One of the biggest misconceptions some pet parents have is that a bulldog won't need a lot of exercise when he reaches his golden years. Giving your senior dog regular exercise is actually a matter of utmost importance. This is the reason why we've put together this blog post to refute this notion.
Did you know that having a regular workout routine in your aging bulldog's schedule is a good opportunity to not just help boost his immune system, but to also promote and support an improved quality of life?
Whether you have an American, English, or French bulldog, make sure you follow along to get simple and practical tips to provide your much older pet with the mental and physical activity he needs to stay happy and healthy.
Senior Dogs Need Regular Exercise, Too!
While it is true that a senior dog is not going to be as active and nimble compared to his younger counterparts like bulldog puppies and juveniles, it doesn't mean that he should not get enough exercise at all. Foregoing the whole thing will just have a drastically negative effect on his muscles and joints sooner or later.
See, bulldogs are one of the dog breeds that really enjoy playing. Although these canine companions may not be ideal candidates for an endurance or agility tournament compared to other dogs due to their stocky build and short legs, they still require proper exercises even during their senior years.
Sure health issues like arthritis and other joint problems will get in the picture as your dog ages, but having a regular exercise routine is one fun way to maintain good health and promote his well-being. Exercise can even help keep stress and anxiety in check!
We'd just like to emphasize that your aging pup could be prone to a number of wellness problems that will eventually affect his quality of life if you don't have an exercise plan set up. We're going to discuss more on this in the next part of our discussion.
A Regular Workout Helps Keep Physical and Mental Health Ideal
Senior dogs require regular exercise—particularly low-impact exercise—not just to keep their muscles strong. They also need an exercise routine to have fun, which helps stimulate them mentally. You can think of the whole thing as mental and physical therapy for older dogs that you can easily do at home.
Like most dogs in their golden years, your much older English, American, or French bulldog will experience a lot of physiological changes that will affect their bodies in several ways. These changes will also have a big impact on your pet's life as a senior dog.
Your dog is prone to a lot of body changes that will affect his relationship with exercise
As dogs age, you will notice changes in their body that you won't observe in puppies and moderately adult dogs. His metabolism becomes slow. Your dog's pace will become sluggish, particularly when you take him for a walk. His muscles and joints become susceptible to degeneration and diseases like arthritis.
Additionally, trips to the vet or consultations with a pet homeopathy professional will become much more frequent. Senior dogs may even require mobility aids to engage in physical activity in some cases.
However, it is crucial to take note that although age may affect your bulldog in one way or another, totally removing exercise from his regular schedule is something already counterproductive. It may even have a drastic effect on his health and quality of life, too.
Senior dogs become more vulnerable to illness and disease without regular exercise
Now here's something that we'd like to highlight among dog owners. While this may sound surprising, completely taking away exercise from your senior dog pet care checklist will lead to even more serious health problems before you know it.
Not exercising can make many older dogs a target for obesity, which can also set off even more serious issues like diabetes, heart disease, and even organ failure in the long run. Some aging bulldogs have a higher risk of developing muscle degeneration and atrophy in the same scenario.
We're not saying that your senior dog should have the same amount of exercise as his younger counterparts. Your dog only needs the right amount of exercise, which we're going to explain more in detail in the next part of our discussion.
How Much Exercise Does Your Senior Dog Need?
Before you engage your dog in some form of physical and mental activity, there are three (3) key factors to consider when it comes to determining how much exercise older bulldogs need. These are weight, overall physical conditionas well as underlying health issues.
Overlooking these factors won't just take the fun out of exercise, but can also subject your senior dog to a lot of pain and discomfort (particularly if your pet has weight issues and/or joint conditions). However, if you've already got a regular workout routine with your dog, you can simply follow the same.
Still can't figure out how much exercise your aging dog needs? We recommend starting with at least fifteen (15) minutes as a baseline, with five (5) minutes of rest in between. Make sure you observe the body language of your dog as you go along and make the necessary adjustments if needed.
Top Senior Bulldog Exercise Recommendations You Should Know
Now we've got that covered, let's have a walkthrough of the top exercise tips that you should have in your senior dog pet care checklist. We'd just like to stress that it is crucial to get in touch with a pet wellness expert or vet immediately when you notice any issues affecting your dog along the way.
