Prevent Stiff Joints with Exercise
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Exercise the Older Pet

Your dog cannot escape the subtle changes that accompany aging. The fact is, stiff joints and aching muscles can impact the quality of life she experiences. Savvy pet owners embrace life with their older pet as an opportunity to deepen the human-dog relationship and to act upon the understanding that exercise is crucial to the health of older dogs.

It is an undisputed fact that aerobic activity in dogs boosts the efficiency of the heart and lungs and offers the additional benefits of weight control, improved muscle tone, and increased life span. Exercise also helps to keep the joints limber, which may help decrease the pain of arthritis. Perhaps early-stage arthritis has already set in. Then low-impact activities – which protect sensitive joints – can be paired with a glucosamine supplement, such as our Joint Care Premium 3 or Joint Guard® Treats, for joint support and increased mobility.

If you are fortunate enough to own a senior dog, see to it that all-day snoozes do not define his existence! Short walks – if the weather is not too hot, cold, or damp – are particularly advantageous. Encourage him to move about, doing ordinary things, to slow the rate at which his muscles weaken and joints stiffen. Put some pizzazz into the daily routine with low-key games of retrieving and tug-o-war. Perhaps it is time to introduce a new puppy into the family – exercise sessions can then include both dogs. Be creative in structuring a workout that satisfies both you and your aging pet as you work together to combat arthritis and other debilitating health conditions. Your veterinarian can assist you in planning a precise and dynamic program, which is geared to sustaining his physical abilities.

Mellowed and sweetly tempered, an older dog asks little of his caregiver. Shower him with things that improve his life. Multiply the occasions when you can be together. You may just find yourself enjoying his retirement years!

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