Exercises to keep Senior Dogs in Shape

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Exercises to keep Senior Dogs in Shape

February 4, 2014

It’s not just humans who need to keep active after “a certain age.”  Your dog suffers many of the same ailments humans do.  Arthritis, Diabetes, bone loss, obesity.  The list goes on and if you’re over 50 you can relate.  However, just like humans, there are a number of ways to get fit and relieve the symptoms associated with aging.  (ps: you’ll both feel great).


#1 How to Avoid the Viscous Cycle
Aging for pets and humans tends to lead toward inactivity in general.  Which leads to loss of muscle mass, balance, energy levels and weight gain.  Getting up to exercise doesn’t always sound like the greatest idea.


But it is the ONLY idea.  Older pets (and older humans) benefit greatly from anti-aging activities and exercise.  Moderate, and let us stress, enjoyable activities reduce slips, trips, falls and sprains for both humans and their dogs.  So as the saying goes, “Just Do It.”


#2 Recognize the Benefits
- Exercise for your senior pets promotes muscle growth and inhibits muscle deterioration. 

- It increases cardiovascular activity.

- Helps maintain strength, flexibility and balance.

- Promotes an overall sense of well being and reduces depression (yes, pups have moods too)


#3 How to Keep Rover (and you) On Top of His Game
There are 3 types of exercise essential for senior pets’ health.

- Passive Range of Movement
With your dog on it’s side in a comfortable position, gently flex and extend each limb, one at a time, holding for about 10 seconds.  Do not hyper extend.  This is gentle and should be enjoyable. 

- Balance and Fluid Movement
Cookie Reaches.  With your dog in a standing position, encourage your dog to stretch for the cookie without taking any steps.  Offer the cookie from various angels to encourage stretching in different directions.  (And or course, reward after exercise with the cookie).

- Cardiovascular and Strength Targeting big muscles like hamstrings and gluteals
Work the big muscle groups.  Throw in some hills during your walks.  Every day.  Encouraging side stepping.  Stand facing your dog’s side, with one hand on the collar and one on the opposite hip.  Step into the pet until he steps to the side with a lateral move but no forward motion.  Start with a few steps and work up to 10-15 in each direction.


#4 Consider the Benefits of Massage
It feels good to Fido too.  The technique is a combination of low, gentle stroking of the muscles and stretching of the limbs.  For an online demonstration go to http://pzne.ws/dog-massage


So get out there, get moving and treat both of you to the benefits of a regular massage!

Enjoy!  pz

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