Thursday, January 22, 2015

5 Things to Know About Exercising Your Arthritic Dog

Riley is 8 years old, and it's clear that his tolerance for long walks isn't what it used to be.  Though a diagnosis for arthritis has not yet been given, the way his back legs stiffen and bother him after more than a few blocks definitely concerns me.  He is clearly feeling some discomfort in his joints...yet he still needs to get a good amount of daily exercise.

Since I've dealt with several arthritic dogs in rescue, I have often asked myself the question:  How can I exercise a dog suffering from pain related to arthritis?

Senior dogs still need daily exercise!  (from here)

1.  Make sure all exercise is done on a soft surface.  Hard pavement and concrete can be rough on an older pup's joints.  If possible, walks and playtime should be done on grass or another soft surface.

2.  Try swimming...  While swimming is great exercise for all dogs, it's especially good for seniors.  It is relatively low-impact and keeps their joints and muscles moving without being painful.  Swimming can also be very relaxing and therapeutic for your dog!

3.  ...Or low-intensity games.  Keep up the short walks if that's what your dog is used to, by all means, but if your older pet isn't up for a walk, consider playing some fun indoor games.  Try hide and seek, fetch, or "find it" using treats or pieces of kibble.

4.  Consider weight management.  Even a few extra pounds can be extremely painful on your dog's inflamed joints.  Exercising your senior dog and keeping him at a normal weight is a necessity, as any extra weight puts more pressure on those joints.

5.  Give him a doggie massage!  Pet massages are becoming more and more popular, and they are especially beneficial to those with arthritis.  Not only does massage help your dog feel loved and pampered, it can also help with discomfort, poor circulation, and flexibility.

Source:  Vet Street 


  1. Great post! My in laws are having just this problem with an older springer spaniel, she was used to great long walkies but she just can't manage them these days even though she thinks she can!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

    1. Aw, it is definitely heartbreaking - these older dogs want so badly to walk the distances they used to, but it's just not good for their joints. :( Getting old is no fun, but it's good that we have options to keep them active!

  2. My Kuvasz sister is 12 1/2 and has been bothered by arthritis for several years now. One of the first things we noticed was she loves to walk on the grass rather than the road or asphalt paths. She showed us, so you are correct there. She is a great weight too, but with life things progress and it simply keeps getting worse. For her, our Minnesota winters are where she feels the best and walks the most. We think it is the dry air. Thanks for joining the hop.

  3. Great post and great advice. Making sure your senior continues to move and get exercise is critical to combating arthritis.

  4. These are all great tips to keep in mind to ensure our senior dogs stay active and happy!

  5. Ooh! I want a doggy massage! I know what I'M doing this weekend! ;) *wags* - Gilligan from

  6. It can be a viscious circle, walk to lose weight, but arthristis makes it too painful to walk. Great suggestions! Love Dolly

  7. Good advice. I haven't had to deal with this problem yet but I'll keep it in mind.

  8. My Chester is 12. He hasn't been diagnosed with arthritis, and is still very active for his age, but I notice that he walks slower when we are on pavement. I suspect it is hard on his joints and less comfortable.