Playing With an Older Dog

Is your dog aged seven or older? If so, Fido is officially a senior … even if he still acts like a puppy. Your canine pal will slow down as he ages, but he will still enjoy—and benefit from—regular play sessions. Read on as an Aurora, CO vet discusses playing with an older dog.

Make It Routine

Dogs thrive when they are on a set schedule for meals, walks, and playtime. Try to play with Fido at the same time every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Get Senior-Friendly Toys

Your pup’s toy preferences may change as he grows older. Fido may prefer softer toys, which are easier on his mouth. Or, he may like toys that light up or make noise, which will be easier for him to track. Try a few different things, and see what your canine buddy likes.

Choose Soft Ground

Play with Fido on soft grass or carpet. Not only will this help your pooch get better traction, it will also be easier for him if he falls.

Don’t Overexert Fido

Dogs are very loyal and dedicated, and they really strive to please their owners. This is definitely a good thing, but there is a downside here. Fido may push himself too hard if he thinks that it will make you happy. Watch for signs of fatigue, such as panting or slowing down. End playtime as soon as your pup seems like he may be getting tired.

Take It Easy

Not all activities are right for every dog. Generally, we don’t recommend having senior dogs jump or stand on their back legs too much. This puts a lot of stress on their bones and joints, and can really aggravate hip dysplasia. Ask your vet for specific advice on what is and isn’t suitable.

Opt For Brain Games

As your furry friend approaches his geriatric years, he may not have a lot of energy or stamina. Start to focus on games that involve mental focus, rather than physical activity. You can play Hide and Seek with your pet, or try a doggy version of the Cups game. Turn three cups upside down, put a yummy treat beneath one, and move them around. Have Fido choose the one with the treat.

Please reach out to us, your local Aurora, CO vet clinic, anytime. We’re happy to help!

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