B Briona
Copy Link

How to Make Your Home Safer for a Senior Dog

Senior dogs make wonderful companions. However, as your dog ages, he will probably need some extra help from you. One way that you can help your senior dog is to ensure he has a safe, comfortable environment. You can do this by making minor modifications to your home. You can also do things like regulating the temperature in your home and increasing the padding under your dog’s bed. Remember to take your dog for regular vet checkups as well to enhance your dog’s safety, comfort, and health.

Making It Easier for Your Dog to Get Around

1. Place area rugs over hard floors. Older dogs can sometimes struggle to get around on hard floors. To reduce your senior dog’s risk of falling or struggling to walk around, place some area rugs around the house. This will improve the chances that your dog can navigate your home safely and comfortably.

  • You can place a large area rug over a bare floor or just place a few small rugs around.

2. Provide ramps wherever there are stairs. Older dogs sometimes struggle to get up and down stairs, which may lead to falls or place extra pressure on your dog’s joints. One way to make it easier for your senior dog to get up and down stairs is to place ramps.

  • For example, you might place a ramp going from your backdoor to your backyard if there are a few steps that he has to use to go into the yard.
  • Ramps can also be useful for helping your senior dog get into your car or up on the sofa (if he is allowed).

3. Remove obstacles. Some senior dogs struggle with poor eyesight, which can make it harder for them to navigate your home. If you notice that your senior dog frequently bumps into a table or other piece of furniture when he makes his way through your home, then you might consider moving this object aside.

  • For example, if you have a coffee table in the middle of your living room and your senior dog tends to bump into it sometimes, then you might move the coffee table to the edge of the room when it is not in use.

4. Ask your veterinarian about special modifications for a disability. Some senior dogs develop disabilities, such as hearing loss and blindness. If your senior dog has developed a disability, then talk with your dog’s vet about the modifications you will need to make to ensure your dog’s safety.

Providing a Safe, Comfortable Environment

1. Use baby gates. Baby gates can be extremely helpful for keeping senior dogs safe. You can put up baby gates to keep your senior dog confined to an area of your house, to prevent him from going into rooms that might be unsafe for him, or to keep him from going up and down stairs.

  • Try placing a few gates around your home to keep your senior dog confined within a safe, comfortable area of your home.

2. Maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. Senior dogs have a harder time regulating their body temperature than younger dogs. This means that extreme hot and cold temperatures can be dangerous for senior dogs. To protect your senior dogs from temperature extremes, set your thermostat for a comfortable temperature or use other means to regulate the temperature in your home.

  • During warmer months, you may need to use fans or even an air conditioning unit to ensure your senior dog’s comfort. During colder months, you may need to use a space heater.
  • Make sure that your senior dog’s bed is located in an area that is not too hot or too cold. Place it somewhere that is free from drafts in cold weather and that is not in direct sunlight during warm weather.
  • If your dog enjoys wearing clothes, then you might get a few sweater for your dog to wear in cold weather or even a jacket for going outside. Check your local pet store to find clothes for your dog.

3. Put up hazardous items. Dogs may decide to investigate hazardous items like cleaning agents, medications, and toxic plants out of boredom or curiosity. To protect your senior dog from these items, make sure that they are secured in a cabinet or placed up out of their reach.

  • For example, you can put your cleaning products in a cupboard or up on a high shelf.
  • Keep any medications (prescription or otherwise) in a medicine cabinet or other secure place.
  • If you have any houseplants, make sure they are up on a shelf or high windowsill so your dog can’t get to them.

4. Provide plenty of soft bedding. Older dogs may have less body fat than younger dogs, which can make laying on a hard surface uncomfortable for them. They are also prone to aches and pains, such as from arthritis. To ensure your senior dog’s comfort when he is resting, provide him with plenty of soft, cushy bedding.

  • Try placing a couple of extra blankets under your dog’s bed to increase the padding or get an extra soft and fluffy dog bed for him.

Enhancing Your Senior Dog’s Health

1. Provide senior food. As dogs age, their dietary needs change. Your senior dog may require food to help maintain his weight or to manage a health condition. Make sure that you are feeding your senior dog a veterinarian approved diet to meet your dog’s needs.

  • You can find many different types of senior dog food in stores, but they are all a little different. Ask your dog’s veterinarian which brand and type will best meet your dog’s needs.

2. Regulate your dog’s activity. Senior dogs can remain active well into their golden years, and it is important to keep playing with your senior dog. However, you may need to cut off playtime sometimes. This is because some dogs will keep on running and playing even if they are exhausted. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior to determine if you need to give him a break when you are playing.

  • For example, if you notice that your dog is panting, then he is probably getting worn out. Take a break or cut off the game for the day.

3. Give your dog stimulating toys. Keeping your senior dog entertained is also an important part of enhancing his health. Senior dogs are prone to senility, but regular stimulation can help to keep his mind active. Make sure that your senior dog always has something to play with, such as a squeaky toy or ball. You might also consider getting a few puzzle toys to help stimulate your senior dog’s mind.

  • Try rotating your dog’s toys so that he won’t become bored with his toys. Keep his toys in a box that is out of sight and give him a different toy to play with every day.
  • Make sure that you talk to your dog and play with him as well to help keep his mind stimulated.

4. Take your dog for regular veterinary checkups. Keeping your senior dog healthy also requires taking him for regular checkups with your dog’s veterinarian. Regular checkups can detect problems before they become bigger issues, which is important since senior dogs are more prone to serious conditions like cancer and kidney problems.

  • Take your senior dog to see the veterinarian at least once per year to check for potential health problems. If you suspect a problem, then call and make an appointment right away.