Aging Agility

Time drags on, and sometimes it seems to stand still for our canine friends, and then all at once they’re old. Nova was hale and healthy as a puppy, and then in November I looked down and saw an old dog – thankfully still healthy (we went to the vet to check!), but not quite as springy as she used to be. Maybe she’d been getting slower a while and I just hadn’t seen it until that day? It just seemed sudden, to me…

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that realization – due to sad circumstances, I have never actually owned an old pet. What was I supposed to do for her? How can you make aging as painless as possible for your agility partner?

  • Joint supplements – everyone has their preferred joint supplements. I personally use glucosamine and chondrotin
  • More frequent vet visits – I know it’s not easy, but keeping up with vet visits means you can keep up with any difficulties your dog has, and your vet can help you maintain your dog’s health.
  • Lower heights and contacts – if you see your dog struggling, lower jumps and contacts to make it easier for them. Don’t quit agility, though! Your dog will love the time with you, and live a longer, healthier life with activities like agility.
  • Conditioning – keep your dog’s activity levels up and their muscles going so they don’t seize up.  Healthy dogs in shape don’t get injured as easily as those who are out of shape.
  • Healthy weight and diet – even five extra pounds on a small dog is like twenty to thirty on a human.  Healthy weight is crucial in older dogs.
  • Consider NADAC – Hoopers and just playing in tunnels are a boon to retired dogs.
  • Beds – orthopedic and heated beds offer comfortable resting places for old, tired bones.

Please feel free to share your own ideas and experiences to help others who may have their first aging pet, like me!

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2 Comments on “Aging Agility

  1. I have a 7 year old non-agility dog (rottie-GSD-lab) with canine hip dysplasia.

    She loves to walk the agility course with me (bars on the ground & no contacts).

    Short (walking) retrieves are great.

    Well planned hikes (in areas where cutting the hike short is easy) are fun too.

  2. I have a rescued Golden.. Got her when she was 6 years old. She is now 10 years. I have been doing agility with her for the past 2-3years and can see her aging… I was ready to give up on the agility for her and switched to rally… Thanks to the article about aging agility I may just keep up with the agility with the suggestions given.. When we were at a Rally class she sneeked over to the agility walk and tried it out… Her hint that she missed the agility… Thanks for putting it into prospective for me…… Pat