There's a reason why a saying goes, "a dog is a man's best friend." Dogs are not only loyal and loving, but they also have excellent senses to protect them from danger. No wonder 69 million households in America have at least one dog, according to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. Unfortunately, dogs can't tell us when they feel sick or in pain.
When they get sick, we must recognize the signs and take them to the vet as soon as possible. You should also be aware of any changes in your senior aging dog's health to ensure their safety at home when their condition worsens. According to Packaged Facts, around 47% of American dog owners have a dog age 7 or older.
One way you can help prevent accidents or injuries at home is by ensuring that everything in your house has been properly secured so your senior pet can't access things they shouldn't be around while he's feeling poorly. Here are some tips on how you can dog-proof your house.
Keep Your Home Clutter-Free
To keep your home free of clutter, it may be easier to start with the obvious, don't leave any food on the floor. It is dangerous for so many reasons that we won't list them here. We'll assume you're smart enough to know not to leave food out for a dog.
But what about other things in your house? For example, do you have an extensive collection of knickknacks and other items that could potentially get knocked over by a curious pup? Is there a chance they might break some glassware or china? Do you use space heaters or candles that could cause fires when knocked off their pedestals? Is there anything else on your coffee table that could become harmful if knocked down hastily?
Once again, this isn't just about protecting yourself against injuries. It's also about keeping your pup safe. All these things can lead to serious health problems if ingested by an animal. Even if they're not ingested immediately upon falling onto the floor, those broken shards will still pose a danger later on.
Install a Dog Ramp or Stairs
Dog ramps are an excellent option for senior dogs who have trouble jumping or climbing stairs. They're also simple to use. Place the ramp on an even surface and help your dog step onto it by gently guiding them with a treat or toy. Then, guide them up the ramp until they reach their desired destination, such as their bed or the car's backseat.
You can use dog ramps in other situations as well. If your dog has difficulty getting into the bathtub because there are no steps, using a ramp will make everything easier for both of you. If you'd like to take your senior dog on walks outside more often but don't want to carry them so far, or if they're too heavy now that they've aged, bringing along a portable doggy ramp will let them get where they want to go without any hassle at all.
Install a Dog Door
Installing a dog door is a great way to let your senior dog go outside whenever they feel the need, whether it's for a quick potty break or an extended walk. It will give them the freedom to roam around your yard and use their instincts, which can help them stay healthy and fit. Dogs who feel secure in their environment are more likely to get along with other dogs and people as well. Having access to the outdoors makes them feel safer.
If you have an anxious or skittish older pet that struggles with separation anxiety, installing a doggy door from a reputable dog door company would be especially helpful.
They can still enjoy time outside while staying safely inside when you're not home. And when you are home again afterward, they'll be able to come back inside at their leisure instead of waiting by the front door for you like some puppy prisoner.
Prepare Your Backyard
Before letting your dog out into the backyard, make sure it is free of dangerous objects. Remove these items if they could hurt themselves by eating something toxic or putting their mouth on a sharp object. If you have an elderly dog that has trouble walking around outside, make sure to put down a thick layer of mulch, so they don't fall and get injured.
If you don't own a fence, ensure your senior aging pet lives in an enclosed area where they cannot escape. If this isn't possible, keep your dog on a leash when outside, even if they are old or sickly.
Get an Orthopedic Bed
Another great way to help your senior dog is by getting an orthopedic bed. These beds are made of memory foam or shredded foam and will give him plenty of cushioning, making it much easier for him to get up from the floor or onto furniture. According to Morris Animal Foundation, around 14 million adult dogs in the US have Osteoarthritis.
Dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia, or back problems will benefit greatly from using one of these beds. The best part about these beds is that you can put them in your living room so that your older dog has a place where they can rest without being forced to lie on hard surfaces like tile or wood floors.
You Should Prepare Your Home to Keep Your Senior Dog Safe and Comfortable
Your home should be prepared to keep your senior dog safe and comfortable. The last thing you want is for your elderly dog to get hurt by getting stuck under furniture or tripping over wires. Make sure every step in the house is safe so they can move around without fear of falling, especially if they have arthritis or other mobility issues.
The best way to do this is simply by spending some time with them, observing how they move throughout the house and what areas seem most difficult to negotiate. If there's an obstacle in their path, try moving it out of their way before helping them navigate past it. Once you've watched your dog for a while, take note of where they tend to stumble and any other obstacles that may cause trouble.
If you have a senior dog, it's essential to prepare your home to keep them safe and comfortable. The tips above are just a few of the ways that you can do this. You don't have to do them all at once. Work on one area at a time until you have everything covered. You can enjoy many happy years with your beloved pet by taking these steps now.
About The Author:
Nikki has about 15 years experience in digital marketing, health and business writing. Connecting to people, travelling and sharing thoughts are something she would love to do.