Senior dogs should not stop having fun activities. Playtime should not stop for older dogs. We just need to make activities a little easier for them to do. Remember that they don’t have the same stamina and endurance of younger dogs. Their reflexes are much slower and they don’t move as quickly as they used to. Playtime should still be part of a senior dog’s life because they still do love to play in short bursts. What are 9 fun activities for senior dogs to keep them entertained?
Having an older dog is one of the most enjoyable things in the world. I have a senior Spitz breed and a much younger mixed breed dog who get along well together despite their age difference. Noticeably, as my older dog advances in age, she has become more chill inside the home. She would lay on the floor and just snooze. But when she knows it’s time for a walk, she would run around in circles in excitement.
She always looks forward to our daily walks. She goes back to being a sprightly puppy when she’s outdoors. That’s why we never miss an opportunity to go out and get some fresh air and do some low-impact exercises.
This got me thinking that perhaps my senior dog was bored out of her mind while in the house and that I’m not giving her enough activities to keep her entertained. While my dog is in good health condition, I know that in the near future, she would start to feel age-related senior dog issues like arthritis, dental issues, and deteriorating vision. Before that happens, I want her to enjoy the things she loves to do and live a great life.
So, I’ve decided to get her involved in enrichment activities for senior dogs. Instead of just letting her chill and snooze all day, I have found fun activities for senior dogs that will keep her fit and her mind sharp.
9 Fun Activities for Senior Dogs
Playtime for Senior Dogs Should Not Stop! Here are fun activities that will keep your senior dogs happy, active, and entertained. These senior dog enrichment activities are also opportunities to spend more quality time with your dog and keep him physically and mentally stimulated. Your dog will thank you later!
1. Swimming for Senior Dogs
With their weakening muscles and joints, senior dogs can benefit from swimming. It’s a low-impact exercise that’s easy on their legs and joints. Swimming also strengthens their muscles and improves their overall condition. The water is also naturally comforting and relaxing to most senior dogs.
Just make sure that your senior dog wears a swimming vest for dogs. This is important because not all dogs are good swimmers.
You can also try hydrotherapy for dogs. Also known as water cure, hydrotherapy is a form of physiotherapy to rehabilitate injuries in dogs. The therapy uses water to relieve pain from arthritis or injuries. It’s a great way for senior dogs with joint pains because it reduces inflammation and swelling in their body tissues.
2. Take Your Senior Dog to the Beach
Strolling along the beach and taking your senior dog for quick dip in the water are activities you can do on the beach. The wide-open space gives your dog the chance to run around at his own pace. Bring a ball or a toy he can play with. This is a great bonding moment with your senior dog, especially if your dog is an outdoorsy type who loves water and nature. The sunshine, the fresh air, the sand, and the water are all good for your dog. Just make sure to go to the beach in the early morning or when the weather is cooler so that the heat is tolerable and the sand will not burn your older dog’s paws.
3. Go for a Car Ride with your Senior Dog
Don’t underestimate the power of a doggie car ride. What dog doesn’t love a car ride where they can feel the wind in their fur as you drive along the road? The wonderful sights and sounds will keep them stimulated and entertained. It beats boredom by a mile.
4. Scent Work for Senior Dog
Senior dogs’ vision may deteriorate and their hearing may decline, but their sense of smell generally stays strong even at an advanced age. This means they can still enjoy sniffing around. As we all know, sniffing is a nature of dogs. It’s one of their most favorite things to do. Smelling things and sniffing around not only stimulate their brain, but they also improve their sense of smell. That’s why scent work is perfect for senior dogs.
Ten minutes of sniffing is equivalent to 30 minutes of walking. So if your senior dog can’t go out due to bad weather, you can let them sniff out treats using snuffle mats for dogs that simulate the outdoor grass or environment. Finding little treats in the snuffle mat will keep your senior dog busy for hours on end.
5. Play Fetch with Your Senior Dog
A good old-fashioned game of fetch will certainly keep your dog entertained and stimulated. But with senior dogs, you would need to make a little bit of adjustment. As senior dogs don’t jump as high or run as fast, you would have to shorten the distance when throwing a toy or a stick. Make sure that you play on surfaces that are not slippery and hard. Playing fetch on grass is easy on their paws and joints.
Keep the playtime short because senior dogs may not have the same stamina as they used to and can get tired easily.
6. Play Tug of War with Your Senior Dog
No dog can resist a game of tug of war. It’s an enjoyable game for dogs no matter the age—yes, even senior dogs. Tug of war provides mental and physical stimulation. Some dogs perk up when they see tug of war toys or rope toys because they usually associate them with rewards. This is particularly true for K9 police dogs and canine athletes. So if your senior dog is a former working dog or an athlete, he would appreciate a short game of tug of war with gentle pulling.
There’s a whole gamut of tug of war toys for dogs you can choose from. Make sure to choose soft and pliable tug toys or rope toys. You must keep their mouth and teeth protected when playing tug of war. Avoid using hard or toys with sharp edges like a stick.
7. Play Hide and Seek with Your Senior Dog
We’ve all seen the Tik Tok trend where humans play hide and seek with their dogs using a blanket or hiding behind doors. You can also do this with your senior dog and it’s guaranteed to be fun and entertaining. Playing hide and seek with your senior dog allows them to use their sense of smell and their tracking skills. You can hide and let your dog find you or you can hide treats around the house and let your dog find them. Make sure that the treats are easy to find and easy to reach so that your senior dog would not get frustrated.
8. Play Three Cups and Treat with Your Senior Dog
Here’s another classic game that’s low impact but mentally stimulating. Place a treat in one of the cups and move them around then make your senior dog guess where the treat is. If your dog chooses the right cup, then he gets the treat as a reward. Just make sure the cups have tiny holes so that it’s easier for the dog to smell the treat inside. Let’s not make the game too hard for our senior dogs. We want them to enjoy and get the treat every single time!
9. Spend Quality Time with Your Senior Dog
Sometimes, just being together and enjoying each other’s company is enough for senior dogs. You can go for a short nature walk, go to a dog park, or go to a new place where new sights and smell can stimulate your dog. Just always keep in mind that you need to make the activities age-appropriate to prevent accidents or injuries. Spending quality time with your senior dog is one of the best things you can do to make him happy.