Is your canine pal starting to slow down a bit? Fido will always be a puppy at heart, but he will experience some changes as he ages, just as we will. While your pet may not be as energetic and playful as he was during his puppyhood, he’ll still both enjoy and benefit from regular play sessions. In this article, a Greater Cincinnati vet offers some tips on playing with a senior dog.
Choose a flat area, preferably one with soft carpet or grass. This will help your furry buddy get good traction, and also cushion his fall if he does slip. Don’t play with Fido in areas with potential hazards, such as fireplaces, stairs, or pools.
Young dogs can spend hours running around and bounding after their favorite toys, but a senior pooch may be exhausted after just a few minutes. Keep in mind that Fido might push himself harder if he thinks it will please you. Pay close attention to him, and watch for signs that he is getting tired. If you know or suspect that the pup is pooped, end the session and let your furry friend take a nap.
Look for toys that are specifically designed for senior dogs. These may light up, or be softer on your four-legged friend’s mouth. Puzzle toys, such as treat-dispensing toys, are also suitable. Fido will definitely never outgrow his love of snacks!
Don’t encourage your furry bff to jump or ‘stand’ on his back legs. This is hard on Fido’s hips, and can really exacerbate issues such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.
You’ll want to start focusing on games that challenge Fido’s mind more than his body. The Three Cups game is a good one. You can make this dog-friendly by putting a treat beneath one cup and then switching them around. Have your canine companion guess which cup is hiding his snack. Hide And Seek is another suitable option.
Dogs tend to thrive on set, steady schedules. Try to make it a daily habit to play with your canine buddy every day. Even a few minutes a day will be good for Fido. There are few things cuter than senior dogs happily wagging their tails!
Please reach out if ever we can be of assistance. As your local Greater Cincinnati animal clinic, we are here to help!