Making Your Home Senior Dog Friendly

making your home senior dog friendly

making your home senior dog friendly

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 how to make your home senior dog friendlytrouble, 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 ways to make your home safe for senior dogstends 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.

Indoor comfort

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?




Making Your Home Senior Dog Friendly
Hindy Pearson
Helping people care for their senior dogs
I am a certified dog trainer and pet care consultant, specialising in working with rescue dogs and first time pet parents. I foster and adopt senior and special needs dogs, and advocate for shelter adoption of all animals, particularly older dogs and cats. I am currently working on a spay/neuter program in Spain.

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8 thoughts on “Making Your Home Senior Dog Friendly

  1. Hey Hindy.

    It’s great that you put so much effort into making your’s and your dog’s home so comfortable for them! I’m sure a lot of people will benefit from this article and be able to make the same changes for their own senior dog.

    Very informative and helpful.

  2. Those advice are very useful not only for aging dogs but for anyone who has a dog with special needs. My friend’s dog went through knee surgery and has a hard time moving around. It’s an active dog (Labrador, 7 years old only) but needs a lot of care since that surgery. She seems to have a hard time keeping her calm until her complete recovery. The worst part is that she will probably have to go under surgery a few times during her life. Thanks for this great website

    1. Hi Carolyn, thank you for your comment and I’m glad you think this information is so useful. You’re absolutely right, these tips can apply to any pet that has special needs, or is recovering from illness or surgery. I don’t know if your friend’s dog is crate trained, but one of the advantages is for times like these. If he’s used to his crate, it’s easy to get him to take it easy since his crate is like a den. Sorry to hear more surgeries are ahead. Perhaps swimming would be a good way for her dog to release some pent up energy, without doing any harm. It’s probably worth her speaking to her vet about that option.

      1. Swimming sounds like a good option, thanks for the advice I will tell her and see what she thinks. Her dog really needs it!

        1. Hi Carolyn, no problem. Let me know how your suggestion is received! Could be a great way for the dog to release some pent up energy, otherwise he may start releasing it in less ideal ways.

  3. Great tips for senior-dog-proofing your home!

    I’ve thought about getting a ramp or steps for my dog in the future, since she likes to sleep in my bed but I worry about her getting up and down when she gets older. I wonder, though, if I’ll need to train her to use it, or if she’ll just naturally go to it because it feels better. What do you think?

    1. I Samantha, thank you! A ramp or steps is a great idea. If you get a ramp try and get one long enough so the incline isn’t that steep. I taught one of my dogs to use a ramp, but she was a puppy mill rescue and terrified of everything yet it worked. I put some great treats in a row up the ramp, and as she ate each one, she got closer to the top until she was in bed with me. It took several tries, but she eventually made it. I recommend doing the same to teach them how to get down. What I also did for her was put some pillows on the floor around the bed, in case she jumped off before she learned how to walk down. She was an extreme case, you probably won’t have that problem but I did it as a purely precautionary measure. Hope this helps.

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