Senior Pets Exercises for Aging Bodies
There are three specific kinds of exercises that help senior pets' aging bodies: 1) passive range-of-motion (PROM) exercises, 2) exercises that maintain balance and fluid movement and 3) exercises that target the big, body-supporting muscles like the hamstrings and gluteals.
Here are some ways that you can help keep your aging pet strong.
1. Passive Range of Motion Exercises
Lay your pet comfortably on their side. Gently flex and extend each limb, one at a time, holding each position for about ten seconds
It's important to keep the leg's position parallel to the body wall to avoid torque on the joints. It's also important not to hyperextend the wrists or ankles.
2. Balance and Movement Exercises, "Cookie Reaches"
Have your pet in a standing position. The goal is to have the dog extend and reach for the treat without taking any steps. Offer the cookie from various angles to stretch in different directions.
The pet is rewarded with the treat when he achieves the desired position. The exercise can be made more challenging by requiring the dog to hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
3. Hamstring and Gluteal Exercises
The side-stepping exercise strengthens the glutes and lateral thigh muscles. Stand facing your dog's side, with one hand on her collar and one hand on the opposite hip.
Step into your pet until she steps to the side with a lateral move, but no forward motion.
You can start with 3 to 5 steps and work up to 10 to 15 steps in each direction.
Other large-muscle strengthening exercises include walking up a hill or stairs, and sit-to-stand .
For more information about keeping your senior pet active, visit Dr. Becker's blog here