Preparing your Home for an Older Dog
Having an older dog can be one of the best things you can do for your home. However, older and senior dogs require a little more work to feel comfortable, especially if they’re up for adoption after leaving a home they either loved or were neglected at. While transitioning your pet from a humane society to home can be a challenge, here are a few ways to prepare your home for an older dog.
Elevated Dog Bowls and Eating Routines
Bending down to eat can be stressful on joints for older dogs. If you plan on adopting a larger dog, elevated bowls will help relieve strain on their back and neck. These will also help with digestion, as they will help facilitate the movement of food from the mouth to the stomach.
It’s also vital to create a routine in older dogs early on after adopting, or as your dog gets older. Walking them at 6 or 7 during the week and waiting until 9 or 10 on the weekends can be jolting in creating habits.
Make sure to feed them before going on a walk, and never before leaving them unattended at the house. This will help avoid potential accidents in the home since most dogs tend to use the bathroom after eating. A key tip here is to have your dog use the bathroom once, bring them in to eat, and then for a full walk to avoid any issues occurring.
Indoor and Outdoor Ramps
Climbing up stairs isn’t always going to be easy as it once was for older dogs. Install ramps where you can to reduce pain in their back and hind legs. They’ll also provide extra mobility.
Make sure to have one for your car if you plan on traveling with your pet. A retractable or foldable pet ramp also takes up minimal space, so you can take it with you while road tripping. For inside the home, consider some that are more permanent, but take up a small amount of space. Place these ramps at the end of couches and beds to reduce the amount of space they take up.
If you don’t plan on including a ramp for going up and down stairs in a two or three-story home, consider adding in pet gates to section off areas of your house and avoid potential strain on their legs. They’ll know this space is off-limits and will keep your mind at ease when you’re not home, limiting potential injury.
Updated Mudroom And Potty Station
Creating an indoor potty station is key once dogs get older; sadly, incontinence is just a part of growing old for our furry friends. Because of this, equipping your mudroom properly with a potty station and other amenities will keep cleanup as easy as possible. Adding in a single sink vanity with farmhouse elements is key for cleaning up messes or accidents that are bound to take place. This is also a great location for storing things you don’t want lying around such as medications, walking, and grooming gear, along with extra treats in case you need them.
Putting a potty station in the mudroom will also create a one-stop shop for clean-up, making life just a little bit easier for you as well! Adding a second one near a resting location can also help to avoid messes during hours you’re not home. However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect outdoor activity. Have them do their business indoors, but provide the chance to do daily walks or time playing outside to keep them active and their muscles moving.
Orthopedic Bed for Rest and Sleep
Older dogs will likely suffer from arthritis, so an orthopedic bed will help cushion their joints and bones. Whether you plan on crating or letting your senior dog roam free, have a few of these around the house for comfort.
Some of these orthopedic beds also come with heating features, which will be great year-round for therapeutic relief. You’ll want to look for something with memory foam or polyurethane foam; these are the thickest you’ll find for firm yet gentle support on your pet’s muscles and bones.
Interactive Toys and Puzzles
While your dog may still love to fetch, a hard tennis or lacrosse ball may be the last thing their mouth can handle. A soft foam ball will be gentler on the teeth and jaw while still letting them play their favorite outdoor game.
Make sure the toys you buy are bright-colored and make a sound as they move to help in case your dog’s eyesight starts to go as well. Keep these toys interactive with dog treats too! These will provide motivation for them but will keep their mind sharp and stimulated as they start to get older.
Rug Paths and Couch Pillows
If you are already aware that your older adoptee may be losing sight, this is a great addition to have. Rug paths can offer comfort in knowing how to get room to room. Also plan on getting non-slip mats for these rugs. This will avoid movement if your dog gets rambunctious, as well as relieve any joint pain they may get from walking around the house.
Make sure locations where they may rest with you and your family also are comfortable on their joints. Throw pillows on the couch and extra blankets will keep them warm as well as keep their muscles on soft surfaces.
While vet appointments and daily care are things you’ll have down early on, make sure to keep these things in mind as you prepare your home for an older dog. Keeping them just as comfortable as you would a family member is key to making them happy and healthy!
Give with Confidence
At HSNEGA, we want to remember the amazing rescues that come to stay with us. All of the animals pictured on this site have been with us at some point. Some have already found their forever homes, but some may still be here at HSNEGA! The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization (Federal Tax ID #58-0678817) and has received top recognition from the following charity rating organizations: