Just as we have to stay active in our senior years, so does Fido when he becomes an oldie. Because our furry friends are less active and are easily tired out when they are older, paw-rents are essential in guiding them through age-appropriate stretches to keep their muscles toned without overexerting them.
We’ve listed some exercises that will be easy on your canine’s joints and muscles, while at the same time giving him the workout that he needs to stay on track with his health.
1. Stretching The Hip Flexors
Hip flexors are important in enabling Fido to move his legs and hips when he walks. To stretch this muscle, your dog has to be standing. Grasp a hind leg above your pooch’s knees and move the leg back straight out against the dog’s body.
Carry this out slowly and gently. When you reach a point of resistance where you would have to apply pressure on the leg to move it back further, hold the leg in that position for around 10 to 15 seconds. You can then repeat the stretch two to three times on each back leg.
2. Stretching The Shoulder Flexors
This stretch should also be done with your canine companion standing up. Grasp one of Fido’s front legs above the elbow and place your other hand below his leg to stabilise him. Gently move the leg forward, as if you are attempting to teach your doggy how to give a high five. Similarly, at the point of resistance, hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds.
Repeat the exercise two to three times on each leg as well. Stretching these muscles will help your pooch’s movements become more fluid.
3. Stretching The Chest Area
Your doggy gets to lie down for this stretch! This one’s an abduction stretch, which means that it’s a stretch away from the centre. Hold both of your pooch’s front legs near the wrists and slowly open them up to the side. Hold them there for 10 to 15 seconds again before repeating the exercise twice or thrice.
Don’t forget to give your canine a tummy rub after the exercise, since that’s probably what he was expecting since he lay down.
4. Back Stretches
Stand on one side of your dog. Hold your pooch’s favourite treat in one hand and move the snack away from your dog, towards his tail. Using your other hand, carefully and gently hold his leg (closest to you) back when you rotate the treat so that your dog doesn’t step towards the treat.
Once Fido gets into a C shape while he tries to reach for the treat, hold him in that position for 10 to 15 seconds before stepping to his other side to repeat the exercise. You can repeat this stretch two to three times on each side.
5. Neck Stretches
Your dog can either stand or sit for this exercise. It will be easier to carry out this exercise on larger dogs when they are sitting. If your pooch is standing, stand behind your pooch and place one hand on his belly to make sure that he stays directly in front of you throughout the exercise.
For canines that are sitting for this exercise, sit or squat beside them and place one hand around them to make sure they stay in the sitting position. Hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose before slowly lowering the treat downwards towards your dog’s chest.
Your aim is to get your furry friend to follow your hand until it touches your dog’s chest. Leave the treat near your pooch’s chest for 10 to 15 seconds to get him to hold the position. Once he’s completed the stretch, he will be given the tasty reward!