Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How I Exercise My Food-Motivated Senior Dog Indoors

nutty old chihuahua licking a hand
Frantic licking of hands totally counts as exercise. 

When I saw the writing prompt for this blog post--fun indoor activities to keep one's dog's body and mind active during the warm summer months (or something similarly related to summertime activities with dogs)--my immediate thought was: I'm screwed.

Screwed because this post is about the benefits of feeding one's dog a high protein, plus freeze dried raw meat pieces, diet for whole-body health. To be whole-body healthy, a dog should get plenty of exercise. The problem is, the dog who's currently eating the food--Wellness® CORE® RawRev™--and who would benefit from "fun indoor activities," is Lele, my 11+-year-old, formerly crusty, wobbly kneed, mostly-toothless, half-blind and totally deaf chihuahua mix.

Like we regularly break out an indoor chi-chi obstacle course and/or tug toys! 😉

How I Exercise My Food-Motivated Senior Dog Indoors in Summer

The truth is, Lele is old. And she sleeps a lot, like old dogs do. But darn it, she's not bedridden, and she can move with the speed of an angry mule when she wants to! So, what does she do when she's indoors, but not resting or eating (two meals and a regular snack each day)?


OK, time's up! She's either barking at people who've knocked on the door (because she sees the corgis doing it, not because she can hear the knocking) or jumping and running in circles all around me begging for food!

I think fierce barking, jumping, and running all around count for indoor exercise, don't you?

It's just that if one is going to rely on these activities (except, let's forget about the barking; there are too many uncontrollable factors) to keep one's old dog active indoors, one needs to have a reliable, daily plan. Here's mine!

Creative* Ways I Keep Lele, My Senior Dog, Exercised Indoors During Summer

* Creative, meaning how to get her to jump around like she's begging without actually giving her food and making her look like a giant baked potato with legs.

Exhibit A.

Note: All three dogs' regular snack time is at approximately 10 a.m. Also, Lele is on a low dose of Prednisone (steroid) to manage an autoimmune disease of her skin (which is what caused all her health woes when I agreed to foster her for the local animal shelter 18 months ago). A side effect of steroid usage is excess hunger (which is what low-cal green beans are for).

  • Feed Lele her breakfast at all hours of the morning, because it's summer, the kids are out of school, and I can sleep in.
    Result: Lele's biological snack-time clock goes off (which translates to jumping and running around and making piggy noises, wherever she is inside the house) every half hour because it (the clock) is confused. 
  • Stand in kitchen too long after feeding dogs in the morning, and make the mistake of opening the pantry door, and/or the refrigerator (can be 15 minutes after Lele just ate, but she'll still think it's snack time).
  • Cook bacon.
    Note: This only happens on certain weekends, but it ALWAYS results in strenuous begging activity. 
  • Go to the gym during regular snack-time hour.
    Result: Snack must be given late, which causes a snack clock malfunction (see first bullet point) through late afternoon. 
  • Run anywhere (in the house, and by run, I mean move QUICKLY).
    Result: Lele chases, which always ends in a race past the pantry door, at which point she stops to jump around and make piggy noises. 
  • Drag out the bag of CORE RawRev in front of her.
    Result: Yeah, I shouldn't be dragging out the dog food except at mealtimes, but if I did, Lele would jump all around and beg. 
  • Pour a second (and third, fourth, etc...) cup of coffee. Lele believes coffee time = snack time.
  • Unload the dishwasher when it contains a dog/cat food bowl (because when Lele sees the bowl in your hand, she will think it's mealtime).
  • Reach for anything on the shelf in the pantry. Dog snacks are in the pantry.
Note: When it's not too hot, short walks outside substitute for most of this list. 

And, now you know how Lele stays active in the summer! Incidentally, so do I (stay active, keeping up with Lele)! Yay!

How I Exercise My Food-Motivated Senior Dog Indoors

There Would Be No Old-Dog Begging Activity if Not for High-Quality, Balanced Nutrition


Lele has been eating Wellness CORE dog food (soaked in water) for over a year, but just last month, started eating new CORE RawRev (Wild Game recipe) with added freeze dried pieces of 100% raw meat. I am happy to report that all is well! In fact, I can't tell anything is different--she's still looking great! (Except, I know and feel good about her getting a little extra protein, added [unprocessed] raw nutrition, and a little variety in her meals).

Is your pet eating* Wellness CORE RawRev dog food? Buy one 2-5-lb bag and get one 50% off at PetSmart and unleash the power of raw!

* Remember to switch your dog's food gradually to avoid stomach upset. Refer to package directions.

Do you have a senior dog? How do you keep him/her active in summer (or anytime)? Do you feed a high protein dog food? Have you tried adding raw? 

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  1. Good ideas. Cause mom does exercise indoors too
    Lily & Edward

    1. I bet she gets exercise keeping up with you two, just like I do with Lele and the corgis. :)

  2. Well done! Movement is impawtant, no matter for whom or how long.

  3. So cute. Hey, if food is the motivation to exercise I'm all for it!

  4. We love the Wellness food here and Kilo thinks every moment of every day is snack or food time. Great review XS

  5. I love how Lele has transformed since she came to live with you! It always makes me happy to see how love, a good diet, and medical care can make such a difference!


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