In this new post, I am going to be revealing very simple strategies for how to keep your dog healthy.
While these strategies will apply to dogs of all ages, I will be writing with the senior dog in mind. So let’s get started!
It seems that as our dogs age, many of us get a bit lazy about keeping them active. I guess we figure that since we often find them lying in their bed sleeping, they’re happy so we leave them to it.
Trips to the dog park have dwindled, and you can’t remember the last time you taught him to do a trick.
Time to change that right now! They’re older but still here, and if you want to keep them here as long as possible and ensure they remain as healthy as possible, some physical exercise and mental stimulation are the way to accomplish that.
Let’s get cracking and start figuring out how you’re going to keep your older dog active.
Just because your dog can’t run like she used to, doesn’t mean it’s an all or nothing deal.
Don’t tell me she doesn’t get a bit depressed sitting around the house!
Okay, she’s not jogging with you anymore, but she’d probably still like a walk. Just watch your pace! Let her enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors.
She may not be chasing balls anymore, but how about a game of tug?
Did she love to play with her doggie friends, but now she’s in isolation because she’s slowed down? Invite some “calm” dogs over to play, or arrange to meet somewhere.
I bet she misses them!!
If your dog really has a hard time walking, keep it short and sweet. How about taking her swimming? It’s great exercise, easy on the joints, and perfect for a dog with arthritis.
How about a pet stroller? My dog Red can’t walk too far, but we like to include her in walks to the beach with our other dog Jack. We put her in the stroller, take her to the field by the beach, and while Jack is running around like a lunatic we let Red wander as well. She loves walking on grass so she enjoys herself and goes at the pace that’s comfortable for her.
Teach your old dog new tricks
Not only do dogs of all ages need physical exercise, but they also need mental stimulation to try and stave off cognitive decline, not to mention protecting them from depression, and boredom.
Set up mini training sessions, teach her tricks she already knows, and come up with a few new ones.
Surprise her with new toys, but give her only one at a time, make them last.
Try some interactive or puzzle toys – hide treats your dog has to find by moving levers or sliding open little doors.
Buy her a rubber toy and stuff it with some tasty treats, or part of her meal. It will take her longer to eat, and keep her busy figuring out how to get it all out!
I assume you’ve always had a routine for your dog, but if you haven’t, now is the time to start. A predictable schedule will help reduce anxiety and confusion.
Hide healthy treats around the yard, and let her figure out how to find them. It will keep her mentally stimulated, and give her some exercise, at her pace.
You may want to have a look at what you’ve been feeding your dog, and see if you can offer him something more nutritious. If he hasn’t had a check up in a while, it’s time to schedule a visit to see how he’s doing. The results of any tests done will alert you to any potential problems, and how that may impact the types of food he should, and should not be eating.
Regular vet checks
As I just mentioned, regular vet checks (every six months, or more often if needed) should be carried out to monitor your dog’s health. This increases the likelihood of catching something early enough to treat, or at least manage.
During those visits, your vet will also check your dog’s teeth, but if not please make sure he does. Proper oral hygiene is key in helping keep your dog healthy, because left untreated, gum disease and other periodontal issues can cause serious health problems.
How to keep your dog healthy – conclusion
I can’t overemphasise the importance of physical exercise (according to their ability) and mental stimulation for overall wellbeing. Not to mention regular visits to your vet! I hope you enjoyed my simple strategies for how to keep your dog healthy.