Check Out Some New About Hiking with Senior Dogs

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One of the fundamental values of our family is to go out. Long walks in a quiet forest. Playing on a field. Stomping in a stream. Explore and train. Breathe in fresh air.

And our dogs have always been an integral part of this outdoor experience.

Now, just before Cooper’s thirteenth birthday, we are making adjustments and adjustments to our walking routines to ensure his comfort and enjoyment. Because even though he’s getting older, we couldn’t imagine leaving Cooper behind! (Although sometimes this is the right choice. More on that in a Minute.)

Unrecognizable active senior woman with dog on a walk in a beautiful autumn forest.

CAN OLDER DOGS GO HIKING?

Short answer: of course!

Longer answer: It depends on a number of factors, such as your dog’s health, the weather, the distance and duration of the hike, the terrain, etc. So, let’s look at these factors, shall we?

Much of this discussion, like most things with older dogs, is conditional. If your dog has a Backend stability… If your dog has arthritis … If your dog has vision or hearing loss… and so on. Remember, I am not a veterinarian. I’m just someone who is committed to spending time outdoors with my dogs for as long as possible and sharing our experiences.

Older dogs can go hiking! Often the best hikes require a little modification to meet your dog’s specific needs, but these extra steps shouldn’t stop you from dating during your dog’s golden years!

THE BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR ADVENTURES WITH YOUR SENIOR DOG

There is almost no reason not to take your elderly dog on an outdoor adventure, but many reasons to take your puppy! Here is a non-exhaustive list of benefits for your dog – and for you:

body exercises. Necessary as our dogs age to maintain strength and keep him at a healthy weight.

Reduce boredom. Although they may not show it in the same way as puppies, that is, eating the couch, older dogs can get bored inside all day.
Fresh air < – something we all need more of
Mental Stimulation. The sights, the sounds, the smells!
Reduce anxiety and get-down. It is estimated that up to 75% of older dogs suffer from get-down.
A dose of vitamin D. This will help your dog maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorus.
Link time. Outdoor adventures will help you and your dog keep this bond strong.

With all these advantages, there is no reason not to go out! Let’s start today with a solid Plan.

HOW TO PLAN AN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE WITH YOUR SENIOR DOG

Although all this seems positive and feasible – and it is – we must also be realistic with our elders. Most aging puppies need at least some shelter to make outdoor adventures safe. And it all starts with a solid Plan!

First of all, honestly assess your dog’s health. It may be useful to check with your veterinarian to get an objective opinion of your dog’s fitness level. What is your puppy’s muscle tone? What about aerobic health? Are there any disabilities or health problems that could affect the hike?

In Cooper, for example, he begins to lose muscle mass, as we all do with age. However, he has been running all his life, so he has a solid and solid foundation. He’s always done a ton of good exercises, so his aerobic fitness is pretty solid as well. Unfortunately, he was recently diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy, which means that his hind limbs find it difficult to stay below him. So even though we know we can do nice, long hikes with her, we need to plan a terrain that doesn’t require a ton of back strength. So I am looking for flat and well-maintained paths for my husband.

Your dog may have other challenges. For example, for an elderly dog with vision loss, walking in direct sunlight could serve your dog better than early in the morning or at night. A dog that cannot hear can easily be surprised, so planning walks in parks on a leash will help eliminate the element of a surprise dog that appears without being heard.

Secondly, plan a hike that hits your dog at his Level. With a fit young dog, adding track goals – more miles, rougher terrain, etc.-can be a lot of fun. Who doesn’t love a good challenge? Well, probably your older dog. Check the maps and hiking guides to make sure the distance and conditions suit your Senior. Call the park rangers and ask for details about the terrain.

This planning phase also includes weather monitoring. Most old dogs suffer from some degree of joint pain. Cold temperatures or wet weather can make hiking uncomfortable and increase recovery time. That’s not to say that you can only go hiking on a clear, warm and sunny day (but, my god, doesn’t that sound good?!?!?) but just a reminder to pay attention to the weather. I suggest avoiding frosty conditions, as a slip or fall can be much more difficult for our old friends.

Thirdly, change as needed. This one is so important that it gets its own section!

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