Senior Dogs & Exercise – Is Running a Good Idea?

When you decided to add a dog to your family, was their ability to accompany you on your daily jog important? 

As the years have passed, your runs have gotten more challenging for your pet, even if they are 100% willing to go with you every day.  They love to be with you, and the exercise is fun too —  but the intensity of that exercise may need to change, for their best health.  

Get the All-Clear from Your Vet

If you see a vet regularly with your dog, they will be a great source of advice on how to modify or moderate exercise as your dog ages. There may be treatments for common medical conditions that can give your dog more mobility and energy.  With treatment, you can manage their activity level and they can continue to enjoy running and their other favorite activities as long as possible. 

Pay Attention to Body Language

Your dog’s body language is the key to understanding how they feel. If you notice your dog hesitate to run or engage in any exercise, it is time to investigate alternatives.  After a day or two of no running, if they remain hesitant about exercise, it could be time to check with your vet.

Choose Shorter and Easier Routes

Just like older humans, your older dog will not have as much stamina as they did when they were young. Plan shorter, easier running routes. Shift between running and walking to reduce the overall exertion. If reducing the intensity of the run doesn’t work for your own fitness goals, then work on establishing a new routine with your pet. They could join you for a portion of your run, or you could create a separate activity especially for the dog.

Consider Supplements for Joint Health

You may also want to talk to your vet about healthy supplements to support joint health. Just like humans, taking supplements such as glucosamine can improve joint performance. Be sure to get approval from your vet and use formulas specifically designed for canines. 

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and some still love running as they age. Others may start to slow down. Support your older dog in the best and healthiest way possible.