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Playing With An Older Dog
November 1, 2023

Is your canine companion entering—or perhaps already in—his golden years? Fido won’t be as active or playful as he was when he was a puppy, but he still needs exercise and enrichment. Of course, you’ll need to take some extra precautions when playing with a senior pooch. Here, an Emerson, NJ vet discusses playing with a senior dog.

Go Senior-Friendly

Keep Fido’s age in mind when shopping for dog toys. Your furry friend may prefer things that are soft on his mouth. If he is having issues with his vision or hearing, he may want things that light up or make noise. He may also prefer games that challenge him mentally, rather than just physically.

Play In A Safe Area

Slips and falls are a big risk for older dogs, and they are just as dangerous for Fido as they are for people. Choose a spot with good footing. If indoors, opt for a carpeted room. Headed outside? A grassy area is best. Stay away from potential hazards, such as fireplaces, pools, and stairs.

Take Care Not To Overdo It

Older dogs don’t have as much energy as their younger companions. Fido may run out of steam after chasing his ball just a few times. However, he will push himself if he thinks you want him to. That’s why our canine companions are so amazing: they’re extremely loving and loyal. Watch for signs of fatigue. As soon as you notice your pooch getting tired, end playtime and let him recharge with a nap.

Talk To Your Vet

Your pet’s exercise requirements will change over time. Many older dogs should not be urged to jump or stand on their back legs, as this can aggravate hip dysplasia. Other pooches shouldn’t run or swim. This is particularly dangerous for brachycephalic pups, as they lose their breath so quickly. Check in with your vet regularly, and get updated information on Fido’s activity needs.

Choose Suitable Playmates

It can be great fun for Fido to play with his friends. However, older dogs may not be able to keep up with rambunctious puppies. Roughhousing can also be dangerous for them. Only let your canine pal play with gentle dogs, preferably ones that are close to his size.

Keep It Up

Fido will benefit both mentally and physically from regular playtime. Plus, he’s still adorable!  Savor these special moments with your furry friend!

Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your Emerson, NJ animal clinic, today!