For our beloved senior dogs, gone are the days of sprinting around the park, but in its place emerges a new chapter of care and companionship. It’s essential to adapt our routines to meet their evolving physical and mental requirements.
Slower Strolls Longer Sniffs
Take slower, shorter strolls filled with ample sniffing opportunities. This gentle form of exercise isn’t just about mobility; it’s a fantastic way to keep your aging canine’s brain and body stimulated. Sniffing is a wellness-promoting exercise that provides an outlet for natural behaviours and helps reduce stress levels, promoting an overall sense of calm.
Hide and Seek with Treats
Add a playful twist to your senior dog’s daily routine by scattering treats into the grass along your walk or hide them around the garden, tapping into their wonderful sense of smell. This engaging activity provides a mental workout that combats cognitive decline and keeps their mind active while offering gentle exercise.
Puzzles for Mental Agility
Much like humans, dogs benefit from brain workouts, too. Food puzzles are a fantastic way to stimulate their minds and encourage problem-solving. If your senior dog is new to these puzzles, start with easy ones and gradually introduce more challenging options. Consult your local vet or pet shop for recommendations, as they may offer specialised options like softer rubber Kongs designed for senior dogs.
Playtime: Quality Over Quantity
Bonding time remains a cherished part of your relationship with your senior dog. While they may not possess the same vigour as in their younger years, there are simplified versions of their favourite games that can provide both entertainment and bonding opportunities. Games like fetch, tug, or a gentle game of hide and seek can get them moving, elevate their mood, and strengthen the special connection you share, all within their physical abilities.
Gentle Touch and Pampering
Aging dogs might experience stiffness, arthritis, or heightened sensitivity. Help them relish being handled, brushed, or touched by pairing these interactions with a tasty treat or two. This not only ensures their physical comfort but also strengthens the trust and affection between you and your furry friend.
Seek Expert Advice
Remember, aging is a unique journey for every dog, and they may experience specific challenges or changes. Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviourist if you have questions or concerns regarding your dog’s physical or mental health as they get older, or if you notice sudden behavioural changes.