Best Activities For Dogs With Limited Mobility
Staying active is not only important for humans, but also for animals, which means that your four-legged buddy requires both physical and mental exercise on a regular basis. However, if your dog has restricted mobility, this task may be difficult. But whether it was born with congenital differences, suffered an accident, or is simply old, you must ensure that your dog has at least some physical activity as it is important for its well-being.
While your vet can help you identify what type of activity your dog needs, they won't always be able to provide you with a list of things you can do to keep your dog moving. That is why we want to help. We've consulted the experts from My Sweet Puppy – a blog for dog owners – and came up with some helpful physical exercises that you can try – such as playing with puzzle toys, swimming, and doing targeted training.
However, keep in mind that every dog with limited mobility is unique, which is why you should consult your veterinarian about which activities your pet should avoid. Now, read on – and make sure that your furry friend gets some physical exercise today.
Playing With Puzzle Toys
Most dogs love playing with puzzle toys, especially if they get to do it with their owners. This type of toy is great both for your dog's mental health and for keeping it active. If you use puzzle toys on a regular basis, your dog will be able to move more (at least as much as possible) and remain mentally stimulated.
Plush Puzzle Balls
These balls are a great puzzle toy made of soft plush fabric that is safe for your dog. Your pet will enjoy carrying them around and chewing on them. To add some movement to this game, you can play hide and seek with your pup – just let your dog get a sniff and then put a toy into the closet or any other place where it won't find it easily. However, this activity may not work if your dog doesn't have a good natural instinct for sniffing – in such a case, try the next idea. And remember that if your dog is an aggressive chewer, this toy won't last long.
Treat-Dispensing Chew Toys
The idea behind these toys is that you fill them with small treats that your furry friend needs to reach using its paws and teeth. It'll run around the house trying to get those treats (for example, peanut butter) – which will keep it active and engaged. And if your pup has separation anxiety, it will get something to do while you're away.
These toys are not only great for keeping your dog active, but they will also provide it with some mental exercise and improve his problem-solving.
Simple Colorful Toys
Coming in a variety of bright colors, these toys are perfect for dogs of any age, size, and breed. While a senior dog or a dog with limited mobility may lose interest in simply playing with you, the solution is simple – you need to motivate it by adding a chewing factor. Prepare some treats and invite your dog to get a ball for you in exchange for some yummy food. This is a great alternative for playing fetch – and it will be especially entertaining for your pup if you don't go to a dog park that often anymore.
Alternatively, you can also use a tug toy. However, if your dog suffers from a severe condition, this activity may not be the best, as it puts more strain on your pup's muscles. On the other hand, if you have an elderly dog, playing tug of war can be a great source of joy for it.
Many pups with limited mobility can swim pretty well. This is so because the water supports their body while holding them afloat, which is great for dogs’ joints. For example, if your furry friend suffers from hip dysplasia, swimming will be the perfect low-impact exercise that will help build better muscles and improve its quality of life.
Moreover, this activity can be great for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. It's a perfect way to provide both you and your dog with a physical outlet for excess energy, especially if you make it fun. Just get your dog's favorite toy (choose a floating one) and play fetch in the water – just make sure that your pup doesn't overextend itself and get too tired. Remember that dogs are often unaware of their physical limits, so it's the pet parents who should be cautious during exercises.
For this activity, it may be best to choose an indoor swimming facility designed for dogs. At such a place, you will be able to ensure that your furry friend is as safe as possible – and there are often trained professionals who can help you take care of your pup. However, if there is no such facility in your area, visit a dog beach – just be sure to look after your pup at all times.
It's a great idea to provide your dog with some targeted training every once in a while. If your pup has physical limitations, this activity will allow you to play without too much intensity. For example, you can try some passive range of motion exercises by stretching your dog or giving it a light massage – this will increase circulation, improve tissue and organ function, and relax your pet.
You can ask your friend or partner to help you during targeted training – for example, by keeping your dog relaxed and still. However, before trying it, make sure to consult your vet to determine the best exercises or massage techniques. This way, you will be able to prevent accidental injuries.
Your dog has many years of life left, and he deserves to enjoy each of them. One of the best ways to ensure that your furry friend enjoys its life is to make sure that it gets enough exercise – especially if it suffers from limited mobility. While this condition (whether caused by old age, health issues, or injury) should make you extra cautious, it also means that your dog is unable to move much by itself. This is why you must provide it with physical activity that is both safe and efficient – such as playing with puzzle toys, swimming, or engaging in targeted training.
If you want your four-legged friend to enjoy a long and happy life, try the exercises mentioned in this article – and we are sure that you will keep your dog entertained and healthy.