Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by ellen
Looking for tips for walking senior dogs? Learn more about how much exercise an old dog needs and how long to walk your dog.
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Tips for Walking Senior Dogs
As part of my pet sitting business, I often need to walk older dogs while their owners are on vacation. And, because they are older, they have special needs.
As a dog gets older, they won’t move as quickly as they did when they were younger. But, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need exercise. It’s still important that your senior dog moves regularly. But, they won’t have the same abilities they did when they were younger.
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As your pup gets older, they will experience more stress on their joints and bones. This may be a result of weight gain or of arthritis or other structural problems. But, staying active is a necessary part of any senior dog’s day.
Exercise can help your pup keep their weight down. And, it’s a great way to increase blood flow which may help improve arthritis.
Make sure you bring along these dog walking supplies.
Watch the weather
One of the best tips for walking senior dogs I have is to keep your eyes on the weather. As the temperatures drop, cold may bother them more than it did when they were younger. And, ice and snow may be a lot harder for them to navigate.
If it’s rainy out, your dog may become chilled more easily. And, if it’s humid or very hot, they may have less energy. When walking senior dogs, make sure that they stay warm and hydrated.
Your older dog probably won’t have the same stamina they did when they were younger. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not important for them to go outside and exercise.
They need to have gentle movement to keep their joints in good shape and to stay healthy. But, they don’t need to burn off energy like they did when they were puppies. Walking senior dogs is more for agility than energy.
Allow them to take shorter walks with a rest period in between. This will help them stay active without becoming too tired. Remember, they may need more bathroom breaks during the day as they get older as well.
Bring extra water
Older dogs need to take more frequent breaks when they are outside. And, it’s important that you have plenty of fresh water for them when you rest.
Using one of these collapsible bowls makes giving your dog water easy. Just pour it from your water bottle into their bowl.
Here are 5 more things you should bring on a dog walk.
Walking senior dogs outside
It will be easier for your pet to walk if the surface is flat. You don’t want to stress their hips and joints any more than necessary when walking senior dogs.
Look for areas where there are short grass and dirt which are easier on their feet than pavement and concrete. If you do need to walk them on concrete, you might want to consider putting on booties to soften the impact.
Or, you can go for a walk indoors instead. Look for places that allow you to bring your pet. Stores like Petco and Petsmart often allow pets to come in on a leash.
Watch for cues
When it comes to walking senior dogs, pay attention to how your pet is acting. If it seems like they are struggling, you have walked for too long.
You don’t want them to be limping or favoring one foot more than the other. It’s essential that these be low impact ways for them to move rather than marathon exercise events.
Ellen runs a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont. She has experience with a variety of small animals, dogs and cats. She has also cared for ducks, chickens and rabbits. Combined, she has over 20 years of experience in pet care and pet sitting.