GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY
PART 2; EXERCISE
As dogs age they lose muscle strength, condition and cardiovascular fitness subsides as they become slower and less active. A large number suffer with Osteoarthritis, commonly in the loading joints of the metacarpals, elbows, stifles, hips, and spine. The best way of managing an elderly dog is to exercise within their comfort levels, make the exercise functional and interesting and review their frequency as they may well do better with 2-3 shorter walks than 1 longer one.
The prime reason for dogs to exercise is to sniff and take in the environment, so allow the time for this.
Keep the exercise regular ie similar every day, no weekend warriors!
Keep it low impact and controlled
Make a small functional exercise area so they still use their muscles correctly and you can encourage comfortable range of movement. This can be a low ‘ladder’, wide poles for them to move between to transfer their weight and increase mobility.
You could walk them on softer ground rather than hard tarmac or gravel areas with increases impact and may concuss their joints.
Assorted textures such as long grass and sand can increase their proprioception and encourage them to step higher and strengthen muscles.
Hide toys and treats for them to hunt for as a low impact option which still engages the brain