Every dog needs activities and exercise, even in their older years, However, your dog likely won’t be able to do the same activities they used to as they grow older. Still, there are activities that senior dogs can do that are safe and not too strenuous. Here are a few activities for senior dogs:
1. Scent Work
Scent work is a great activity for a senior dog. You can customize the activity with lower-energy scent games that still allow your dog to get some mental stimulation. It’s also a great way to work a dog’s olfactory senses and let them really indulge in their need to sniff things.
You can also have your dog enter scent work competitions. This is a fun way for your dog to participate in a sport that is pretty relaxed and low energy.
2. Obedience Training
You might be thinking that your dog is well-trained enough to not need more obedience training. However, dogs can keep working on obedience training no matter what age and many of them enjoy learning new things throughout their lives. You can work on simple commands as you ease back into it and work your way up to more difficult commands.
You can also enter your dog into obedience competitions to show off how well your dog follows commands. In these events, you and your dog will follow a specific routine and be judged on how well you do. Scores are determined by how closely you get to a perfectly performed routine. Behaviors include heeling, retrieving, and staying in a sitting position while in a group with other dogs.
Swimming is an excellent activity for a senior dog and a great dog-friendly summer activity. Swimming is a low-impact activity and gentle on the joints. This allows your dog to get some quality exercise without the soreness and pain.
This is a great activity for dogs with vision or hearing impairments as there are usually few obstacles for them. As always, be sure your dog is comfortable in the water and use a life jacket if necessary. This is helpful for dogs who may tire out easily and is an important safety tip for swimming with your dog.
Depending on the temperature of the water, this also might be a great therapeutic treatment for dogs with joint and muscle pain. Your dog might be able to enjoy canine hydrotherapy benefits, and of course, you can enjoy the water with your pooch!
4. Puzzle Toys
Puzzle toys are another low-energy game that is a fun and challenging game for your dog. There are plenty of versions and a variety of puzzle toys available. There are easy puzzle toys and others that are a bit more complex. Choose the one that you think your dog would enjoy the most. If a toy’s too hard, your dog might lose interest and give up. If it’s too easy, they won’t get the benefits of the mental stimulation.
To play, simply fill the toy with your dog’s favorite treat or food and let them solve the puzzle to get the treat. If you’re worried about your dog eating too much, use training treats instead or substitute them with some of the best fruits and veggies for dogs. This way, they’ll still get a reward but won’t get too full.
Fetch is one of the most common outdoor games that dogs enjoy. The great thing about fetch is that it can be as intense and active as your dog wants, or low-key and easy for older dogs.
If you’re playing fetch with an older dog, try throwing their ball at a shorter distance to cut back on running. Throw the ball at a lower height or even roll the ball if necessary. Your dog will still get some exercise, but it won’t overexert or injure them.
These are just a few activities for senior dogs. Exercise at any age is important but keeping your dog safe is a priority. Find out what your dog enjoys the most and have fun together! Plus, making sure your dog gets enough exercise during the day can help keep your dog from barking at night.