senior smile

Every day I seem to spot a dog, white creeping over his face like a mask, who simply refuses to acknowledge his age. I think, "Careful! Don't dislocate that hip!" when I watch them bounce around like pogo sticks, and "Watch where you're going!" when I notice their eyesight is no longer 100%.

The truth is, dogs only get "old," mentally, if you let them--your best friend would stay young at heart forever if his body could keep up. The good news is you can help them stay alert, active, and healthy simply by encouraging that lifestyle. So don't quit now: they've got a lot more livin' to do.

Source: @spottydoxie

1. Nose work

Also known as scent or search work, dogs of all ages enjoy using their strongest tool to solve a problem. Dogs are literally led by their noses; it gives them a lot of the information available regarding the world around them. Let your pup submit to his natural instinct to hunt and you might just find his puppy-spirit shine through a little brighter.
Source: @moonikin

2. Puzzle toys

These toys often come in the form of a ball, like the Mazee, or a stationary game, like the BUSTER Activity Mat. They're great for food-motivated pups and give those brain muscles a good workout.

3. Whistle balls

For older dogs whose eyesight isn't so sharp, whistle balls like the Bird Ball and the Chuckit! Whistler make it easier to track them through the air. Plus, they make a game of fetch more realistic in terms of prey hunting, which makes the whole ordeal just plain fun. To meet any senior dogs' needs, check out glow-in-the-dark balls or softer rubber toys as well.

4. Sniffer walks

Okay, so I made up this term. But all I encourage you to do is take your dog on an ordinary walk without discouraging all the sniff-stops along the way. If your pup wants to investigate every single bush, tree, and hydrant along the path, let him! It's low-stress exercise and is a nice mental workout as they identify different scents.
Source: @beardietess

5. Swimming

Taking a dip in the pool (or whatever body of water you have access to) is fantastic exercise without the additional stress on those senior joints. Just bring along some floating toys and have at it! Though swimming is a more gentle form of exercise, always keep an eye on your pup to ensure he doesn't overexert himself.
Source: @angieausberlin

6. Grooming and petting

Sometimes it helps to do absolutely nothing. Every so often, just engage in some quality bonding time and pet or brush your dog for a bit. Many pups enjoy the sensation, and it's a good destress exercise for you both.

8. Give 'em love

For Pete's sake, if dogs want anything in life it's to be loved by their best friend in the whole world: YOU! There's no reason to treat them any differently just because they've got a few years under their belts. And if you love them like you have since day one, chances are they'll try with all their might not to slow down.
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8 Fun Ways To Keep Your Senior Pup Spritely In His Golden Years

H/t Dogster