This can be a challenging question to answer because it often depends on any health or mobility issues that your senior pet is experiencing. We covered this on this Senior Pet podcast episode but I can definitely outline a few suggested guidelines. For purposes of this blog, we will break your pet into two categories: healthy and not healthy.
The first category is relatively easy. If your senior pet is healthy, then there really aren’t a ton of limitations beyond what your pet is comfortable with doing. As we age, exercise can be more difficult for the body. Along with that, added issues with senior pets like laryngeal paralysis, can make exercising more dangerous. So, take it slow and don’t do anything too strenuous. I would argue that it is best to exercise in the morning or in the late evening when it isn’t hot and humid. And ultimately, pay attention to your dog and how they are reacting to the exercise. If you feel like they are struggling to keep up then it’s best to stop…remember they are seniors now and may not be able to go at the activity with the intensity and for as long of distance or time as they used to.
Now, if your dog has arthritis or other issues then I would recommend low-impact, easy exercises. We don’t want to unintentionally hurt our pets. Some examples of easy exercises for senior pets include short walks on level ground, swimming, physical rehab, etc. If you are lucky enough to have a veterinary rehab clinic in your area then you might consult with them and ask for a set of exercises that helps strengthen the area that your senior pet needs the most.
Above all, keep your furry family member active and healthy!