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Exercising Older Dogs

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Nonnie, Jan 3, 2012.


  1. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    For those of you with older dogs (over 10, less for the giant breeds i guess) what sort of exercise does your dog get? How do they act on walks ie plodding along? Do they ever suffer after long walks with stiffness or tiredness? What sort of distance/duration/terrain do you cover?

    Alfie is 12. On average he gets 3-4 hours of offlead exercise a day in the countryside, so various terrain. I occasionally cycle with him, although ive petered that off slightly as its a forced rather than chosen speed for him (he's not attached, but his trot is about twice what it normally is).

    When i walk him alone, he trots almost everywhere, and has moments where he tears abouts. When i take him out with Oscar he bombs back and forth constantly, leaping over things, hurling himself off of embankments and generally runs riot.

    He has no joint issues at all (i do give him a supplement though), is never stiff, never lame, and never shows signs of being tired. We got lost a few weeks back and did a 6 hour long walk and he was still up for playing in the evening.

    This is him after 3 hours of exercise, and he does this almost every evening: Staffordshire Bull Terrier with the Zoomies - YouTube

    Up until recently, ive never given his age much thought. He is a fit, healthy dog in my eyes, but one of the vets i see (not the nice one thankfully) has told me im over exercising him and that its detrimental to his health. But i can't see how.

    Im of the opinion that if he is willing, able and doesn't suffer for it, then he can walk as much as he likes. He's a drama queen, so im pretty sure i'd know if he was in pain. He limps if he so much as looks as a thorn.

    Im must curious as to the abilities of other dogs as Alfie is my first older dog (of my own) that ive experienced that hasn't actually shown signs of aging and slowing down.
     
  2. RockRomantic

    RockRomantic Gobsh!te

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    Max is 11/12 years now, he has problems with his hips runs around the house fine and plays, id say in all he has around 50-60 minutes outside a day, otherwise he suffers for it, but we do try keep him active inside the house more lately, he could keep walking if i let him but the next you can tell he's in pain.
     
  3. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

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    My 11.5 year old has been commented on very recently by her vet, by a trainer, and osteopath and a masseuse as not looking her age at all in being in superb condition. Two people thought she was a youngster!

    I work full time so I am afraid we do not have the luxury of 3 - 4 hour walks or more per day plus I have another dog that I need to train.

    She still goes out on the bike with me 2/3 times a week. She is not as fast as she was and she has a mild degree of laryngeal collapse which makes her breathing heavy sometimes.

    No joint issues of which I am aware
     
  4. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    What breed if you don't mind me asking? Some seem to stay very active well into their teens.
     
  5. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

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    My last Goldie used to work a full day on the shoot at 13 but as you know Alfie struggles with hills at 10.
    It really does depend on the dog and any detriment is going to be minor in comparison with the pleasure he and you get from your outings :)

    You know I've talked my vet around even though my boy has arthritis :D
    I asked her once how much damage I may be causing and she said it probably would only make maximum of 6 months difference to his life by keep on how we were.

    3-5years of outings and fun compared to 3-5 years of sitting at home bored :rolleyes:
    No contest :)

    Your Alfie will definitely tell you when it's time to slow down :thumbup:
     
  6. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

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    Weimaraner
     
  7. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    I did ask the vet in what way it was detrimental, and she commented on wear and tear of the joints, but id have thought damage would already be apparent after 12 years. Maybe she was making the assumption that all elderly animals become arthritic. Im not her biggest fan tbh.

    Im a quality over quantity person, but i'd hate to feel like i was pushing him too far.

    Or not at all like today, as he's gone into hiding because of the rain :rolleyes:
    Thanks.

    Activity into old age is one factor i will consider in the future if i ever get another dog, and consider other breeds.
     
  8. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

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    To be honest, within reason, when they get past 10 and they have been treated right throughout their life, you just ask them, they know what they want ;)

    Oscar being an exception :lol:
     
  9. kat&molly

    kat&molly PetForums VIP

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    Our old JRT cross, lived to be 18, she had fabulous health, and could have coped with the exercise Alfie is having.
    My JRT we have now not even 8 couldn't but she has Arthritis. She has her walks but I couldn't do more than about an hour and a half at a time. If you think Alfies ok and it sounds like he is I wouldn't worry.
     
  10. Nellybelly

    Nellybelly PetForums VIP

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    I really enjoyed watching that video - missed seeing your 2.

    I wasn't lucky enough to have my Nelson reach old age:( He wasn't even 9 when he had to let him go because of some horrible disease. He had many health problems from the day we rescued him at 8 weeks, various of these were orthopaedic problems including luxating patellas and also IVDD.

    I know a few people with older dogs though. The examples I am thinking of are a friend with a 13 year old poodle cross who gets at least 2 hours walking a day (lots of this off lead too) and she seems really healthy and in no pain.
    The other person I am thinking of has a 17 year old miniature poodle. She was never exercised consistently and started showing signs of arthritis at around 10 years of age...and has deteriorated a lot now. She is on joint supplements (chondroitin and glucosamine) but doesn't move around much any more.

    These 2 examples are in no way representative or conclusive... but I think if a dog is fit and healthy enough and able to enjoy exercise that this can only be a good thing. (of course for puppies/ young dogs it is important not to over-exercise them). But I cannot see how this is an issue with an older dog.
     
  11. haeveymolly

    haeveymolly PetForums VIP

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    Harvey is going on 12, yes he has slowed up a little and is a little less agile but no way would you believe his age to look at him and to see him run around, tbh i wont restrict harveys exercise (unless an illness dictated otherwise) but as far as "just" old age goes i will and do let him do just as he likes if this shortened his age i would rather him live "x" ammount of time less that live longer plodding around with his life restricted, because that would only benefit me.

    I feel so lucky to have harvey at 11 he is the oldest dog we have ever owned, his brother had to be restricted, could only go out in certain temperatures and no wind, and the walks he did have was extremely stressful for me and that was at 7yrs, the ilness was hereditary and harvey is very lucky not to be effected, so if harvey wants to charge around at 90mph then i let him.
     
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