a group of dogs sitting next to each other.
20% Off
New Dog
Boarding Clients!
Valid 01/01/24 thru 02/28/24
Logo of fon jon pet care featuring a brown cartoon dog with a green tennis ball and text highlighting 70 years of pet care services in san diego.
walking old dog

A Complete Guide to Exercising a Senior Dog (Part 1)

Taking the dog for a walk is a healthy, wholesome activity for both humans and animals. It’s a great source of exercise, promotes bonding, and encourages a healthy lifestyle. Dogs love it too – but sometimes, special allowances have to be made for dogs who are past their prime.


How often should senior dogs exercise?

old dog on walk resting
Be aware of your dog’s attitude, his breathing, and even his heart rate. If he looks at all over-exerted, stop. Do not force him to go on.

The answer to this question will be different for every dog. Dogs are individuals, with individual needs. Consider how often, and how far, your dog has been walked in the past month or year. If your dog is used to daily walks, keep to this schedule; but, don’t go as fast or as far as you would with a younger dog. Let your companion set the pace. If it looks like your dog is getting tired, or if exercising exacerbates their health problems, don’t push it. Stop immediately. Let your friend rest. Start small, building up to longer excursions over an extended period of time. Begin with a brief 10-minute stroll. Increase the distance over time; or, increase the number of short walks, giving your dog time to recuperate in-between. This is especially important for a dog who hasn’t been exercised in a while. Don’t underestimate the value of short walks. Something as simple as going up and down the street will bring joy to your senior dog, without putting too much stress on their body. Additionally, consider consulting with your veterinarian before launching your dog into a new workout regimen. A trained professional can give you personalized tips and advice, and help customize your dog’s new lifestyle to their individual needs.


Keep an eye out for poor weather conditions!

gray hair on old walking dog
A lot of attention is given to the dangers of the sun in times of hot weather. Cold temperatures can be just as serious.

Watch out for poor weather conditions. If your dog has joint pain or arthritis, avoid walks on chilly, damp days. If going outside is unavoidable, gently massage the affected areas. Upon returning inside, give your dog a warm, dry place to recover. Similarly, avoid brisk, cold, windy days. Cold wind can cause inner-ear and balance issues for dogs, especially seniors. If your dog is obese or has joint/leg issues, consider aquatic-based therapy. This specialized physical therapy takes place in tubs or pools. Water eases the weight on the legs and makes it possible for an otherwise handicapped dog to exercise. Talk to your veterinarian to determine if aquatic therapy would benefit your senior companion.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at some indoor exercises for dogs who may not be able to go on walks anymore. Engage your dog’s mind. Consider investing in things to entertain your dog. For example, you could purchase a toy that dispenses a treat when a button is pressed. Old dogs can learn new tricks. Mental stimulation will improve your dog’s quality of life, especially if they can’t go for walks. Whatever routine you choose, don’t overdo it. Stop at the first signs of pain or discomfort. Exercising should be beneficial and relaxing, and if your senior is struggling, you need to make allowances for them. Make exercising a team effort, with you and your dog slowly improving together.


If your dog’s health problems worsen, or pain persists even once your dog is rested up, seek professional help promptly. A vet can figure out the problem and prescribe the appropriate treatment.  With their guidance, gentle walks and time, your senior dog will be living their best life.

Fon Jon Pet Care has been serving the San Diego area for more than 30 years. We can help you with your dog training, daycare, and boarding. Call us today at 858-280-3657


The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute veterinary advice. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented, it should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary guidance. Always consult a qualified veterinarian for specific advice tailored to your pet’s individual needs and health condition.

a group of dogs sitting next to each other.

20% Off
for New
Boarding Clients!
*not applicable during major holidays

a blue rectangle with a blue background.

