Every dog owner knows that your spunky and active puppy won’t stay as lively forever. Whether you’ve been together since he was still a puppy or if you adopted him as a senior, you’ll have to accept that growing old is a part of life. But look on the bright side, only the lucky ones get to live with their best friends well into their golden years.
Like human beings, the bodies and minds of dogs change when they grow older. They may start having health issues like arthritis, residual blindness, and even dementia. But this does not mean your old companion should forget about having a little fun every once in a while. Exercise for dogs remains necessary no matter how old they are, so it pays to let them freely move around once in a while. His puppy years may be far behind him, but he’ll still need activities to stimulate his mental health and keep his golden years, well, golden!
They are not as fit as they used to be to climb mountains or run agility courses, but there are a lot of senior dog activities out there that will help keep your dog stimulated. We listed some below.
Senior Dog Activities to Keep Your Canine Young at Heart
Physically demanding games may no longer be appropriate for older dogs because their joints tend to weaken as they age. But there are other activities that suit their physical condition, such as hide-and-seek. You may even kick things up a notch by hiding their favorite toy and having them “hunt” for it. However you choose to bend the rules, always make sure to reward each achievement with a treat and affection.
Of course, you need to be patient when it comes to scavenger hunts or hide-and-seek. Most old dogs have difficulty hearing and seeing, and they’ll rely mostly on their sense of smell to search for the hidden object. To keep things interesting, you may hide the item where the dog can easily find it first, then gradually make your hiding spots trickier! You’ll be amazed at how eager your senior dog is throughout these kinds of senior dog activities.
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The main focus of hide-and-seek games is nose work. Whoever said you can never teach an old dog new tricks must have never owned a dog himself, because dogs of all ages are eager to learn. Nose work activities are probably the best way to teach a dog something new because this is one body function that won’t dwindle down even as they age.
Fun and interactive toys for seniors dogs
You might find that senior dogs aren’t too keen on toys like puppies are, this is why you need to work on ways to help pique their interest. One effective way of doing so is to sneak in some food to provide a little incentive while he plays. Kong is one of the most durable pet brands out there. If your dog hasn’t played with these toys before, start by showing it off in an excited way. You may even increase the challenge by freezing the toy first. A frozen Kong stimulates your dog’s mind by allowing them to work out ways to get the treat.
Don’t have a Kong? Don’t worry, there are other similar brands out there such as The Mike and Leo toys by Canine Genius and The Buster Cube, which features two difficulty settings perfect for your old boy.
As stated above, it’s still not too late to teach your old dog new tricks. Pull out a bag of your canine’s favorite toys and start working on new commands or a bunch of old tricks that may need a bit of refreshing. Think about the last time you worked on the sit-stay commands with your dog (that may have been years ago)! It doesn’t matter if he’s learning a new trick or refreshing on some old ones, training and other senior dog activities is always interesting and fun for both you and your dog. Remember to always reinforce good behavior with rewards especially since your pet gone through so much, they truly deserve it!