Aging is inevitable and your energetic Shiba Inu will also grow old. But to keep them healthy, exercising senior Shiba Inu is a must-do.
At this age, you will notice that they’ve become less active, they might not be as enthusiastic about walkies or quick runs outside anymore, and they might no longer want to play with other dogs. This is because, like humans, Shiba Inus, and all dogs in general, slow down as they age. However, even though they have entered their senior years, exercises are still crucial activities that they need for their health.
Signs of Aging Shibu Inu Owners Should Look Out For
Signs of aging can be subtle and they are easily overlooked, especially with busy fur parents. But, keeping an eye out on these signs can help you prevent and catch incoming health issues early on. Remember, prevention is better than cure and early detection makes treatment easier.
Here are signs of aging that dog owners should look out for.
Slowing down. If your dog used to be a runner and loves climbing up hilly tops, then this sign can be quite obvious to catch. If your senior dog is starting to slow down, this could be a sign of arthritis or joint pains.
Weight gain. As your dog ages, you might notice him getting chubbier. These are signs of his metabolism slowing down, getting less exercise, thyroid issues, and other medical conditions. We highly suggest checking in with your veterinarian first to rule out any harmful health issues and from then on, make adjustments to his diet and exercise.
Less responsive. If your lovely pooch has stopped coming when you call him, you might think he is getting stubborn but he might be losing his hearing.
Bathroom accidents. Older dogs need to take more bathroom breaks. If you started noticing your senior dog is having more and more bathroom accidents in the house, leave out pee pads around your home but better if you can go to the vet for a check-up.
Trouble getting up. If your pooch is having trouble getting up after lying or sitting, this can be a sign of joint pain. He might also find it hard to stay on his feet for a long time. If these signs are showing, definitely booked that veterinarian appointment.
Tips on Exercising Senior Shiba Inu
A senior Shiba Inu is prone to acquiring health conditions that will limit their movement. The most common health concern for senior dogs is mobility issues, like arthritis and joint pain. This makes exercising a struggle but it doesn’t mean exercises are completely impossible.
Here we have useful tips, dos, and don’ts in exercising senior Shiba Inu that’ll help them keep their muscles and bones strong, maintain their ideal body weight, and for optimal health.
Visit the Vet
Young Shiba Inu are huge exercisers. They are active, smart, and playful breeds but if they by chance entered their senior age with less exercise due to mobility issues or health concerns, we suggest visiting the veterinarian first before starting a new exercise routine.
Your vet will check your Shiba’s overall health so you’ll know the limits and boundaries. Vets will also recommend what kind of exercises are safe for senior dogs and their muscles and bones.
Adjust activities to meet your Shiba Inu’s needs
There are several reasons why your senior dog isn’t as active and energetic as he once was. It could be age-related concerns like less energy level to health concerns like arthritis that limits his movements. He might not be as enthusiastic as before, especially in doing the things he used to love.
Observe and take notes on all of these. Your Shiba Inu is trying to tell you that he can no longer do this particular activity or it might too be painful or too much for him. Make changes to his exercise routine and choose low-impact and less strenuous activities instead.
Instead of a 3-hour hike or a 5-kilometer run, take him for a relaxed walk or swim instead. Pay attention to your dog’s state during and after these exercises to assure that he is not pushing himself too far. Always prepare to cut any session short and have water with you at all times.
Do not overexert your senior Shiba Inu
Take it slow and easy and avoid overexerting your senior Shiba Inu. Due to his age, aging has already taken a toll on him and while age-appropriate exercises are excellent ways to maintain his health, overexertion can cause stress and injury.
To keep the exercises at a pace your senior dog can cope with, stick to shorter intervals. Instead of walking for an hour straight, you can try a 10-minute walk multiple times a day or quick and easy mind games.
Take note that exercises that do not only refer to physical ones but include mental stimulation as well.
Stick to the routine
All dog training articles you’d read online will always emphasize routines. Dogs love routine and consistency is the key to keeping them in good shape and optimal health. Similar to how you’d teach a new command or establish a feeding routine, sticking to an exercise routine is also a health benefit for your senior dog.
When you make or adjust his exercise plan, make sure it fits into his daily routine and pick a time of the day to solely focus on his physical and mental activities.