How To Spend Quality Time With Senior Dogs

While puppies sure are cute and snuggly, there’s something to be said for the grown ass adult dogs out there. They come trained. Your shoes stay intact. They let you sleep through the whole night. Like fine wine, they get better with age. And yet, you may have questions when your dog enters her golden years (or if adopting a gray-muzzled beauty): How do you entertain an old dog? How do you keep a senior dog happy? Fear not! We have seniors, we love seniors, and we’re here to make you love senior woofs too.

Adapt Your Walks

Your senior dog probably isn’t going to train with you for that upcoming marathon (or even 5K), but she still enjoys fresh air and enrichment. Take more frequent, shorter walks, or stop for breaks along a pre-planned route (letting pup go as slow or fast as she’d like). Don’t forget to pack the water and snacks! 

Another option when the ole legs just can’t go as far as they used to, invest in a dog stroller, or stack a few comfy blankets in your old Radioflyer wagon. Pup’ll enjoy the fresh air, outside smells, and attention she gets along the way. 

Try Scent Work

A dog’s sight and hearing senses typically diminish with age, but that old sniffer don’t quit. If you’re looking for mental stimulation for older dogs, scent work is a grrrr-eat activity. Hide some stinky treatos in boxes, under cones, in a snuffle mat, or really anywhere, then let pup go to work. Check out our enrichment series for lots of scent work game ideas. 

Keep Pup Comfortable

You may need to adapt some areas of your home to keep pup comfortable as he ages. Provide ramps, so he can still get on the couch or in bed with you. Lift food bowls off the ground. Here are some ideas for keeping the home comfortable for senior dogs.

Dog massage is another way to reduce pup’s aging-related pain and strengthen your bond. Learn more about dog massage benefits and techniques here

A senior female Jack Russell terrier with her female owner
When mom asks who’s the cutest dog like you don’t know the answer. | Shaun Wadham

Plan Special Outings

Your dog might not have the energy to go everywhere with you like she did in her younger years, but still enjoys car rides, socialization, and time spent together. So instead of bringing pup along to run errands, plan a trip just for her. Go to the dog park, even if she only lasts 10 minutes, or prefers observing to playing. Go to a dog-friendly store when you have time to browse versus grabbing one item and running out the door. If your dog’s a foodie, go to a restaurant with a dog menu, or sniff out a doggy bakery. If she loves the outdoors, plan a picnic. Consider your dog’s favorite activities, and then let your creative mind plan the pawfect outing. 

Give Them Your Time

Maybe your pup used to love playing fetch or going on hikes, but if we had to guess what he really loved about the activities, it’s that you did them together. Remember that all time spent together is quality time. Invite pup onto the couch to snuggle in while you’re watching reality TV or reading. Spread a blanket out in the backyard, and you two can lie down together. Surprise them with breakfast in bed! Anytime you can sneak in a snuggle or nap will be much appreciated. 

What do you do to spend quality time with your senior dogs? Let us know in the comments section!

Featured photo: Pezibear

Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagramthen check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

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