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Playing With An Older Dog

September 1 2022

Is your canine pal a senior? Don’t stop playing with him. Fido will always be a puppy at heart, and playing will still benefit him, both mentally and physically. However, you’ll need to approach doggy playtime a bit differently now. A San Diego, CA vet offers some advice on playing with a senior pooch below.

Don’t Overdo It

The first rule of playing with an older dog? Take care not to overexert your canine buddy! Fido will tire out pretty quickly, but he may also try to push himself if he thinks that’s what you want. As soon as you notice your pet panting or slowing down, call an end to doggy playtime.

Switch The Focus

As your furry bff ages, he’ll slow down, and won’t have as much zip as he once did. While it’s important for him to get some exercise, mental stimulation is also beneficial. Start incorporating games that test Fido’s mind. Hide and Seek is a good option, You can also play puzzle games, or a doggy version of Cups.

Be Careful

Older dogs are often prone to arthritis, and many develop hip dysplasia. Jumping and standing on the back legs can exacerbate these conditions. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Get Appropriate Toys

Puppies are voracious chewers, and need sturdy toys that can hold up to all of that gnawing. Older dogs, however, often prefer softer toys. Fido may also like toys that light up or squeak, as these may be easier for him to track.

Choose The Right Spot

Always play with Fido on a flat, soft surface, such as a grassy lawn or a thick carpet. Avoid spots that are slippery, steep, and or hard: your four-legged friend could get hurt if he were to slip and fall. Stay away from pools, fireplaces, and other potential dangers as well.


Do you have more than one pooch? Depending on how close they are, you may want to play with them separately. This really depends on the dogs, however, some pups really enjoy playing with their buddies. Just choose Fido’s playmates carefully. 

Enjoy It

Don’t think of playing with Fido as a chore. Enjoy this time with your canine friend! You may find that these moments with your cute pet become cherished memories.

Is your senior dog due for an appointment? Contact us, your San Diego, CA animal clinic!

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