As pets age, exercise becomes increasingly important in order to maintain strength and mobility. Loss of muscle tone, arthritis in joints, decrease in metabolism and slowing of organ function all play vital parts in how our pets age. Many owners assume that because their pet is slowing down with age that it is a normal occurrence in which they have no control. However, as pet owners, there are several ways we can assist our four legged companions in maintaining their strength and mobility by providing them with quality diet, nutritional supplements (when needed) and appropriate exercise.
Low impact exercises including walking and swimming are great ways to encourage mobility in older dogs. Starting with short 10-15 minute sessions enables dogs to adjust to the exercise routine without becoming excessively tired or uncomfortable. Exercise increases vital oxygenated blood flow to tissues, promoting removal of toxins from the body. In addition, it aids in proper digestion, which is another common complication associated with the aging process. Establishing a exercise routine for your pet will allow you to monitor activity and observe your pet for any complications or concerns that may need to be addressed by your veterinarian. Limping, stiffness, lameness, tenderness in limbs and spinal areas are all reason to seek veterinary advice for your senior dog. Annual examinations provide the perfect opportunity to evaluate the best course of action for keeping your four legged best friend happy, healthy and moving freely in the year to come. Ask us at Animal Central for more information on what exercise is right for your senior dog.
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Dr. George Stroberg, DVM and Staff