If you’re like most dog owners, as your pooch enters his golden years, you may find yourself slowing down your outdoor adventures.
After all, senior dogs aren’t as young and sprightly as they used to be, and you want to avoid overexerting them. In fact, many dog owners wonder whether it’s even safe for their old dogs to join them on exciting adventures. And some worry that their aging dogs might not be able to handle the rigors of the great outdoors and decide to leave them at home instead.
However, just because your pup is getting on in years doesn’t mean you have to stop taking them out with you. If you plan carefully and take a few precautions, you can still take them on many exciting outdoor excursions! And the truth is getting outside and exploring nature together may be one of the best things you can do to keep senior dogs healthy, happy, and engaged well into their golden years.
Planning an Outdoor Excursion With Your Senior Dog
The first step in planning an outdoor adventure with your senior dog is carefully considering how you’ll prepare for the trip. This includes taking into account the specifics of your dog’s health, abilities, and overall condition.
For instance, if your dog is dealing with mobility issues or chronic pain in its joints, choose low-impact outdoor activities like swimming. You should also ensure your canine is up to date on all of their vaccines, veterinary screenings, and flea and tick treatment to keep them safe.
Above all, you will want to pack the right equipment, including a first aid kit, sturdy leashes or carriers, and plenty of water and food for rest breaks.
Keeping Your Senior Dog Safe & Comfortable on Adventures
The key to safe and successful outdoor adventures with your senior dog is to adjust your expectations and activity based on your dog’s physical abilities.
No matter how much you want to take them on that thrilling thru-hike or multi-day backpacking trip, or that long bike ride across the country, you should never force them to do anything they aren’t physically capable of doing. If you’re pushing your dog beyond what’s comfortable for them, it can be detrimental to their health.
So instead of trying to push the limits, choose activities that are appropriate for their age and health status. Keep track of the time and distance you’re traveling and allow plenty of rest breaks along the way and ample opportunities to get a drink or snack. And, of course, always go at a pace your senior dog is comfortable.
Also, you would want to be as attentive and observant as possible when you’re out on adventures with your older dog. This means you should always check for signs of dehydration, over-exertion, and other possible health complications in your senior dog.
Fun Outdoor Activities that are Perfect for Senior Dogs
There are countless outdoor activities that are perfect for older pups. Some great ones include:
- Swimming. Swimming is one of the best activities for senior dogs, as it’s low-impact and easy on their joints. It’s also a great way to keep their muscles toned and their weight in check.
- Kayaking or canoeing. Seniors dogs will love the tranquility and peacefulness of being on the water. Make sure that you keep close tabs on your dog at all times to ensure they stay safe, and use a doggy life vest for extra peace of mind.
- A trip to a dog-friendly beach. I mean, which dog doesn’t love running around on the beach, rolling in the sand, and frolicking in the surf? Plus, it’s a great way to get fresh air and sunshine!
- Hiking. While not every senior dog is up to hiking up rocky or steep terrain, many still love walking through the woods, exploring new trails, and sniffing the roses or whatever other scents pique their interest. Just stick to easy routes they can manage and avoid hiking in extreme weather conditions.
- Cycling. Going on bike rides with your dog doesn’t always have to involve letting them run next to your bike. Instead, you can carry them in a bicycle basket for dogs or a dog bike trailer. This way, they can still enjoy the ride and get outside without having to do any of the work!
- Going on a road trip. Getting in the car for a long drive and exploring new areas is also a great way to keep your senior dog active and engaged. And remember to take lots of rest stops along the way to let them stretch their legs and get a drink!
- Camping. Camping is another excellent way to get out and enjoy the great outdoors with your senior dog, and it certainly is a fun and exciting activity that they will love. And whether it’s a long weekend camping trip or a day hike in the woods, your canine will surely appreciate being able to get out and explore with you.
With some simple adjustments and careful planning, you can still have lots of outdoor fun with your senior pup, and they are sure to love every moment of it!
In fact, there’s no reason your canine should have to miss out on the fun of outdoor adventures just because they’re getting older, especially if they’re still in good shape and have the energy to explore.
So get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and create unforgettable memories with your senior dog!