This post is filled with lots of helpful tips for making your home senior dog friendly
It’s January 2017 and things have changed s bit since I first wrote this post in November 2015. The information is as relevant today as ever, but I’ve done a bit of revamping to more accurately reflect what’s going on now.
I’m going to assume if you’re noticing behaviour changes, you’ve already made an appointment with the vet. If you haven’t, please do. Never assume that because your dog is getting older, changes are inevitable and there’s nothing you can do.
How I have senior dog proofed my home and what you can do in yours
It’s really easy, and the smallest changes can make the biggest differences in terms of comfort and accessibility.
Because my dog is blind, I don’t move furniture around. This may not be relevant in your case, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Clutter on the floors
I never leave clutter on the floor, that goes for dog toys, blankets, shoes… anything she could trip over. Of course I wouldn’t in any case, but I’m extra vigilant because of those who would!!
Even if this is not your dog’s issue, an arthritic dog can have trouble navigating the bits and bobs on your floor.
Ramps and steps
If your dog has always enjoyed a good snuggle amongst the couch cushions or likes to sleep in bed with you, a ramp or some steps will allow her easy access without relying on you to put her on, and take her off. It’s also safer in case you aren’t around, and she jumps off and hurts herself.
Eating and drinking
For some reason, and I really don’t know why, I thought it might be a good idea to raise Red’s food and water bowls off the ground. It wasn’t because of something that happened, or because she looked like she was having trouble, I just thought it would be a good idea, so I did. And it was!
There are lots of raised bowls available in a variety of styles, materials and sizes. If you’re thinking of getting one (or a couple!) you may want to consider the following:
When you’re figuring out the height, you don’t want your dog to have to stretch her neck up to reach
If you get a 2 bowl feeder, do you have room to keep it out (you’ll have to for the water)
Do you prefer one that adjusts, or you’ll measure how high off the floor it should be
In a 2 bowl feeder, your dog’s dry kibble may end up in the water bowl, and vice versa. A 1 bowl feeder may be your preference.
You may find your dog’s taste in beds has changed, I know mine has. She seems to like different beds at different times, so to ensure she’s always comfortable, I offer her choice.
She loves this one really firm round bed, with high sides she uses as a pillow. Although I always advocate for beds with at least one low side for them to easily get in and out of, she doesn’t seem to have trouble in this one. She tends to favour this one during the day.
I leave a self heating mat in one of them should she need it, and sometimes a hot water bottle under the blankets.
For night time she has a couple of comforters of different thicknesses to choose from, along with blankets if she wants something to “fluff” or needs extra warmth.
Hustle and bustle
Some dogs find it harder/scarier to deal with lots of noise and activity than they used to. Setting up a favourite bed in a quieter part of the house may make her feel less stressed, especially if you find she’s sleeping a lot.
Protection from the elements – coats, sweaters and raincoats
Red is originally from Florida and loves the hot weather, but now we live where there are four seasons and she feels the cold, even indoors. I keep a sweater on her all the time for several months, and I add a coat when we go outside. Of course we have our heat on but it’s not enough for her.
I’m not one of those that dresses dogs up like dolls, I detest that. This is strictly for protection against the weather.
Keep an eye to see if your dog seems to be shivering inside. We all like our homes at different temperatures, but your dog may feel the cold more than she used to. Red either sleeps in our bedroom or the living room, she decides that. Either way in the colder months I keep a small heater on a very low setting overnight, just to make sure she stays warm.
Keep the doors open (NOT the front door!)
Because my dog is blind, I make sure every room’s door is left open. Of course it drives my husband crazy because he keeps saying I let the heat out, but what can you do!! She knows her way around the house, and I don’t want her banging into something she knows shouldn’t be there!
Making your home senior dog friendly – conclusion
There are so many simple things you can do, that go a long way to making your home senior dog friendly.
What changes have you made, if any, to make your home more senior dog friendly?