Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Don’t be fooled – older dogs can still romp and play like puppies; proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Don’t feel that you have to give up exercising your older dog or stop playing games together because of your dog’s age. A program of regular exercise will keep your older dog fit and healthy. Here are four great ways to exercise your older dog.

Take short walks together
Walking is always a good choice for exercise, for both you and your dog. Even arthritic dogs can usually walk for a fairly long distance. Be aware of how far you do walk so you don’t overtire your dog on the way back home. If there are grassy areas nearby, let your dog walk on uneven grassy stretches which provide a lower-impact walk and can help improve your dog’s balance. If your dog begins to limp or show signs of being in pain, stop and rest. Don”t force your dog to walk if it’s in obvious pain.

For dogs suffering from paralysis or severe hip dysplasia, a dog cart can restore some mobility. Properly fitted, many dogs are able to continue their daily walks with the help of these carts. There are many styles of carts to fit all sizes of dogs and they can be ordered online from several retailers. If your dog suffers from severe hip dysplasia or arthritis and requires the aid of a cart, a good place to buy a relatively inexpensive, sport utility dog cart for medium to large sized dogs is online from Dwanecart.com . The DwaneCart is designed like a Roman chariot, transferring a small portion of the overall weight onto the dog”s front legs. Their carts can be customized beyond the normal size at no extra charge.

Play Tug-O-War
A game of Tug-O-War is not recommended for young or aggressive dogs, but in a gentle, older dog, the game can instill confidence and strengthen your dog’s teeth, gums and jaw. Protect your dog’s teeth by not yanking or tugging on the rope with a lot of force. Look for a dental-friendly rope toy at a pet supply store like Petco or Petsmart.

Swimming Lessens Pressure On The Joints
If your dog takes to the water like a Golden or Labrador Retriever does, swimming can be very helpful in lessening the pain of arthritis and hip dysplasia. Water reduces painful pressure on the joints and allows freedom of movement impossible on hard surfaces. If your dog is not used to swimming, try easing it into a shallow area of a lake or pond. This is more desirable than a swimming pool because the slippery surface of pools can frighten some dogs. It’s even better if you can go in the water with your dog. Most dogs can swim except for some chest-heavy dogs like Dobermans who may not be able to swim safely.

Give Your Older Dog Something To Retrieve
Fetching does not have to involve long distances or fast running. You can gently roll a ball to an older dog and the game can be played outdoors or indoors. Be sure to use a ball large enough to prevent choking. In dogs the size of a Golden or Labrador, a tennis ball might be too small and you’ll need to find the right size at a pet supply store.