Consult with a professional first.
Given that exercise will require actual movement from your aging pup, engaging a senior dog in any form of physical activity will put a considerable amount of strain on his body. Besides putting pressure on his joints, his muscular system will also be exerting force in the process.
This is why it is very important to consult a veterinarian or a pet homeopathy expert before starting any workout routine with your older dog. This is also a must before setting about a moderate agility training session with your pooch.
Neglecting to do this can mean pain or even injury (not to mention a possible disinterest or even fear of exercising) for your dog. Remember that your pet is not a puppy anymore and you have to factor in his age to make the most out of his exercise routine.
Be mindful of the weather and environment.
Prioritizing the safety and comfort of your senior dog is also essential when it comes to exercise. Remember to only take him for walks or play fetch, among other activities you can engage him in when the weather is cool and nice. Apart from giving your dog healthy physical and mental stimulation, the fresh air will do his body good, too.
Avoid bringing your aging pooch to the dog park during hot days or when warmer temperatures abound. Alternatively, you can exercise your dog indoors. Playing with toys and doing nose work can already count as exercise a much older dog. Walking around the backyard is a nice choice, too.
Go for a low-impact exercise routine.
As we've previously mentioned, an aging dog is not going to be as active as a pup or a juvenile pooch. His pace will also be slow and relaxed compared to that of constant bursts of energy from a puppy. This is why going for a low-impact exercise routine is the best option for senior dogs.
Examples of low-impact exercises include walking, playing fetch, swimming, having a bout of moderate tug-of-war as well and learning new tricks and commands. When it comes to walking, though, make sure you consider the time, place, and weather to maximize its benefits.
Don't forget to integrate mental stimulation into your checklist.
Exercising your senior dog is not just all about physical movement. You also have to stimulate your pet mentally as you go along, too. While you can grab puzzle toys to do this, you can also engage your pooch in training sessions to learn new tricks in lieu of the former.
You can even teach your aging dog commands (or reinforce his mastery of the same) like "stop," "look" and "wait" whenever you're out for a walk. Since there will be a lot of things to see, smell, hear, and touch during a walk, these commands are going to be very useful for your golden pup.
Keep exercise sessions short but constant.
A lot of pet parents mistakenly believe that exercising dogs—including those advanced in age—has to be intense all the time. It is important to take note that so long as your pooch is getting the right amount of physical and mental stimulation, no matter how slow or relaxed his workout routine is, the whole thing's going to be healthy for him.
Make it a point to have a rest every 5 minutes or so, too. Bringing along your dog's favorite treat or snack when you're out on walks or during some other type of activity is also a very good idea.
Be mindful of your dog's body language.
Always watch out for signs of pain and discomfort during exercise. Disregarding these can potentially lead to more serious health issues sooner or later. Say you're out for a walk and you observe your dog panting excessively or limping. These are already signs that you have to stop for a rest or perhaps get in touch with a veterinarian later when you get home.
Check your pet for any signs of injury.
Keep in mind that dogs often try to hide any signs of pain and discomfort for as long as they can. Don't just check for the obvious nicks, cuts, and other types of injury. Be as meticulous as you can. And when you do discover anything, don't hesitate to contact a pet wellness expert or a veterinarian to deal with the problem the right way.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne is a certified Homeopath with over ten years of experience creating natural products for cats and dogs. She co-founded eCommerce brand, Zumalka in 2013 with her husband Matt and is on a mission to help thousands of animals naturally improve their quality of life and shares her experience on their popular YouTube show. Hence, she created a line of high-performance natural pet supplements to target the root cause of common health issues.
Suzie was influenced by her mother-in-law, who practiced homeopathy and made natural remedies from home. After being on prescriptions for many years for a skin issue without resolution, she wanted to try something new. Her problems were cleared up within a few months of dedication to a better diet supplemented by homeopathic remedies. That's when she knew that homeopathy worked! During this process, she wondered why there weren't better options for pets and soon created a popular line of natural remedies that have helped thousands of pets across the USA.
When she’s not traveling or reading the next personal development book, you can find Suzie snowboarding, working out, or enjoying a daily hike.
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