Dogs are loyal companions that bring joy into the lives of their owners. From infancy to old age, our furry friends help their owners get more out of life and often contribute to helping them live an active, healthy lifestyle.
But as dogs and their owners age, they may be more susceptible to mental and physical pains. To alleviate them, looking for ways to continue enjoying each other’s company while positively impacting their mental wellness is essential.
That’s why stimulating outdoor activities can benefit you both.
Here are some things you should consider as older age starts to creep up on both of you.
Prioritizing your furry friend’s mental wellness
While aging is inevitable in humans and animals, prioritizing mental wellness in your later years for both is essential.
The risk of developing anxiety among older adults is increasing, showcasing the importance of taking your mental health seriously during these years.
Although there are many ways to enrich your mental health, stimulating outdoor activities are a great option as they target your physical health and benefit you mentally.
In addition, owning a pet has been shown to help significantly reduce these conditions due to additional social support and companionship. They may also naturally expose you to various physical activities that benefit you both.
Spend more time outdoors
Most physical activities that benefit you and your pets involve the outdoors.
In addition to providing a space for you and your pet to bond over physical activity, you’ll also be exposed to nature, which has been proven to boost your mood.
There are also a variety of outdoor activities to choose from:
A brisk hike through nature is the perfect shared activity for an aging dog owner and their faithful canine companion. As you both embark on the scenic trail, leaving the stresses of everyday life behind, you can bond over the fresh air and scenery.
However, choosing a path suitable for you and your pup’s current fitness and stamina is essential. Be sure to bring ample provisions to keep you both hydrated and energized and basic medical supplies to tend to any unforeseen situations.
Swimming offers an ideal solution for aging dog owners seeking a gentle yet rewarding form of exercise. The low-impact nature of swimming reduces stress on joints while providing both dogs and owners an outlet to stay active and beat the heat.
Whether enjoying a refreshing dip in a nearby body of water or the convenience of a backyard pool, swimming allows dogs to stretch their legs, cool off, and bond with their owners through a fun shared experience that benefits both physical and mental well-being.
A leisurely kayaking excursion can be an unexpected yet rewarding bonding experience with your dog. It can provide an opportunity to strengthen your connection while enjoying time out on the water.
However, remember to don lifejackets for both you and your companion, as safety is a priority when playing in the water.
If you like living outdoors, camping is the perfect activity you and your dog can enjoy together. No one loves the outdoors more than your pet, and camping can be a fun activity for you both while helping you escape the stress of everyday life.
Plus, you can do many additional camping activities, like swimming in a lake or hiking through nearby trails.
Hunting may not be for everyone, but for those that like the sport, it can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, and bond with your pet. While not all animals are OK with loud noises from gunshots, for many dogs, hunting instincts are engrained in their DNA.
Most hunting dog breeds love the thrill of a chase and can be trained to be excellent retrievers when hunting small birds. JFollowall hunting and safety regulations when starting this activity with your furry friend.
Ensure safety and comfort
As we age, we must acknowledge our physical limitations and adjust to accommodate them.
The same is true for our senior dogs.
While stimulating outdoor activities can benefit both you and your dog’s wellness, you must also consider your dog’s specific needs and limitations.
Protect your dog from outside elements
As dogs age, their ability to regulate body temperature decreases.
This makes senior dogs more susceptible to discomfort and health issues from extreme heat or cold. It’s also essential to take extra precautions to keep your aging friend safe from other outside elements.
Here are some steps you can take to help keep them safe:
- Provide plenty of fresh, cool water to avoid dehydration on warm days. Bring extra water and a collapsible water bowl on your outings.
- Give your dog flea and tick medication to keep them safe walking through the woods and tall grass.
- Dress your dog in a warm coat, boots, and a sweater or hoodie for colder weather. Watch for signs of hypothermia like shivering, lethargy, and confusion, and bring your dog inside if conditions become dangerous.
- Always keep an eye on them to ensure they aren’t eating any plants that could be toxic to them.
- Apply dog-safe sunscreen to your dog’s nose and ears before going outside on sunny days. Older dogs are more prone to sunburns and skin damage.
- If you notice your dog developing a cough, keep them indoors or visit a vet if the cough persists.
Manage joint pain and inflammation
As dogs age, they commonly develop joint pain and arthritis. One way to help your dog manage these issues and continue enjoying outdoor activities is to provide natural substances like CBD oil to help manage the pain.
CBD oil derived from hemp can help reduce inflammation and ease joint pain in older dogs.
Always choose a high-quality CBD oil formulated specifically for dogs and follow the dosage instructions carefully based on your dog’s weight. Potential benefits of CBD for senior dogs include:
- Reduced joint pain and increased mobility;
- Decreased anxiety and stress;
- Improved appetite and digestion.
Discuss CBD oil with your vet before introducing it to your dog’s routine to ensure it does not interact with any medications and determine a safe dosage and treatment plan.
While CBD can benefit aging dogs, it is not a cure and should be used alongside traditional vet care for the best results in keeping your senior dog comfortable.
Use stimulating outdoor activities to find ways to enjoy life together
As our furry friends age, adjusting their lifestyle and activities is essential.
With the proper precautions providing plenty of water on hot days, dressing them in warm clothes for cold weather, monitoring fitness levels with tech tools, and introducing CBD oil into their routine if necessary — you can keep your senior dog happy and healthy while enjoying outdoor activities together.
By following these steps, you can continue using stimulating outdoor activities and finding ways to enjoy life as a team well into your golden years.
Miles Oliver is a proud dog lover and an outdoor enthusiast. He often writes on his patio with a hot cup of tea and his 4-year-old border collie mix by his feet. When Miles is not working as an independent freelance writer, he is most likely mountain biking and roaming the great outdoors with his four-legged companion.