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Exercising With Your Arthritic Dog
Seeing your older dog limping in pain because of arthritis can be heartbreaking, however, there are ways to help your pal have a good quality of life even in the presence of this illness.
After your older dog is diagnosed with arthritis, the vet will tell you how to treat it so as to provide comfort and relief. One of the basic activities your friend will require to find relief is regular exercise.
Yes, even if its joints hurt, your older dog needs to move in order to find relief. Arthritic dogs have to exercise because of several reasons:
- To maintain optimal weight. Obesity worsens the pain because of the excess stress the extra pounds put on the joints.
- To stay flexible, to increase endurance, and to strengthen the muscles around the joints. The more sedentary a dog is, the stiffer it will get.
- To use energy and help them sleep well.
- To avoid the development of other health problems like heart disease.
- To relieve physical pain by staying busy. When your dog is exercising, its mind is not constantly focused on the pain.
- To have fun. Dogs are playful animals, and having fun always makes them feel better.
How to exercise with your arthritic older dog
Prefer shorter periods of exercise more often to longer periods occasionally. For example, take 10-minute daily walks instead of a weekly one-hour one.
The most important thing is that you “listen” to your older dog. If he wants to run, let it run; if he feels like resting, give it the chance to lie down for a while. As a general rule, always practice moderation.
Among the best exercises you can do with your arthritic older dog are:
- Walking. Choose easy paths and avoid hills, rough surfaces, or uphill marches.
- Hiking. This is very enjoyable as long as you take a smooth trail and make it short.
- Swimming. In warm water, it is great to relieve the joints; in cold water, your pal will suffer later.
- Running games. Your dog may be up to running a little, in this case, play 10 minutes of hide and seek or fetch with it. These games allow for your pal to stop at any time, or it can walk or trot at its convenience.
- Agility games. These are lots of fun when not done for competition purposes. Try the low impact games like balance beam, chutes and tunnels, and running around obstacles.
Leave your friend inside if the weather is cold, as the joints tend to ache more when it is cold. Arthritis does not have to end your older dog’s life. Talk to a vet for guidance, but with care and some lifestyle adjustments, your pal can find comfort, relief, and a happy life.