I've decided to make this into a short series on dogs suffering with OA, and each will consist of a few tips for things you can do with/for your dog.
Here are 5 ways to exercise your dog, without taking them for your USUAL BORING walk.
1. Bring them for a swim. Swimming is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise and is a great way to keep your dog fit and healthy, The buoyancy in water means that there are no ground reaction forces going through their already fragile joints, yet they are able to move through their full range of motion.
2. If your dog isn't fond of swimming - I've heard this can happen - then try bringing them for a walk somewhere that there's a number of different terrains - like gravel/tarmac/grass/stream - this need not be for a long walk, but it will help your older dog with proprioception and range of motion of their joints as they'll be thinking about what they're doing every time they lift a leg.
3. If you have steps or stairs around your house, don't forget how difficult these may be for your dog to tackle. If you can, try making a ramp for some of your steps which will help them overcome the obstacle. This is also a great idea for helping your dog getting in and especially out of the car! And also with getting on and off of the couch (if that's allowed in your house)!!!
4. Hard surfaces are a real culprit in progressing OA for many dogs. If you have a lot of tiles or hard wood floors in your house then your dog may struggle to walk on them as they tend to slip around a bit. Carpets are much more favorable for older dogs or even a couple of rugs around the house in the rooms they tend to be most, can help them when following you around the house.
5. Just like us, it can be very frustrating for a dog to be getting older and less able to do the things they'd like to. This means we have to do our best to keep their minds entertained so that we can tire them out in different ways! So how about hiding some treats in the grass outside to keep their nose enticed and their minds ticking over. If you don't have a grassy outdoor space then why not put some of their dry food under a container/cushion/blanket for them to get out of the way in order to get the food. Even though their bodies may not be totally able, mental stimulation is very important for older dogs.
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