Our oldies are the main reason I got into rehabilitation and conditioning. These guys deserve the best care and our love in their golden years. They crave mental stimulation.
Physical rehabilitation gives them mental stimulation that has been shown to delay Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. It also gives you some special time with your dog, training them again, spending time with them. Balance and body awareness are often decreased in older dogs. Rehabilitation helps increase mobility, flexibility, strength, endurance and decreases pain. As we age, our joints tend to get stiff and less mobile. Our joints need joint fluid and mobility to stay healthy. Joint mobilizations and manipulations can help keep joints healthy and mobile. Before starting a conditioning program with your older dog, a wellness exam and blood panel from your referring veterinarian is recommended. As our dogs get older, their kidneys can become inefficient, making them at more risk for dehydration. Their heart and lungs don’t adapt as efficiently to exercise, so be sure to take it slow. Remember they probably don’t see and hear very well, so go slow and realize building muscle in an older dog takes time, but the effort is truly worth it.