Use fun games to unlock the benefits of playtime for senior dogs

To make fetch more exciting for your older dog, try using a different toy and playing keep-away before finally throwing it.

Older dogs must stay active and engaged to combat health problems that become more dangerous with age.

Fun and stimulation are crucial in their daily life. Dogs rely on a strong sense of smell to explore their environment, so activating this sense is beneficial.

Puzzle games and scent-based activities are great for mental stimulation.

Keeping senior dogs active doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming.

A short daily play session can make all the difference in their physical and mental well-being and is an important part of older dog care.

It is important to choose games that are safe for your dog’s size, ability level, and any health issues they may have.

Game 1: Hide and seek

One of the many fun games you can play with your older dog is Hide and Seek. This game has several benefits for your furry friend’s mental and physical health.

For one, it teaches your dog that staying close to you is rewarding and encourages them to stick around. It also provides mental stimulation and physical exercise for your dog, which helps keep them sharp and agile.

During a game of hide and seek, you hide from your dog while playfully calling their name. You can also reward them with treats when they successfully find you. This engagement challenges their body and mind, keeping them active even as they age.

What’s great about this game is that it’s perfect for senior dogs or those facing health challenges.

The hide-and-seek concept doesn’t require intense physical activity but still keeps your pooch engaged mentally while spending time with you.

Game 2: Fetch with a twist

Who says fetch has to be a boring game? Spice things up by adding a fun twist to fetch.

Introduce the fetch toy, such as a frisbee or ball, and reward your dog with treats for engaging with it. Testing different toys can help you identify which ones your dog is most interested in.

To elevate the excitement of playing catch, play keep-away for a little bit and motivate them by letting them “taste” the toy before finally throwing it.

Once they grasp the idea of catch, teach your older dog simple commands like “drop” or “give” to signal when chow time is over.

Limiting access to their favorite toy outside playtime is essential because prolonged access can lead to an object of obsession that could hinder training goals or overall well-being.

Playing fetch is an excellent way to bond with your furry best friend and great exercise for them. So get creative and introduce a new level of excitement during this classic game.

Tug of war offers numerous benefits for older dogs. Choose a durable toy, pick a safe area with no distractions or hazards, and monitor your dog’s behavior.

Game 3: Puzzle toys and treats

For senior dogs, puzzle toys and treat dispensers are an excellent way to provide mental stimulation and entertainment.

One recommended option by veterinarians is the KONG Senior Dog Toy. Its unique shape makes it ideal for stuffing with treats or food, providing a tasty challenge for your pup and helping clean their teeth and soothe their gums.

Other beginner-friendly options include the KONG Classic, which can be filled with peanut butter or other soft treats, and the West Paw Qwizl, which allows you to insert sticks or larger biscuits.

The Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel is another great starter option that features plush squeaker toys that can be hidden in the included tree trunk for your dog to find.

Game 4: Tug of war

Tug of war is a classic game that both dogs and humans can enjoy. It’s fun and has numerous benefits for senior dogs, including getting rid of excess energy and teaching self-control and manners.

Follow these rules to teach your dog and family to play tug safely.

Firstly, choose a durable tug toy with a good grip on the hands and dog’s jaws. Pick a safe and spacious area without distractions or dangerous objects where you can control the game. Remember that you control the game and should get to decide when it ends.

Playing tug mimics natural predation behavior that helps dogs practice instinctual behavior, preventing destructive chewing. Tug-of-war dog toys are available in materials like rubber and rope in various shapes and sizes.

Contrary to popular belief, playing tug does not make dogs more aggressive.

Play growling is normal, but owners should monitor the behavior and set limits if necessary. With frequent tug play, senior dogs can improve their muscle tone while enjoying time spent with their owners.

Safety tips for playing with older dogs

As a dog owner, it’s important to remember some safety tips when playing with your older furry companion.

First and foremost, you should always supervise your dog to ensure its safety. This is especially important if they have any mobility issues or health concerns.

Next, ensure that indoor and outdoor environments are safe for your dog. Keep hazardous items out of reach and secure any areas that might pose a threat. Additionally, be mindful of the temperature, as older dogs may struggle with extreme heat or cold.

It’s also essential to adapt activities to your dog’s physical abilities.

While some activities may have been easy for them in the past, they may no longer be able to participate at the same level due to aging joints or medical conditions.

Allow them frequent rest breaks during playtime, and never push them beyond their limits.

Keep in mind that when selecting these alternatives: the activities you provide should meet your dog’s limitations yet still bring enjoyment, promoting well-being and bonding moments between you two; therefore, choose according to individual temperament factors too.


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