They grow so fast, don’t they? One day they’re brand new puppies and then the next thing you know, you have a senior dog on your hands. You’ve been together for significant moments in life: the many moves, new jobs, breakups…all the ups and downs. They’re family, after all, and you would do anything for them—especially as they age. So, you might be wondering what changes you can make to your home to help your senior dog. Here are a few tips to prepare your home for an aging dog that will make the transition easier for everyone, especially your furry best friend.
As your dog begins to show signs of aging, it’s not uncommon for their hearing and eyesight to weaken. This means that while your dog may be familiar with the layout of your home, they can easily misjudge corners or run into a new coffee table in the middle of the room. Poor eyesight is especially problematic at night.
Avoid any issues by keeping your home (especially the floors) clear of obstructive objects. These could be clothes, toys, shoes, or moved furniture. Keep changes in layout and furniture to a minimum, especially if your dog is already blind or getting there. You might find it easier to move your dog’s belongings (such as their bed) in one area where they spend the most time.
Just as you want to keep all hazards away from your dog by eliminating unnecessary clutter, it’s also important to realize that as your dog ages, it becomes more difficult to do certain things. You may notice that eating and drinking their food and water has become a challenge. If your dog struggles to lower their neck to eat or drink, you might want to elevate their bowls to a more comfortable level. You can either purchase a raised platform or special bowls or you can simply use something you already have around the home to elevate them.
If your pet has difficulty jumping onto your couch or bed, pet steps might make it easier for them to access these places. If they struggle with going up and down stairs leading into your home, investing in a ramp might be a useful tool to have—especially if your dog is too large for you to carry. You might find that giving your dog access to your interior stairs is too dangerous, especially if your dog has arthritis. In this case, completely blocking off your stairs with a gate might be your best bet.
Tile and wood floors are just as convenient as they are beautiful. However, if you find your dog slipping while walking around your home, anti-slip treads such as carpet or rubber mats may make mobility easier for your aging pooch.
Accidents happen, especially as your dog ages and starts to lose control over their body. Don’t be surprised if your dog who has never once peed in the house starts having accidents. They simply can’t hold it as long as they used to. And hey, leaks happen. Understanding and accepting these mishaps as beyond anyone’s control is the first step. The second step is being prepared.
Keep cleaning supplies on hand for quick cleanups should an accident occur. Your cleanup kit might vary in products, but some supplies to consider are paper towels, appropriate cleaning products for your floors and/or furniture, and carpet deodorizer. Your local pet store or superstore will likely have pet specific cleaning products, including those made with natural ingredients and those made to combat urine. You might also want to consider an odor-eliminating air purifier that you can also use to rid your home of other smells. If you have a secure, fenced-in backyard, putting in a doggy door might also be an option.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure your senior dog is always as comfortable as possible. This step likely involves a discussion with your vet to take care of their physiological health and quality of life. Make sure you stay on top of your dog’s medical needs and ask your vet about specific care tips.
On top of things like vet-prescribed medications and supplements, home modifications are also important. A warm, cozy pet bed is a great option for older dogs. If joint issues are a problem, an orthopedic bed they can easily get into and off of may be perfect for your pooch.
And don’t forget: give your dog all the loving they deserve!
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.