Adopting a senior pet is an amazing and meaningful experience for both you and your new best friend. These darlings have so much love to give! While senior dogs will happily adapt to their new home, given a little time, here are some hot tips on how to create a 5-star home that your new pet deserves.
Hard surface flooring tends to be very slippery for pets! Their little feet are designed to walk on surfaces such as grass, where they dig their claws in to help to move forward (and to get up). Slipping can cause muscle strains and pain which takes a toll on them emotionally as well. A simple but effective measure is to add non-slip mats or carpets in areas where your senior friend will spend most of their time. If this is a tricky option, then Dr Buzby’s Toe Grips can be a great solution by adding instant traction and confidence.
You’ve decided on the right type of diet for your new friend, with your family veterinarian’s advice. And you’ve probably selected a few tasty treats to spoil your new pal. Now about the delivery. If your senior dogs has neck or back problems, or front leg lameness, raising the feed and water bowls helps prevent repeated straining to reach the floor level. Use books to try several different heights to see what they prefer, but usually, it will be around shoulder height. Add non-slip mats underneath the bowl and the standing area to stabilise the bowl and the doggy during eating and drinking.
Older pets will sleep more and it’s important to provide a safe and comfortable resting area. What looks soft and inviting to you, could be unstable and difficult for your new pet to navigate over. Senior pets need a bed which provides a firm and supporting structure. Orthopaedic mattresses with cleanable antibacterial and water resistance covers are favourable to keep your new friend comfortable, clean and dry. Some pets may be anxious about their new home and so adding a simple box to create a little privacy with walls and a roof may be a great short-term solution. New or old toys and even some of your worn (not washed) clothing may provide some comfort in the early days.
How does the temperature feel in the area your pet spends their time? Older pets often have creaky joints and tired muscles. They do much better when the environmental temperature is warm. In cold weather, add a small heater. In warmer weather, if the aircon is on, or the breeze is flowing, move your pets’ bed away from the direction of air flow.
As dogs age, their vision becomes less accurate due to changes in the lens structure. They may also have some brain aging changes. Adding a night light around your pets sleeping area will help your dog to feel safer. You may also consider playing some soothing music or ‘white noise’ to block out some of the new sounds and to create a soothing space for them to relax.
Sharing your heart with a senior pet is rewarding for all involved. Helping your doggie with simple home changes is part of the journey. One will make a huge difference in their world.
For more tips and ideas, download our Home Checklist and Senior Pet Guide below to help you create the 5-star home for your new best friend!