The time goes by way too quickly. It seems like only yesterday you brought that fluffball of energy home and made him a part of your family.
But your puppy doesn’t move so quickly anymore. His tail still wags vigorously to greet you, but it takes him a minute to get up and come over.
Senior dogs face mobility challenges just as senior humans do. Let’s look at a few simple things you can do to make your home more accessible for your senior dog.
Safety and Mobility Aids
As dogs age, their bodies don’t work as well as they used to. They can’t jump as high, they lose their balance more easily, and their bones are more susceptible to damage from falls.
Unfortunately, many dogs don’t realize their own limitations. They think they can still jump on the couch as easily as before. They have no clue how dangerous it could be for them to misstep on the stairs and go tumbling down to the bottom.
Thankfully, there are a few mobility aids you can add around your home that will help keep them safe.
Does your smaller dog love jumping up on the couch for an afternoon nap? That jump will eventually become too difficult for him to make. But that won’t stop most dogs from trying — and hurting themselves.
A small set of pet stairs by his favorite couch will take care of that problem. This gives your pet an easier access point that most dogs will gratefully accept.
Do you have stairs in your home? Eventually, it will become difficult for your senior dog to navigate them and there is a higher risk of injury from falling down the stairs. Even a few steps down to the garage can become a hazard for him.
If your senior dog has serious mobility issues, you can put up a pet gate to block your senior dog from using the stairs and prevent an awful disaster.
If blocking your pet’s access to the stairs is not a good option, consider installing a pet ramp. Make sure it offers plenty of traction and slopes gently so your pet can easily go up and down. If your dog is larger, make sure that the ramp you choose can handle his weight.
Hardwood floors are a blessing for you when you’re trying to clean, but not for your aging dog. As they walk around, some senior dogs begin to have trouble with slippery floors.
When they were younger, they had plenty of strength and balance to easily navigate those same floors. Not to mention, they didn’t get hurt if they went sliding into the wall! Now, their aging bodies don’t handle the challenge as well.
Special dog boots with traction on the bottom can help some aging pets. Some dogs don’t adjust to having something on their feet. You can try laying down rugs with non-slip pads underneath to give them a pathway.
Older dogs will still love to accompany you on your daily run, but they may have trouble keeping up. A dog stroller is a great way to safely bring him with you.
Three-wheel styles have the dog sitting up higher which is good for smaller dogs. Larger dogs will do better in a four-wheel style that keeps them lower to the ground.
Though safety and mobility are the most important, your senior dog will also appreciate a few comfort adjustments. Just like humans, their bodies become achy and stiff and don’t adapt as well as they used to. Here are a few adjustments that will make him more comfortable.
Elevated Food and Water Bowls
Lowering their heads to the floor to eat and drink becomes harder for senior dogs. The larger the dog, the more of a problem this can be. The problem is so extreme for some senior dogs that they lose weight from not eating enough.
The simple solution is to raise their food and water bowls to a comfortable height for them.
Comfy Doggie Bed
A nice, comfy doggie bed will help ease some of your senior dog’s aches and pains. Memory foam beds are perfect for adjusting to his weight distribution and providing the exact support he needs on every part of his body.
A cozy plush cover on top is nice for added comfort. A heating or cooling pad is a nice touch if your dog is having trouble with temperature regulation.
Speaking of temperature, older dogs have a hard time regulating their body temperature. Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature will help keep your senior dog comfortable.
Senior dogs sometimes have problems with incontinence. This is always a big problem for you, but it’s even worse if their favorite napping spot is on your couch!
Rather than deny your pet his favorite spot, consider adding a furniture protection pad to make cleanup easy.
Furniture Corner Cushions
Senior dogs sometimes lose their vision and start bumping into things. Maintain an open layout in your home and keep the pathways clear to avoid them tripping over something.
You can also put corner cushions on sharp furniture edges to soften the blow if your pet bumps into them.
Additionally, add a couple of night lights in areas where your dog might wander at night. For example, near the food and water bowls or in the toy area. This will help prevent injuries from bumping into things in the dark.
Your Senior Dog’s Golden Years
Your dog has given you his whole heart all the years he has lived in your home. No doubt, he will greatly appreciate the small changes you make to accommodate his aging issues and keep him comfortable in his old age!
For more helpful articles about pet-parenting tips, check out the Off Leash blog at TryFi.com.
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