Skip to Content

Exercise and the Aging Dog: Tips to Keep Your Senior Canine Healthy

As our furry friend ages, it’s important to keep an eye on their health and well-being. Exercise and physical activity are crucial for senior dogs, as it helps keep them healthy and active. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of exercise and the aging dog, as well as tips on how to get your pet moving.

Keep your furry friend happy and healthy into his or her golden years by following these simple tips!

Exercise and the Aging Dog: Tips to Keep Your Senior Canine Healthy

Typically senior dogs begin to show signs of age with a variety of symptoms.

From joint pain and stiffness to hearing and vision issues, there is a wide range of concerns that can arise.

Coupled with these possible issues is the fact that aging canines often are less active and therefore tend to gain weight which can cause further health concerns.

Regular daily exercise and activity can help to maintain healthy body weight as well as prevent and delay many signs of aging.

Therefore it is very important for senior dogs to maintain an active lifestyle but there are some things that pet owners should bear in mind when exercising older animals.

Expert Advice on Exercise and the Aging Dog

When beginning any exercise regimen the expertise of a certified veterinarian should be sought.

In addition to arthritis pain or chronic pain conditions, there is a possibility of unknown health issues that may require professional assistance, especially when dealing with senior dogs.

A certified veterinarian will be able to provide individualized advice on an exercise routine that is specific to your dog and his or her personal requirements.

When it comes to exercise and the aging dog, this really shouldn’t surprise anyone as we get the same advice as humans.

“Get the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.”

Senior small dog wearing a gray and white vest with owner in the grass

Definition of a Senior Dog

This can be tricky as different breeds can have very different average life expectancies.

  • Medium and small dogs average approximately 14-16 years
  • Large and particularly giant breed dogs have the shortest average life span, often ranging from a mere 7-9 years.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and with proper nutrition and exercise, many dogs can comfortably exceed these numbers.

What kind of exercise?

The type or form of exercise recommended for senior dogs will also be based on their current level of fitness, any existing health concerns, and age-related issues.

Similar to humans, dogs’ energy requirements will decrease as they age.

It is important to remember that exercise should be suited to the comfort and activity level of the dog, activities that are too strenuous will certainly not help to maintain physical condition and can in fact cause damage instead.

Exercise Ideas for the Senior Dog

As your dog ages, you might notice that they don’t have the same energy levels as before. This is normal!

Just like humans, dogs’ energy requirements will decrease as they age.

Exercise routines should be low-impact and non-weight bearing to avoid putting unnecessary strain on aging joints.

Senior dog wearing a pink flotation vest in the pool


Exercise routines should be low-impact and non-weight bearing to avoid putting unnecessary strain on aging joints.

Swimming is a great option for older dogs as it is non-weight bearing and low impact, while also providing resistance which helps to build muscle.


Exercise and the aging dog don’t have to be boring. For example, another great way to get your senior dog moving is by taking him or her on short frequent walks throughout the day.

This can be done in addition to a more formal exercise routine or in lieu of one if your pet is not up for a more strenuous activity.

Short walks are a great way to get some fresh air and can be done at a leisurely pace, making them perfect for senior dogs.

Play Fetch

A simple game of fetch is a classic game that can be enjoyed by dogs of all ages.

This activity is great for seniors as it gets them moving without putting too much strain on their joints.

It’s also a fun way to bond with your furry friend!

If you have always loved tossing a tennis ball or throwing that frisbee with your dog, you can still do that!

Just try shorter time frames. Keep an eye on how they are doing – are they moving slower?

Are they winded faster than they used to be?

Are they having a difficult time tracking the movement of the toy with their eyes?

If so, it may soon be time to hang up the yard toys and just spend time together.

Family enjoying the beach with their large golden senior dog

Out and About

Whenever possible, try to include your senior dog in activities that the whole family can enjoy.

This will help him or her to feel like an important part of the family and can provide much-needed socialization.

Exercise is a great way to bond with your furry friend and can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy together.

This can be as simple as taking Fido with you on the summer family camping trip.

Popping a vest on them and going out in the kayak together.

Taking a small hike on a nature trail – make sure to take your poo bags and pup water bottle with you.

Downscale What You Used to Do

Have fun! If your dog has always loved a particular sport or game adapt it to suit his or her current level of activity.

If you used to run long distances with your dog, consider switching to shorter walks.

Remember, the key is to find an activity that your senior dog enjoys and can comfortably participate in without putting too much strain on his or her body.

Exercise should be fun for both you and your furry friend!

Senior German Shepherd laying in the grass

Work up to it

As with any exercise routine, it is important to start slowly and increase the intensity or duration of the activity gradually.

This will help your pet to avoid injury and will allow him or her to build up stamina over time.

Exercise is a great way to keep your senior dog healthy and active, so get out there and enjoy some quality time with your furry friend!

Extra Bonus

In addition to the benefits of exercise, socialization is also important for aging dogs.

As they age, many dogs become less interested in interacting with other animals and people.

This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can impact their overall health and well-being.

Exercise is a great way to socialize senior dogs, as it provides opportunities for them to interact with other animals and people.

Regardless of what the actual activity is, exercise and the aging dog can be fun for them and you.

Senior dogs can live very full and rewarding lives with a little extra effort from their owners.

Love these woofs?

Help spread our waggie tales. You're pawesome for doing it!