As your canine companion begins to age, there are a variety of health conditions and concerns that can arise. Though every dog owner has heard the 7 to 1 equivalency calculation before (that your dog ages 7 years for every 1 year in we age as humans) there’s really no hard and fast rule as to what age constitutes a “senior” dog. It depends on factors such as size and breed. While some breeds are more prone to specific health conditions that can cause issues even early on, arthritis, limited mobility, hearing and vision loss, and incontinence are all signs a dog is aging.
Your pet is like a family member and providing them with the best care possible and keeping them as comfortable as possible can really help with their quality of life throughout their aging process. Although taking care of a senior pet can be challenging at times, there are some special accommodations that can be made around the house to ensure your home is safer and more comfortable for your furry friend.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can make your home more comfy for your elderly furry friend.
If your dog has arthritis, or just doesn’t get around as well as he used to, there are some quick changes you can make to prioritize comfort. If you have hardwood floors, consider getting a few rugs and runners that will help your older dog get some traction. While hardwood, tile, laminate, or vinyl is super easy to clean, elderly dogs can sometimes have trouble getting around as they age.
If you allow your dog on the furniture, consider getting ramps or stairs for them to use. That way, they don’t have to jump onto high surfaces like couches and beds but can still enjoy their comfy spots. And, they don’t injure themselves trying to get back down to the floor!
As your pet ages, you might notice their vision and hearing beginning to deteriorate, making it difficult for them to avoid certain objects throughout the house or be as responsive to you when you call out. Updates like putting night lights around your home to help them navigate at night and clearing your floors of any potential tripping hazards are simple changes you can make.
Be sure to keep things where they’ve always been, try not to sneak up on your dog (speaking as you approach), and consider some bumper pads on any reachable sharp corners. You can also provide tactile help by using textured mats in areas like the bottom of stairs and in front of their food and water dish to help your pet find their way.
Your aging pet may also begin to lose control of their bladder indoors. Luckily, there are multiple steps you can take to protect against unwanted accidents. While you can plan to take your dog out more frequently, you can also use pee pads inside and you should also protect any furniture your dog enjoys. They make comfortable protection pads you can buy to place anywhere your dog likes to sleep, too.
Invest In a Senior Pet Bed
You can also purchase a quality dog bed to use (to help prevent your dog from jumping up and down on couches and beds). A nice memory foam dog bed provides extra joint support and might make a great place for your dog to nap since naps increase as they age as well.
Funding The Changes
As your pet ages, you may find yourself going to the vet more frequently, too. Funding the increased vet visits, catering your home to an elderly dog, and adding necessary aging supplies into your budget for your pet can quickly become expensive. If you have savings built up, you can choose to pull from there. However, if you don’t wish to dip into your savings there are other options. Pet owners can look into utilizing any credit card points they have built up to fund expenses. And if you’re a homeowner, you can look into utilizing a home equity line of credit. A HELOC is a flexible option that allows homeowners to borrow money against the equity they have in the home, allowing you to borrow what you need and put money towards larger purchases for your furry friend.
Having an aging pet can be a difficult process to go through, emotionally and financially, but having support from loved ones can help you and your little buddy through this transition. Making sure your pet is as comfortable as possible can help you both get through those senior years with ease.
Featured Dachshund Photo by Lisa Fotios