Looking out for the oldies
It’s a sad part of life that as our dogs grow older they may start to slow down and struggle with the walks and activities they used to enjoy. Some may begin to struggle physically and others may suffer from a cognitive decline not dissimilar to dementia in humans.
Whilst getting older is sadly inevitable there are plenty of activities we can do with our dogs to help keep their lives enriched and fulfilled.
Make the most of the walks they can do
Just because your dog can no longer manage a 2 hr hike across the moors doesn’t mean they wouldn’t enjoy a gentle mooch in their favourite spot. Find new places you can take them where you can park close by so your dog still gets to sniff, explore and have new adventures. You can even get dog buggies to enable even very frail dogs the chance to get out and about.
As they are no longer getting all the exercise they used to, It’s really important to give your oldie plenty of mental stimulation and enrichment activities. This may also help slow down any cognitive decline.
There are lots of fun things you can do
Keep training!Old dogs can still learn new tricks, and while they may not be up to spending hours a week in training classes, and may be past the days of jumping through hoops, there are lots of other fun tricks you can teach at home. It will also give your dog an opportunity to spend some much loved quality time with you.
Scentwork– Your dogs nose is amazing, and it is one of their strongest senses and one of the last to fade. Scentwork is something all dogs love to do and it’s very natural to them. You can teach your dog to find treats or toys around the home, lay treat trails around the garden, or come to one of our workshops and we will show you how to get them searching for specific scent.
Enrichment toys– there are tons of food enrichment toys out there and these are great for keeping your oldies mind busy. The idea is your dog has to work out how to get the food out of the toy, so it gets them thinking and they get the huge reward of the tasty food! Whether store bought toys like Kongs, K9 Connectables and the Nina Ottoson range; or homemade, you can get very creative and your dog will love it.
One of the easiest to make is a trash box. Take an old carboard box (staple free), put in some screwed up newspaper, and add in some treats, toys and other goodies for your dog, close it up and let them at it!
Quality time with you– No surprise but our dogs love being with us. As they get older, particularly if they are suffering from cognitive decline or feeling unwell they can appear clingy and may seek out comfort from us. Make sure your dog gets plenty of time with you. Dogs are great at being there through thick and thin, so we owe it to them to be there when they need us.
Jemma – https://www.ruffmutz.co.uk/