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Senior Dog Safety at Home

As your dog attains senior status, you may begin to notice some changes in him. Many senior dogs exhibit signs of decreased mobility, they may become less agile, and hearing and vision loss may occur. Some of these changes may make your home a danger zone without some prompt attention. However, by implementing a few changes around your home, you will be able to keep your senior dog safe and secure in all areas of your home. It’s a lot easier than you think.

  1. Keep any areas that your dog has access to well lit. Lighting is very important as your dog begins to lose his vision. He needs to be able to have very easy access to his bed, toys, feeding area and basically anything else that he uses daily.  As one sense begins to fail others may follow, and this can make for a very nervous or apprehensive senior dog. This may mean keeping lights on at times when you ordinarily wouldn’t.
  2. Keep all paths clear. Your senior pup needs to be able to move comfortably around the home, which can include blocking off stairs if using them causes joint or back pain. Keep furniture, lamps, chests and other home accessories towards the outer walls of any rooms your senior dog has access to. This will prevent your dog from running into things and getting hurt but it will also prevent him from breaking or damaging items around the home.
  3. Keep breakables up high and out of the way. Unfortunately, accidents will happen. Your dog won’t purposely break your grandmother’s china tea cups or that vase that Aunt Lily gave you for your wedding but, if he accidentally bumps into a table or cabinet, something valuable might get broken. Plan for these accidents because they will happen. You don’t want to take your disappointment out on your dog if an accident does occur. Even young dogs are an accident waiting to happen with their exuberant tail wagging, so be proactive in getting fragile objects out of the way.
  4. Keep your dog’s belongings, and only his belongings, close to the ground. Your dog should have easy access to everything he needs and that means keeping everything close to the ground and on the first story of your home (if you live in a two story home). Even though your dog is getting up there in years, he will still try to jump up to reach his favorite toy or bone, or may even attempt to climb the stairs to get to his bed during a thunderstorm. Be sure that you not only make his belongings accessible but you make it impossible for him to attempt stairs or beds, especially when you are not home.  Also, don’t leave anything on the floor that your dog mistake for his. If it’s on the floor, it’s fair game and that’s a safety hazard. Children’s toys, shoes, coins, wrappers may all make into your dog’s mouth and that could be potentially fatal. As dogs enter their senior years, they may begin to put things in their mouths that they have never considered in their younger years.
  5. Take a close look at your senior dog’s bed. Is it well cushioned and close to the ground? If not, you must change that as soon as possible. It’s very common for a senior dog to have arthritis and other issues that cause bone pain.  A soft cozy bed will minimize pain and stiffness associated with these issues  If your dog sleeps in your bed, be sure to provide him with doggie stairs or a little ramp to safely get up onto your bed.  If he still struggles, lift him so he doesn’t get hurt. If your senior dog needs an orthopedic dog bed, check out K9ofmine’s list of the top 5 beds that performed well for a senior dog’s needs. Different price ranges are included for any budget.
  6. Get down on your dog’s level and look for any sharp corners that your dog may bump into.  There are great little rubber cushions meant to place on sharp corners. You can find these at the Home Depot, many baby stores or even in the furniture or baby section of other stores. Again, this is to prevent injury to your senior dog as he makes his way around your home.

As your senior dog enters his twilight years, it’s important to set him up for success. Your goal should be to keep him safe health-wise but to also keep him safe from accidents as he navigates his way around your home. Think about how you baby proof your home for your human babies or puppies and follow the above tips. Do you have a senior dog at home?  How do you keep your home safe and comfortable for him?