5 Brilliant Tips To Make Your Dog Feel Young Again
March 13, 2019 | 3 min read
Updated March 13, 2019
By Rachel Cleverley
Published: March 13, 2019
Updated: October 10, 2022
Summary: Looking to learn how to keep your dog young? That's impossible, but you can certainly help preserve their health and keep them active, fit, able, mobile, and playful for a longer period of time. So, let's learn how to keep your dog (well, at least feeling it!)
Youth is synonymous with health. We all know that with age comes change and a certain level of deterioration in our overall health. Whether that be a physical change, such as weaker bones and less muscle mass, or mental change, dogs experience it too!
There are things, however, that you can do to make their lives easier as they get older, and even give them back that youthful feeling. Some of these things can be really fun, too, so you can both have a whale of a time while retaining some youthful vitality!
Keep Them Moving
Getting older can be a strain on your pup – age means they will function slower, and be less willing to do strenuous activity. Less activity means putting on unwanted weight, possibly leading to joint discomfort, a slower metabolism, and risks of heart troubles. So, when it comes to keeping a dog feeling young, keeping them mobile is key.
Don’t expect your pooch to be running around as much as they may have when they were younger, but also don’t let them be idle. Forcing your senior dog to do vigorous exercise may actually cause more harm than good. If you notice they have stiff movements or are struggling to move around, this could indicate that they are doing too much. Find the right balance. Give them gentle exercise, such as short walks on flat ground, regular swims in safe water, and avoid steep inclines or long runs.
Exercise will help your pet's joints stay strong and mobile for a longer time. Not only that, but it is thought that regular exercise can sustain muscle mass and improve blood flow around the body, including to the brain! More oxygen to the brain can keep your pup alert, engaged, and active.
Have Them Eat Healthily
A dog at any age needs to have a good diet, full of nutrition and tastiness! But as we, and dogs, get older, our metabolisms slow down due to a decrease in muscle mass, so the amount of food they would have eaten a few years ago might cause more weight gain if eaten today. Eating too much can lead to obesity, which puts your dog at higher risk of further health problems.
Some things to bear in mind as you think about your dog’s diet.
- As your dog gets older, it is important to reduce the amount of food in relation to how much exercise they are doing. Try giving them smaller and more frequent meals, leaving more space for digestion.
- If your dog has lost some teeth or has sensitive teeth, choose softer foods for them.
- There is no set diet for anyone, but making sure they have a good amount of fiber to keep bowel movements running smoothly, as older dogs are more prone to constipation.
- You may find that increasing the amount of protein in their diet will give them more energy, which is essential to keeping them at a healthy weight.
Treats are great to give your pup when he’s been good, and of course, we all want to see our pals happy! But, overindulging them will inevitably lead to weight gain, and that can be extremely dangerous. Maintaining a good weight for your dog will help them live longer and happier lives!
As humans, we’re encouraged to learn new skills or do puzzles as we get older, in order to keep the mind young. Well, it is exactly the same for dogs, too! Don't listen to the age-old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks"... Because, you can! Training together and teaching your dog new commands can be a great activity for you and your dog to do, and it will keep their attention span and mind sharp.
The added benefits to the body are also worth knowing! If you decide to take your dog to a training school, or simply train them to do some tricks at home, it's likely that they'll be exercising muscles that they might otherwise not be. Consider the training as part of your efforts to keep them moving!
The reason most dogs respond well to performing tricks or following commands is the reward they get for doing it – this can be in the form of a treat, or if you intend on taking them out, reward them with a walk if they wait patiently on command before heading out the door. They can learn what works for you, and in turn, they’ll get what they want. A win for everyone!
Not only can dogs be challenged with new mental and physical exercises, but you and your dog will also bond when doing these activities. Encouraging them through physical interaction and an excited tone of voice is a way of showing them some love, so do plenty of it! The communication between the two of you and the time spent together is an invaluable bonding experience that will make them feel less lonely, and there’s nothing worse than knowing your aging dog feels alone!
Stay On Top Of Their Dental Care
Looking to learn how to keep your dog young? Look after their oral hygiene!
Your dog's mouth is extremely busy - chewing, barking, panting, and eating. But, this constant activity can lead to dental issues if you’re not careful! The main problem facing dogs’ dental health is bacteria build-up.
A build-up of plaque can occur on the teeth if you aren't looking after your dog's dental hygiene, due to the bacteria from food, grass, and other objects. You can imagine that this can cause occasional discomforts for your pup!
Now, here’s how you can support your dog’s dental hygiene! What you CAN do is get into a good dental hygiene routine, by brushing their teeth regularly to rid of the nasty bacteria in their mouth, and providing a tasty dental chew for them to gnaw away on each day. Also, make sure you're attending their annual check-ups at the vet.
Don’t underestimate the power of play. Even though your dog is a bit older now, it doesn’t mean they don’t love to play! Maybe they have a toy from when they were younger that they love which can provide them comfort and excitement? This is a great way to ignite their youthful spark again, and make your dog feel young again!
Try getting some interactive toys too such as puzzles or squeaky toys – they’ll keep your dog engaged, and you’ll be surprised how long they can be entertained for! And, although they may not want to play a big game of fetch, remember to spend time with them outdoors. Giving your dog your time and energy is as important as anything else to keep him feeling young!
How To Keep Your Dog Young... Well, Feeling It!
We know that keeping your senior dog feeling young and healthy is the best way to encourage vitality and longevity in their life. By adopting these ideas, you’ll be able to keep each other youthful, and with that you’ll surely have more fun in life!
Don’t let your dog’s golden years be dull, but don’t shock them by giving them a whole new lifestyle! Dogs are creatures of habit, so once you adjust their routine, stick to it, and they will adapt. Set a timetable to train or take them for walks at the same time every day (if you can). There are no rules, but remember, no dog is too old to learn new tricks!
Writer, blogger and crazy cat lady - I'm at my happiest when writing away with my sidekick, Milo, at my feet. When I'm not researching and writing about the latest pet health tips, you can find me out running with my parent's dog, or curled up with a good book!