Staying active and having a pet are two things that can keep seniors happy and healthy. Whether you walk along the beach or down the street, your furry friend won’t mind as long as you two are together.
Take a look at our top five outdoor activities for seniors with dogs:
1. A Trip To The Beach
For those of us near the coast, there really isn’t a more fun-filled spot for you and your canine companion.
I live near San Francisco, home to cable cars, sourdough bread, and one of the best beaches for dogs out there: Fort Funston. Located across the street from the San Francisco Zoo, Fort Funston is what many locals refer to as “dog heaven”. It’s a long stretch of coastline filled with both flat, and hilly, trails as well as a mile of sand along the Pacific Ocean.
Even if you don’t live in sunny California, the beach is a great outdoor place to go. The feel of the sand beneath your feet can be quite relaxing. Check out http://www.beachfinder.org/ to find a beach near you. This site also provides tons of information on beach dining, lodging, and provides a list of the best beaches in America.
2. Playing At The Dog Park
The popularity of dog parks has been growing steadily over the past few years. These are open outdoor areas that allow your dog to run and play and socialize, and well, be a dog.
Dog parks are typically large enough to allow your dog the freedom to run, while having fences on all sides so your dog can get the wiggles out in a safe environment. It’s also a nice place to relax and socialize with other dog owners. It’s easy to bond over the silly things that our pets do and commiserate over some of the not-so-cute responsibilities of being a pet owner.
Dog parks, as well as most parks, are always B.Y.O.T. (Bring Your Own Toys) so make sure to have a ball or two with you when you go. Here is a list of the best dog toys that your pup is sure to love. Oh, and don’t forget water for both you and your dog. To find a dog park near you, use National Geographic’s Dog Park Locator.
3. Taking A Neighborhood Stroll
A stroll around your neighborhood is always nice. Dogs aren’t picky either, so even if the view isn’t the best, your dog will just be happy to be at your side anywhere outdoors. If you enjoy where you’re at and what you’re doing, chances are your dog will as well.
Taking a long walk around the block is a great way to clear your head after a long day at the office. It also is refreshing to be around nature and spend time interacting with other people on the street, if you tend to spend most of your time indoors.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, people who walk dogs experience better overall health than those who don’t. Dog walkers tend to have lower BMI, lower blood pressure, slimmer waistlines, and fewer chronic health conditions.
4. Going For A Swim
Swimming is great for people of all ages, it’s low-impact and does not stress your joints. The same goes with dogs, should you have a dog willing to take the plunge (pun intended) try taking your dog on a swim. Many dogs are natural swimmers, but even those who aren’t can typically learn fairly quickly.
Did you know? Life vests for dogs are now available so your buddy can be safe in the water. You can find them on Amazon for affordable prices. You should consider getting one of these if your dog isn’t a strong swimmer, is old, or is likely to tire out quickly. Also, never throw your dog into the water. Always ease him in gently and be wary of strong tides.
Swimming in chlorinated pools and the ocean is safe for dogs. Note that chlorine and salt water may be slightly irritating to their fur and skin, just as it can be to us, so you must give your dog a bath afterwards.
To be sanitary, this activity would have to be done either at a beach or a private home pool. Dogs aren’t allowed in public pools since they bring hair and other remnants of outdoor particles with them wherever they go.
5. Working In The Garden
Again, we’re talking spring here, and who doesn’t love to spend a bit of the time in the yard gardening? While it may sound odd to think of gardening as an activity to do with your dog, it can take many shapes.
If you’ve got a gated yard, it can be nice for your dog to sunbathe or chase toys while you spend some quality time pruning bushes or flowers. Not to mention, dogs also love to dig, which can be beneficial to you if you’re looking to plant a new species.
The ASPCA website offers an extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants, so Fido won’t get sick from being near your garden. They also offer great tips for safe gardening with pets like safe use of cocoa mulch, fertilizer, insecticide, and compost materials.
Ultimately, keep in mind that your dog’s absolute favorite thing in the world is to be with you. So whether that’s the beach, a walk downtown, or doing gardening, spending time outdoors with your dog is a win-win situation. For more on the health benefits that pets can provide to seniors, check out Bay Alarm Medical’s neat infographic.