How to Modify Your Home for Senior Dogs

Everyone wants to talk about puppies, but senior dogs require special attention, too. Here are simple ways to make your pup more comfortable at home.

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Orthopedic Support

Just like humans, senior dogs can suffer from joint pain. Give them extra support at night with an orthopedic bed. Memory foam molds and contours to the body, giving dogs extra cushion for hips and legs.

Open Layout

An open layout and clear pathways are best for seniors with cataracts and poor vision. But if your dog goes blind, don't shift furniture around too much. "They memorize the layout of the house," said veterinarian Dr. Sarah Gilliam. "Sometimes people don't realize that their pets have decreased vision until their dog bumps into things. So, I tell people don't change."

Traction Help

While easy to clean for humans, hardwood is difficult for senior dogs. Dr. Gilliam recommends laying down rugs in common pathways to give pups traction and mobility help on slick flooring. Yoga mats work, too.

Furniture Protection

Senior dogs, especially small breeds, can run into incontinence issues that make lounging on furniture problematic. Furniture pads such as PetSafe's Bolster Protector give pets an area to snuggle while protecting the entire piece from accidents. Dr. Gilliam recommends having lots of puppy pads around and making sure dogs have plenty of chances to go outside and potty. "Incontinence is usually a sign of a medical issue," she said. "So make sure you get it checked out by your vet."

Night Lights

Help your dog get around at night by putting a night light by its crate, toy and food areas. This is especially handy when it's dark and seniors with poor vision need help finding the water bowl.

Tactile Help

For blind dogs, it's important to keep smells consistent, but tactile cues can help a senior navigate a home, too. Place a textured rubber placemat or rug under your dog's food and water bowls to help it find the area easily.

Mobility Help

Seniors, especially big dogs, have trouble bending over to reach food and water bowls. Help them get their food without hunching over by raising the bowls. There are sets on the market with risers but it's best to not change too many things. Just raise the bowls they're used to with a box or rubber storage bin.

Prevent Jumping

Sometimes seniors think they're still puppies, but jumping can lead to pulling or blowing out a knee or the doggie version of an ACL. Prevent jumping with furniture ramps or stairs such as PetSafe's wooden PupSTEP.

Keep Your Pup Hydrated

It's important for seniors to stay hydrated, especially if they're on a medicine that requires a lot of water. Place additional water stations around the home so dogs don't have to walk from one end of the house to the other or use stairs just for a drink. If you think you'll forget to refill multiple water bowls, the PetSafe Healthy Water Station automatically refills with fresh, filtered water.

Corner Cushions

Sharp corners and edges pose a threat to seniors with poor vision and poor mobility. Use rubber corner cushions to cover coffee table corners and antiques for extra padding should your dog run into something. You can find corner cushions at big box and baby stores.

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