Our Sweet Heart Seniors Series continues today with a discussion on Safe Surroundings. As good pet parents, we want to make our dog’s surroundings as comfortable and safe as possible. We may need to provide them with physical assistance like throw rugs and doggy steps. Here are some suggestions that will help your senior dog feel her best in your home:
Stairs - Stairs can become an issue with seniors depending on how many you have in your home and how steep they are. When we moved into our home, there was one set of stairs to the outside that was very, very steep. Our dogs were middle aged when we moved in so we didn’t think anything of it. But as they aged, they became hesitant when asked to go down the stairs. Their momentum sometimes caused them to roll at the bottom. This was very concerning to us on many levels. So we carried them down until we built a new set of stairs. The new stairs have a couple of landings so there are only 4 steps at a time. We’re fortunate to have a large back yard where we could spread out. We knew we had to make it easy for our future dogs to go up and down. Funny thing we never realized was that this system was also helpful for puppies learning steps because there were just a few at a time. It is also helpful for senior people, which my husband and I are becoming!! My husband had a knee replacement last year and the steps were a dream for him coming and going to physical therapy appointments. If you cannot build a new set of stairs, try installing a runner that provides good traction.
Doggy steps – There are many companies now that provide small, compact stair systems that can be used in your home to allow access to your couch, bed, or even into the car. These are a great way to reduce the stress of your senior in not being able to just “pop” up anymore.
Nail trimming – Keeping your senior’s nails trimmed is very important. They need as much traction as possible to move about. Sliding on long nails can not only cause pain, but may induce falls or resistance to walking. For longer haired dogs, keep the fur between the pads on the paws trimmed as well. We have a collie and his hair can grow quite long between his paw pads.
Throw rugs on smooth floors – Many of us have wooden or tile floors that are very easy to keep clean, but that can be slippery for your senior. You might start to see a change in behavior in your dog not wanting to go into certain rooms of your home. This might be from fear of slipping. Try throwing down a non-skid rug to help provide more trac
Super comfy dog bed – Upgrade your senior dog’s bed to a really thick comfy model. This will help ease those old bones and will provide some extra warmth. Also, try moving her bed to a sunny area.
Regular visits to your vet are a must with your senior dog.
We hope you have enjoyed Part 4 of our Sweet Heart Seniors series and would love your feedback. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s final entry: Part 5 –Stay in tune with your dog. If you’d like us to make meals for your dog of any age, please start here. Thanks!