Watch This Dog Dad Sweetly Throw a Separate Ball So His Older Pup Can Still Fetch
Longtime pet owners know older pets require different care than their younger siblings, and this dog dad found a creative way to make one such adjustment while still letting his dog play a favorite game from her youth: fetch.
Set to a cover of ABBA's "Slipping Through My Fingers" by Ethan Hodges—sound on only if you're ready for tears—this spectacular dog dad plays fetch with pups Goldie and Aussie. While he launches the ball for Aussie, a spry Australian shepherd, he gently lobs the ball for Goldie the golden retriever so it lands nearby, where she grabs it with a wagging tail and watches her younger brother Aussie make his full run, just like she used to.
The incredibly sweet video from itsevabarrera has earned more than 5.3 million views since it was posted on Aug. 21.
Jenna Stregowski, RVT and pet health and behavior editor for Daily Paws, says this dog dad is doing exactly what he's supposed to. She reminds pet parents that aging isn't a disease—it just often requires some modifications to make sure your pet continues to live a happy, healthy life in their golden years.
"Senior dogs can still run and play in the dog park," Stregowski says. "You just want to make changes to accommodate and keep an eye on them. Physical limits don't mean they don't need the same mental stimulation as they used to."
For pet parents aiming to keep their aging pups active and healthy, Stregowski recommends shifting modes of exercise to accommodate their changing needs. For example, one long walk might become two or three shorter walks, and games of fetch that involve long sprints might become shorter and more leisurely, as we see in the video. Of course, it's important to pay attention to your pet's needs—some 13-year-old dogs might sprint around like puppies, while other 7-year-old pooches might be sending you signals that it's time to slow down.
She also recommends food puzzles, indoor games, nose work, and even some new tricks to keep your pooch mentally stimulated.
"It sounds cliché, but old dogs can learn new tricks!" she says. "There's no reason you can't try to teach your senior dog new things."
Ultimately, Stregowski recommends paying attention to your dog's changing needs and doing what you can to make their lives as enriched and comfortable as possible. "It's really special to be able to give these guys a better time in their golden years," she says.