Your senior dog has been a faithful companion, and as they age, they deserve to be just as well cared for as when they were young and full of energy. You can improve your senior dog’s life with some easy modifications to their routines and your house. You can even sometimes add a couple of good years onto their lives, and who doesn’t want that? Keeping your senior dog happy and healthy isn’t complicated but it does take a bit of noticing and then effort on your part.

To start, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Furthermore, you should make this a priority as it’s good for their mental and physical health. It can also prevent or decrease signs of dementia. We’ve already written about training your older dog so go check that out.

Keeping your senior dog happy and healthy can also mean some adjustments to their environment.

Tips to keep your senior dog safe at home:

  • If you have wood floors, make sure to get some traction type booties for your dog. If they don’t care for wearing shoes, start putting down area rugs or non slip mats where they need to walk.
  • Think especially about your stairs. Even if they are carpeted, if the carpet is too low, it can also be slippery. You can get rubber treads to deal with this issue.
  • Is their bed supporting their body enough as they age? Check out orthopedic beds for older dogs with joint issues. You could also consider a heated bed to make them more comfortable. Go here for some ideas.
  • Keep in mind your dog’s vision when considering making any changes to the layout of your home. If they’re losing a lot of sight, it’s not the time to do an interior re-design. Keep things as they’ve known them. You might even consider simplifying the spaces they are typically in by clearing some unnecessary furniture and nicknack type things.
  • Consider some gates for rooms that pose any kind of danger to your senior dog. Keep them out of spaces that are too cluttered, for example.
  • If they have always liked to be on the couch but are suddenly staying on the floor, look into creating or getting some doggy stairs to help them. Or depending on your dog, ramps might work better.
  • Think about ramps outside your home if the steps are too steep or if you notice your elder dog is hesitating and moving slowly.
  • If your dog has always slept with you in your bed and you’re afraid they might fall out during the night, consider using rails like you would for a toddler.
  • Speaking of your dog’s vision, their night vision (just like older humans) can really decrease. Placing nightlights throughout your house will ensure their safety.
  • With bigger dogs especially, elevate their bowls so they don’t have to put so much strain on their necks.

Ideas to keep your senior dog happy

  • Don’t forget their social life. It might look different but keep taking them to places where they’re comfortable with the activities around them even if they just nap. Take them to visit their favorite humans. Consider taking them to nursing homes. Older dogs are so gentle as therapy dogs.
  • Keep paying as much attention to them as you always have, if not more, as you sense your time getting shorter. They need you now like they always have. Cuddle, talk, make eye contact.
  • Keep taking walks, just consider making them shorter.
  • Look into some extra and alternative care, like dog massage. Yep, it’s a thing. You can see more about it here. You can do it yourself, or if you’re worried about doing anything that might hurt your senior dog, there are a lot of dog massage therapists out there!
  • Get your senior dog excellent and regular grooming. This will increase their overall comfort. Imagine having a fur mat pushing against your arthritic hip.

Above all, talk to your vet about ways to improve your unique senior dog’s life. There are diet considerations and sometimes supplements that can make a big difference. Also be aware of specific issues that typically arise for your breed of dog so that you can keep an eye out for that.

Keep buying them new chew toys and keep thinking about how you can engage their minds and keep playing!