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Along with dogs aging comes a decreased ability to do things they did when younger. If you have an older dog, you may have noticed. There are few causes for this.

What are the reasons dogs don't get around as well when they're older?

The most common reason is arthritis. Some symptoms are stiffness, limping, favoring a limb, or reluctance to jump or climb stairs. Most dogs with arthritis will lie in one place not moving unless absolutely necessary.

Another cause is that older dogs have less energy and desire to run about and exercise. If the dog lies around all day, his muscles will begin to deteriorate, thus leaving him weaker to cavort. This is very commonly the cause of lack of mobility in older dogs. That's why as a dog's owner and caretaker you must make sure that it he gets plenty of exercise. The more exercise, the better it will be able to get around when it's older. Just a few short walks a week are helpful to the dog's muscles. Also, consider allowing your dog to go for frequent swims. Swimming can be even better than walking since the dog will experience less stress on its bones and joints. The bottom line is that the more you play with your dog, the healthier it will be and the longer it will be around as a friend.

What kinds of treatments and care should you provide for your older dog?

Short walks will help keep its muscles toned. Also, an orthopedic bed and an elevated feeding dish can aid in reducing the stress on its bones and joints. These should only be considered if your dog suffers from some bone, spine or joint condition or disease. Most dogs tend to get slower with age and lie about more. That's normal. However, it makes them susceptible to injury and disease.

If your dog has symptoms of arthritis, consult with your vet before giving any treatments. There is not a whole lot that can be done if your dog develops a bone, joint or spinal problem. The trick is to take good care of your dog while it's young.

Is it ever too late in your dog's life for it to exercise?

No. Your dog maintains its highest level of health during any point of its life when it's exercising. The more your dog exercises the better condition it will be. However, you always want to be sure you're not "overworking" your dog. But in general, any exercise for your dog is good exercise.