Petcare articles

view all articles
Two volunteers in matching t-shirts smile as they play with a pug in front of a house.
April 5, 2024

Pet-Friendly Evacuation Shelters in San Diego

Handling emergencies involving pets can be challenging. One way to help keep your pets safe during a natural disaster such as flooding or fires we recommend is having a list of pet friendly shelters in your pet’s emergency go bag…

dog being rescued by an old man
April 5, 2024

Tips for Finding a Lost Pet After a Natural Disaster

Finding a misplaced pet after a natural disaster might seem like a daunting task. However, there are effective strategies and resources that can increase the chances of a happy reunion. Our goal is to provide you with practical tips that…

A dog laying on a towel with a first aid kit.
March 6, 2024

Preparing for Disasters: Tips & Dog Emergency Kits

It is our responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of our pets during times of crisis or natural catastrophe. Many of us consider our beloved pets more than just animals; they are loved ones who complete our families and…

female owner carrying her orange cat
March 6, 2024

What is Positive Reinforcement Cat Training

Some folks claim that training a cat is impossible. They are completely mistaken. Cats are true experts when it comes to training; in fact, they have the whole concept nailed. Just consider how they’ve conditioned YOU to satisfy their every…

dog yoga with owner
February 2, 2024

Indoor Exercises for Dogs When the Weather is Bad

Guide on Indoor Exercises No matter how bad the weather gets, your beloved pet still needs their daily dose of play and exercise. It is our belief at Fon Jon Pet Care that your dog needs regular indoor exercise and…

A jack russell terrier sitting on a doormat with the word "home" written on it, looking directly at the camera.
February 2, 2024

Tips on How to Help with Separation Anxiety in Puppies

Puppy separation anxiety is a typical problem that many pet owners encounter. When a puppy is afraid of being alone, it may exhibit this behavioral problem. If you care about your pet’s health, you must learn about this issue and…

dalmation dog with happy new year headband
January 4, 2024

Dog Owner New Year Resolutions 2024: How to Make Your Dog Happy

With the arrival of the new year comes an ideal opportunity for dog owners to make resolutions that prioritize the happiness and health of their beloved pets. Both you and your dog will benefit from an uptick in the quality…

sick dog with ice pack on top of his head
January 4, 2024

Sick Dog Symptoms: Learn What to Watch For

If you are a dedicated dog owner, you have a responsibility to keep an eye on your pet’s vital signs. Being able to identify the signs of a sick dog goes beyond simply treating them when they’re sick; it also…

happy dog with santa hat carried by female owner
December 1, 2023

A Guide to Soothing Your High Anxiety Dog During Holiday Gatherings

Everyone looks forward to the Christmas season because it is a time to rejoice, celebrate, and spend time with those they care about. On the other hand, the holidays can cause stress and anxiety for our canine companions. Many animals,…

Woman holding a poinsettia plant with a decorated christmas tree in the background.
December 1, 2023

Deck the Halls with Caution: Toxic Holiday Plants for Your Pets

Many people bring seasonal plants into their homes as the holiday season rolls around to help get everyone in the spirit. Unfortunately, not all festive plants are harmless to our pets, and it’s not always easy to tell which ones…

Person filling out a pet insurance form at a wooden desk, with documents and a pen in hand.
November 1, 2023

What to Know Before Getting Pet Insurance for Your Dog

Dog owners can rest easy knowing that any medical emergencies or accidents that may occur during their pet’s lifespan are covered by pet insurance. The pet insurance industry, like the human insurance market, is flooded with options, making it difficult…

dog Groomer trimming hair of a small dog
November 1, 2023

Tips for Selecting a Dog Groomer

The health of your dog depends on more than simply good food and veterinary checkups. Trimming the fur, clipping the nails, and cleaning the ears are all part of grooming your dog. Professional dog groomers provide a variety of services…

Have a

Get a response within 24 hours

Valid 01/01/24 thru 02/28/24

Don’t Miss Out on our New Specials!

20% OFF

new dog boarding clients

A small brown and white dog sitting on a white background.

50% OFF

new cat boarding clients

A tabby cat waving its paw in the air.

20% OFF

new dog daycare on first package purchased

Two dogs sitting next to each other on a white background.

50% Off For New Cat Boarding Clients!

Request Your Boarding Dates

20% Off For New Dog Boarding Clients!

Request Your Boarding Dates