Like humans, dogs also experience the stress of aging. Sometimes the changes are quiet and subtle. Occasionally, the changes are drastic and easily visible. For example, do you know how to recognize when your dog is too old for walks? And if that’s the case, do you know how to make accommodations.
As a dog parent, it’s your responsibility to watch for signs of aging and protect your dog against any unnecessary struggles. Knowing how and when to walk your dog as it grows older can help you ease your furry pal’s journey.
Wondering how? Let us guide you.
How to know if your dog is too old to walk?
First, you need to watch for signs your dog faces any problems walking. All dogs age at a different pace, depending on their breed and routine.
So, you can watch for common signs that indicate that your dog is now experiencing old age:
- Trouble jumping and walking on stairs
- Horrible smelling breath
- Cloudy eyes and blurred vision
- Change in weight
- Forgetting housetraining
- Increased vocalization
- House soiling
- Increased anxiety
- Reacting strangely to familiar objects and people
- Changes in the sleep-wake cycle
Once these signs begin to appear, you can no longer shrug them off. You have to tackle your dog’s aging process seriously.
Also, you watch for extreme signs and symptoms of aging, too. If your dog is losing teeth or nails now and then, it might require professional medical attention. Note that we do not deny the effectiveness of home remedies.
Senior dogs with no teeth can do well with homemade soft food or even kibble.
Similarly, following a custom nail-care routine based on your pup’s history might work well for you. But in either case, we advise vet consultation to avoid any severe consequences.
At times, home remedies and traditional measures can have side effects due to serious underlying health issues. Always consult your vet.
Why do old dogs need to walk?
As dogs age, you might witness a reduction in physical activity. They may not play around as enthusiastically and actively as they used to. Instead, you may observe your dog lying around mostly, sleeping off most of its day in its bed.
Reduced mobility means several health damages and deteriorations. For example, inactive dogs are more prone to unhealthy weight gain. Consequently, they can become obese and develop issues like diabetes. Plus, extra weight also means joint soreness and pressure on soft bones. It may result in fractures and immense pain that they may not be able to communicate. Weak and pressured bones may even mean easy injuries. Arthritis can be an even more horrific turn than lack of mobility can take.
Walking is necessary for aging dogs. It does not only keep them fit, but it’s also beneficial for their mental health. Walking stimulates mental activity and encourages dogs to socialize.
Older dogs may be reluctant to walk. But dogs enjoy meeting other dogs and will likely engage with them and even play. But upon meeting more of its kind, it will engage and even play. This, in turn, will mean elevated moods and better health. Walking your dog in its old age will give you wonderful memories to cherish as you spend time together.
Help your dog walk
You know walking is good for your dog’s health. But your aging dog will have trouble understanding this. As age effects take on, it may become lazy. And you’ll find it difficult to drag your old pup out of the house.
So, here are a few ways you can use to convince your dog:
- Make it interesting: Carry your dog’s favorite toy along with you or sneak out of the backdoor instead of the front door. Include a new and intriguing element and watch the magic!
- Ensure it’s medicated: If your dog is injured or is suffering from any illness, ensure that you’ve medicated your dog well at least two hours before the walk.
- Help with anxiety: Dogs that haven’t lived around people or have newly developed fear of strangers will be immensely emotionally pressurized if you push them. So, help them reduce that anxiety by walking in your yard first. Then, try the backyard. Gradually, take your dog to the park when your dog seems comfortable.
- Take new routes: If you walk your dog at the same old park and take the same routes, your dog may get bored. When that happens, your dog may not want to walk. So, when you step out of the house, take your dog in a different direction and watch your furry pal walk happily beside you!
- Hire a dog walker: Similar to walking old routes, a change of company can help old dogs regain interest in walking. So, try using a dog walker to restore your dog’s enthusiasm. Once your dog returns home, incorporate the other techniques to keep your dog’s interest alive. Having a reliable dog walker saves you time and worries about walking your dog on super busy days.
Final thoughts on what to do when your dog is too old to walk
Walking your dog can improve its quality of life by leaps and bounds. As your dog ages, continuing daily walks can help keep your dog active and extend its lifespan.
With that said, note that it’s not advisable to take your dog on long walks after a week’s break. It will burden your dog instead of helping it.
Remember, short walks every day are better than hours-long walks each Sunday. Treat your furry pal kindly!
Shawn Mack is a content writer who offers ghostwriting, copywriting, and blogging services. His educational background in the business and technical field has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He is also fond of writing engaging articles on technology & digital marketing-related topics.