Things to Look for in a Toy for Senior Dogs
Just like humans, your dog’s needs change as they age. Let’s take a look at some important factors to keep in mind when you’re looking for a toy for your senior dog:
Features To Stimulate Their Senses
Some older dogs may have reduced senses like sight, smell, and hearing. This means they need their toys to really stimulate their senses so they can still enjoy playtime. Older dogs may enjoy toys that are brightly colored, which make a lot of noise, or which have a unique texture or smell.
It’s common for older dogs to have lost some teeth or have sensitive teeth and gums. This means softer, flexible toys are essential. Many rubber or chew toys suitable for seniors have softer rubber. If your dog’s mouth is very sensitive, they might prefer a plush toy.
Choosing a toy made from high-quality materials means it’s more likely to last, as well as being better quality overall for your beloved senior pup.
Correct Size for Your Dog
It’s essential to always choose a toy of the right size for your dog. This allows them to play with it properly and make the most out of it.
The Benefits of Play for a Senior Dog
While senior dogs might play differently or slow down a little, playtime is still crucial and has so many benefits. Regular playtime engages a senior dog’s mind and helps to keep their cognitive skills sharp. It can even help to keep doggy dementia at bay.
Senior dogs might need less exercise, but it’s still vital that they keep their body moving. Play can be a fun way to encourage your dog to be a little more active. This activity helps to:
- keep joints and bones healthy
- reduce inflammation
- alleviate pain
- prevent weight gain, as a dog’s metabolism slows down as they age
- slow the progression of arthritis
- reduce the risk of other health issues
- boost your dog’s mood
- provide plenty of fun!
How to Play With a Senior Dog
Playing with a senior dog is very similar to playing with your dog when they were younger, except you need to reduce the intensity and duration of playtime. Like humans, as they age, your dog won’t have as much stamina, so keep play sessions short. Look for signs that they’ve had enough of playing, such as panting, seeming tired, and being reluctant to keep the game going.
Many games may need to be toned down to avoid injury, as your dog’s bones, joints, and teeth won’t be as strong as when they were younger. Be a little more gentle and let them lead the way. If your dog has arthritis or reduced mobility, try to focus on more mentally stimulating games that don’t require vigorous movement.
General Toy Safety Advice
Even senior dogs can destroy toys if they feel like it, so it’s generally a good idea to keep an eye on your dog while they’re playing. If a toy breaks, remove the toy and stop playtime for your dog’s safety.
Dog Toy for a Senior Dog FAQ
At what age is a dog a senior?
The age a dog becomes a senior depends on your dog’s breed and size. In general, a dog becomes a senior between the ages of 7 to 9 for medium and large breed dogs, while small breeds may not be considered senior until they are 10 or 11.
Will a toy mentally stimulate your senior dog?
Yes, the right toy will provide mental stimulation. Look for features that will get your dog’s mind working, such as puzzles and other challenging features.
Do senior dogs still need toys?
Some dogs might not be as interested in toys as they age, but many will still love a toy. You will be able to tell by your dog’s behavior whether they still need toys. Most older dogs are still puppies at heart and love playtime.
Finding the right toy for your senior dog can provide both owner and dog with tons of fun. Playtime for senior pups has many benefits, so be sure to get involved with your dog to help them stay active.