How to Rekindle Playfulness in Older Dogs

February 06, 2023 | Updated April 11, 2023
dog eyesight issues, dog loss of hearing, dog's aging needs, older dogs, senior dogs
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rekindle older dogs playfulness
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seAging often results in a decrease in energy and activity levels for dogs. Many pet owners see this as a sign that their dog is not healthy enough to enjoy active pursuits with them. But older dogs can also get depressed when they aren’t getting enough exercise or stimulation elsewhere. Maintaining mental and physical stimulation for your dog is essential. Making changes to usual routines, introducing new objects to play with, and increasing the physical activity they get can all help.

Understand Your Dog’s Aging Needs

Joint pain, vision loss, hearing loss, and obesity are all common problems for senior dogs. At the other end of the spectrum are dogs with serious health problems, such as heart disease and arthritis.

More commonly, your dog may lose bone mass and become less mobile in joints and bones as he or she ages. If your dog jumps up to grab an object in mid-air, the force of landing on its joints could be devastating. For this reason, you may consider lower-intensity activities or browsing WiggleLess braces to help with common joint pain.

Discover Tricks to Encourage Playfulness

If Your Dog is Suffering from Mobility Issues

When your dog has movement limitations, you might not be able to play fetch with him, but other games, such as football and hide-and-seek, could still give him the excitement of recovering.

Use a leisurely pass as you slide the ball approaching your dog so that he can get it. Swimming is a fantastic exercise for dogs, especially those with joint problems. Feeling like they’re floating while still receiving a tremendous workout is a major perk of doing so in water.

If Your Dog has Eyesight Issues

It might be difficult for your dog to cope with vision impairments like cataracts or total blindness. Encourage your dog’s different senses by playing games with their ears and nose.

A nuzzle mat is a fun and challenging toy for the nose. Feeling flaps are sewn into the fabric of a snuffle mat to form elaborate patterns. You may conceal dog goodies in the felt compartments. The goal is for your dog to find the treats and earn the prize.

If Your Dog Is Experiencing Loss of Hearing

Because age-related hearing loss is common in canines, you should move the games you play indoors or to a quieter location. Your dog will not respond to your verbal commands to follow you or do tricks.

The lick mat is an example of a puzzle game that you can play. Lick carpets are rubber versions of snuffle pads. Besides, you can use a spreadable product, such as pate or peanut butter, to “lace” the little assault course. The treat will then be accessible only if your dog licks around it.

Deaf and elderly dogs benefit significantly from puzzle toys and activities. Many take the form of blocks in which a treat can be concealed beneath a movable component and then uncovered by your puppy. You could work your way up from easy two-piece puzzles to challenging doggy sudoku.

If Your Dog is Experiencing Loss of Smell

Dogs whose sense of smell is waning can benefit from games using squeaky toys. When playing, a squeaky toy or hide-and-seek is a great addition.

Play hide-and-seek with your dog by hiding around the home with a noisy toy and giving your dog hints about your whereabouts by squeezing the toy. When they come to you, give them goodies and lots of affection.

Becoming Easily Fatigued

If your senior dog is otherwise healthy and active, you might want to try out some at-home agility training. You can lead your dog through a simplified version of an agility course using hand signals and tasty rewards. Play equipment like weave slides and poles are ideal for senior dogs. You can also try jumping if you think your dog can handle it. Dog agility is a great way to exercise and keep your brain active.

Bottom Line

You can play a wide variety of games with older dogs. Participate in fun activities with them and introduce them to new people and places to increase their sense of fulfillment. If you look at it the right way, your dog remains a puppy at the soul. With this in mind, you must also get in touch with your childlike wonder again by implementing the tips mentioned above.

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