Helping Your Older Pet Live a Happy, Healthy Life

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If you’re like a lot of animal lovers out there, you have a pet – or two or three – that you call companions. While young pups tend to have you beat in the energy department, that energy and activity often wanes as your dog gets older.

That doesn’t mean you should give up on your pet and let them sit around on the couch while you both turn into potatoes! You just need to know the right things to do with your pet so you both stay happy, healthy and most importantly, fit.

Test Your Dog’s Walking Limit

There’s not a dog on the planet that doesn’t want to go on a walk with his or her owner. Wake your pet up in the middle of the night with a leash and you’ll have them bouncing out the door even if they were dead asleep.

As your pet gets older though, they may not be able to walk as far as they used to even if they want to. Some dogs will push themselves farther than is really healthy for them just because they enjoy the smells, sights and making their owner happy.

If your dog is having problems, start by going on short walks. A pedometer that counts steps can help you gauge how far you’ve been. Start by going around the block or another short distance that your pet seems comfortable with. The next day you can extend the walk by 20%.

Do this in increments and your pet will get exercise and you’ll find the right distance for them to walk with you.

Get a Brace

If you’ve ever had an injury you’ve probably worn a brace while the area is healing. Just like injuries for humans, leg braces for dogs can help support a sore area and make it easier for them to stay mobile.

Look for a leg brace that fits your pet properly and get them to wear it during exercise. They likely won’t need it the rest of the time unless your vet recommends it.

Talk to Your Vet

Your vet should be a trusted resource when it comes to your pet, and they aren’t there just for major health problems. Let your vet in on your pet’s workout routine and they may have suggestions for you.

For older dogs, physical therapy may be beneficial and more cost-effective than you might think.