Can dogs actually still be active in sports in old age?
Sports with older dogs is often a contentious issue. But what actually speaks against the age appropriate and responsibly pursued sports activities? Many four-legged friends who have played sports all their lives often still enjoy sporting activity in old age. At the same time, exercise is also useful in old age and keeps the senior fit and mobile. Good musculature, mobility, body awareness, balance and coordination are also essential for senior dogs. Nevertheless, you see many quadrupeds that have poor musculature and are very wobbly on their feet. This does not have to be.
Sports and targeted exercise can help your dog get and stay fitter again.
If you decide to exercise with your senior dog, the type of exercise, frequency, level of demand and intensity should always be based on your dog’s health. Especially sports like Hoopers Agility, Degility or Mobility are excellent for older four-legged friends and those with diseases of the musculoskeletal system. But I also think obedience or lunging are great for senior dogs. It’s not about performance and speed but mainly about fun, maintaining fitness and mobility.
There are some points you should keep in mind when exercising with older dogs:
Vet – and Physio Check Up
Especially for older dogs, a regular health check up is essential. Cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system should be checked and geriatric blood work is also important. You can also discuss with your vet and physiotherapist which sports are suitable for your dog. At the same time, the dog physiotherapist should see your four-legged friend regularly to keep an eye on the development of the musculoskeletal system.
Bandages – ingenious aids
Bandages are not only used for injuries. They are also great as support for an older dog’s joints during sports, for example. Se stabilize and give your dog security. At the same time, the risk of injury is reduced.
Careful warm up
A good warm up is, of course, essential in dog sports for any dog. Even with a senior dog, you should take the time to do a comprehensive warm up. Since the body takes a little longer to get up to speed as you age, you should extend the warm up a little.
After exercise, an extensive cool down is important to get your dog back into rest mode. Just as your older dog takes a little longer to warm up, it also takes a little longer for his body to return to a state of rest. So take enough time for it.
The right workload – never overtax
How much exercise is good for your dog? You should not overload your dog under any circumstances. Therefore, exercise should end BEFORE your dog shows signs of exhaustion or fatigue. Small well-dosed units not only give him more pleasure, they also protect his health.
Observation – also indispensable for sports with older dogs
During each training session, pay close attention to whether your dog can keep up without any problems. The form of the day plays an increasingly important role in an older dog and exercises that were no problem last time can be difficult the next time. You should then by no means insist on the usual workload or exercise, but take it seriously if you see that certain things are harder for your dog – and adjust the training.
PS: You are interested in the topic “older dog”? – Then I recommend my webinar on the subject:
We can’t prevent it – our dogs get older and physically decline. Often this fact makes us helpless. Because what actually happens in the dog’s body when dogs age? How can we support our four-legged friends, keep them mobile and even delay the aging process! And what can I still expect my dog to do, what is fun for older dogs and how do I deal with the aging of my four-legged friend?
I give you an insight into the biological process of aging and provides a good understanding. At the same time I give you measures how you can actively support and accompany your own dog in the process of aging- incl. Of a little workout for your senior dog.
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