Speaking of Pets: Have fun with your older dog with these 4 activities
Speaking of Pets
Just like humans, dogs become senior citizens at different points in their lives.
But geriatric doesn’t have to mean over the hill. While your sugar-faced pup may no longer be able to run marathons or excel at agility games, there are many activities older dogs can still enjoy.
Hide and seek
Cut treats into bite-sized pieces and scatter them around your house, yard or make a winding trail your dog can follow. When your pup finds the treat, celebrate with enthusiastic claps and praise.
You can play fetch with just about anything: a ball, a stick, anything that’s handy. Just make sure not to throw it too far, since you don’t want your dog to run and risk injuries, and keep in mind any mobility restrictions.
A car ride
Most dogs love to ride in the car, even if they’re just sitting there. Be sure to put your dog in the back seat, and preferably secure it with a dog safety-device. Remember that if you take a long ride, you’ll need to stop for potty-breaks — like people, many older dogs’ bladders aren’t what they were when they were younger.
Even older dogs love to go for walks. Unless your dog is accustomed to 2- or 3-mile jaunts — and some older pups are perfectly fine with this distance — you’ll want to keep it shorter. If your pup is accustomed to public places, take him to dog-friendly spots like hardware stores, pet stores or downtowns where he can sniff around and meet people.
Whatever you do, don’t assume that your senior dog needs to be relegated to the couch or dog bed to snooze the day away. Keep your canine senior citizen as active as possible, and you’ll be rewarded with a dog who’s happier and healthier for years longer.
Joan Merriam lives in Northern California with her golden retriever Joey and Maine coon cat Indy. She emphasizes that she’s not a veterinarian or animal behaviorist — just an animal lover who’s been writing about pets since 2012. You can reach her at email@example.com.