Spending time at the dog park is also good for you as the owner because you get the chance to socialize with other dog owners. This will expose your older dog to dogs of younger ages, helping them to feel more youthful. This is especially helpful if you don’t think you have the time, money or energy to bring a puppy home for a full-time commitment.
Instead, a weekly trip to the dog park can be just what your older dog needs to get more active both at the dog park and at home. Give your dog a soft silicone pet tag to wear while out in case they run away, get lost or get spooked and hide from you. If someone finds them, they can easily contact you with your information listed on their pet tag
Bring Home New Toys
As your dog gets older, they’ll need different toys to keep their brain stimulated and engaged. Bringing home new toys can really go a long way in helping them to feel energized, entertained and excited — the three E’s of dog needs! You can help your dog by giving them fun and exciting new toys to play with. Consider bringing home puzzle toys, chew toys to keep their dental hygiene in check and even some toys that involve you so that they can play with you too! Your dog will love getting to explore and play with these new toys, no matter their age — perfect for older dogs who might seem disinterested with the toys they currently have!
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Check In with Their Vet
A dog’s vet is their second best friend — besides you, of course! As your dog gets older, you’ll want to check in with their vet regularly to ensure that your dog is staying healthy and happy. Some dogs can no longer undergo anesthesia as they get older, so they might not be able to get their teeth cleaned as often. That’s why it’s so important to keep their dental hygiene in check with some new dental toys — if they can’t get their teeth brushed professionally by the vet, then they’ll need something to help in the interim!
Give Them Lots of Snuggles
Your senior dog deserves all the snuggles, pets and cuddles they want — they are an old geezer, after all! Your dog has seen and experienced a lot in their old age, and sometimes all they need is a little bit of love to make them still feel wanted and appreciated. This can encourage them to be more active around you — they will feel how much you love them just by your attention.