How to prepare your home and make it safe for a senior dog

Watching your dog age can be a tough process. You notice them starting to move slower and struggle to do things that used to be easy. Just because your furry family member is getting old doesn’t mean that they can’t live a comfortable life! There are a number of ways you can make your aging dog’s life easier by making a few adjustments to your home. Everyone loves to spoil their dogs, so following these four simple tips can help you create a great living space—and life—for your senior dog. 

1. Make mobility easy

One of the biggest considerations is keeping your senior dog mobile in your home when it’s getting tougher for them to move around. This means trying to limit any potential obstacles or spaces that may be hard to maneuver around. A great and easy way to do this is to create more open space for your dog by pushing coffee tables away from the center of an area where they enjoy spending time, like in the living room. It’s also a good idea to move breakable things, such as floor lamps or end tables with picture frames on them. 

Try and limit how much hardwood or any type of potentially slippery floor they walk on, since this may lead to more accidents as your dog gets older. Rather than spending the money to replace your hardwood flooring with carpet, area rugs and runners are a great option. Your local Home Goods usually has good options for a fair price in stock and in store, and good availability online, too. A couple other options for a good value are Wayfair and Costco. Covering the floors with area rugs will help your dog move around with better traction and decrease the risk of slipping or falling.

Try adding a paw-washing station by the door to help keep your dog’s paws healthy and clean when they come inside, which can also prevent slips and maybe even some health issues down the road. Stock the mud room or foyer with paw wipes and soft towels for easy cleaning!

2. Focus on comfort

You want your dog to remain as comfortable as possible as they age to limit any aches and pains that come with getting older. With so many dog-friendly options available, it’s easy!

An aging dog spends a lot of his time napping, so an orthopedic dog bed is naturally a great investment to help keep your senior pup comfy. It’s also a good idea to provide some raised dog bowls so they don’t have to bend down so much to eat or drink. Small things like this can go a long way in keeping your furry friend comfortable!

Supplements like joint-support chewables and even CBD oil are popular with some pet owners, so you might want to talk to you vet about options for your senior pup.

3. Avoid stairs

Two-story houses can be fun for kids, but not so much for aging dogs. Not only will your dog struggle going up and down stairs as they get older, it can also be dangerous. It’s best if you can avoid stairs altogether, but this isn’t always possible. If you live in a multi-level home and your dog typically spends a lot of time upstairs, it may be a little more of a challenge. Try limiting his access one way, whether up or down, with a doggy gate. There are pretty tall versions of these gates available, tall enough for even the biggest breeds! Don’t look for just a pet-specific gate; sometimes a child gate is a better option, price and sturdiness wise.

If you live in a home where it’s impossible to avoid stairs, consider carrying your pooch (if possible) to avoid the strain on his body. You could also add a dog lift or a ramp over your stairs to help your pooch easily go up or down stairs without much discomfort. At the very least, take it slow! Let your dog go at his pace, and don’t rush him up or down the stairs if he has to walk.

If your dog has bed or couch privileges, you can easily make a DIY dog ramp to prevent the strain from jumping. If you live in an apartment where you cannot avoid stairs, then you may just have to carry your dog when possible. If you have an outside patio in your apartment, consider a washable doggy potty pad to avoid multiple trips down the stairs for bathroom breaks.

4. Saving for your aging pet

With all of these potential projects and purchases to make your home safe and comfortable for a senior dog, it could take a toll on your wallet. Things like raised dog bowls and an orthopedic dog bed won’t be too burdensome, but that coupled with building dog ramps and buying dog gates and outdoor potty mats can add up. You might want to consider setting aside a monthly pet budget, not only for comfort but for medical care, as well.

If you choose the more pricey options and decide to replace some of the flooring with a softer carpet or add a lift for your dog to tackle stairs easier, it will most likely take more than your typical savings. While your dog might be young now, home updates for your senior pet can also help humans as we age in our homes as well—making the investment all the more worth it. It project funds are tight, but you really need to make some adjustments now, you could even consider home refinancing to fund the upgrades.

The bottom line

We all love our pets, and watching them struggle with tasks as they age can be hard. Luckily, there are adjustments you can make to your home that will help them live out their golden years happy and healthy!

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