Dogs make perfect partners for summer adventures! There are so many outdoor activities to be enjoyed this time of year while creating unforgettable memories and building upon the bond with your furry best friend. But, as the years go by, your once limitless energetic ball of fluff will start to slow down – their joints may be a little creaky, and a simple walk around the block may take a lot out of them. Senior dogs still need exercise and entertainment to stay healthy and happy. Instead of leaving your aging dog indoors while enjoying the summer weather, consider these modified activities!

If your pet has health issues that restrict their play, consult with your vet on how to modify your summertime fun to fit your pet’s specific needs. Use caution when spending prolonged time outdoors with your pet in hot weather; be sure to provide them with plenty of water, shade, and an air-conditioned area to cool down.

  1. Swimming is fun for dogs of all ages! It’s a good exercise that is low-impact and easier on the joints. Plus, it’s an excellent way to stay cool in the summer heat. Make sure there is an easy way for your dog to get out, and if there’s a risk of venturing into deep water, have your dog wear a life jacket.
  2. Go on shorter, more frequent walks. Even if the level of your dog’s activity is progressively reducing, they will continue to enjoy the outdoors with you. Walking – even if it’s 30 minutes a day – is enough to prevent obesity and keep your pet’s muscles in good condition. The sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors also keep their minds alert and active.
  3. Keep them social. If your dog has always been outgoing and social, be sure to find a way to maintain interactions with other humans or other dogs. When you go out to get the mail or talk to a neighbor, take your senior dog with you. Take them to a dog park or schedule some play dates with other neighborhood pooches. Consider bringing them to a pet-friendly coffee house or the pet store. Your dog may play for a bit, or they may nap side-by-side, but maintaining your dog’s social relationships will help them to feel loved and young at heart.
  4. Plan a road trip. Pick a nice day and drive around and crack open the windows! Dogs of all ages enjoy feeling the wind in their fur and the excitement of hitting the road. Your dog will enjoy napping next to you and exploring the change in scenery. Research hotels or other lodging options that allow dogs along your route, and find attractions like a dog-friendly beach or the perfect picnic spot!
  5. Take a family photo shoot. Capture happy memories with your family and your senior dog! Where are your dog’s favorite places? Shoot in several locations from their favorite nap spot in your home to your local park. For blind or deaf dogs, using treats is a good way to get them to focus on the camera. Allow plenty of time to capture your photographs – senior dogs like to move at their own rhythm and this gives you the opportunity to capture candid moments.

What do you have planned to do with your senior dog this summer? Blood tests detect hidden medical problems that might get serious if left undetected. Blood tests are essential for identifying disease at the earliest, most treatable stage. Contact your preferred Animal Health Center clinic to schedule your pet’s bloodwork today!