Making Your Home Senior Pet Friendly

Nov 7, 2019   Tracey Aston   Senior Pet Care

By the time your beloved pet reaches their senior years, they have most likely shared a home with you for close to a decade or longer. However, as pets age, normal daily tasks and household items may begin to become tricky, difficult or downright dangerous.  Thankfully, there are a few simple and inexpensive ways to keep your faithful friend safe and comfortable in their home.

As muscles get sore and joints become stiff having a comfy place to unwind becomes more important than ever!  For added comfort and cushion, consider upgrading your pet's bed to an orthopedic pet bed. Orthopedic pet beds provide superior joint and back support, plush covers, and some are even made from high quality memory foam. Orthopedic pet beds range in cost from around $20 into the hundreds of dollars depending on the quality, type and manufacture. Cooling beds or pads can also be used for pets with arthritis. The cooling will reduce the swelling in arthritic joints and make the pet feel comfortable. Pets suffering from Congestive Heart Failure can also benefit as a cooling pad will lower the temperature around the chest area and reduce fluid buildup. 

Arthritis is very common in senior pets and arthritic pets have a harder time walking or standing on slick surfaces like linoleum, tile, laminate and hardwood. Non-slip or secured area rugs can be added to areas a pet frequently travels to provide a safer and more secure place to walk.  If using throw rugs, make sure to add rug gripper or double sided carpet tape to so rug doesn't slip or bunch and actually cause more of a tripping hazard. 

Rugs aren't the only tripping hazard that threatens an unsteady pet. Cables wires, electronics, shoes, clothes and children's toys could all cause a pet to trip. This is even more so true if the pet is starting to have vision problems in addition to mobility issues. If at all possible, avoid rearranging the furniture or adding large pieces. 

A pet with failing vision or unsteady movements could easily fall down basement stairs, run into open doors, cabinets or sharp edges of furniture. Baby gates are a cheap and very effective way to block a pet out of an area that could potentially harm them.   For sharp furniture edges in rooms that a pet frequents, affordable pool noodles can be wrapped around the edges of the furniture to keep a pet from harming themselves if they should bump or fall into something. 

Senior pets will naturally become less active than they once were and old toys and cat trees can become dangerous. If a cat is having mobility, joint or eye problems, consider lowering any high cat trees or scratching posts to avoid a high fall. 

Pet friendly ramps and stairs come in various sizes, lengths and types and can provide much easier access to a pet's favorite places like the beds, couches, cars or even the outdoors. An aging pet is at higher risk for a back or joint injury and jumping off furniture or out of cars puts a tremendous amount of stress on their joints. 

If the pet is still able to go outside to relieve themselves, check the yard for any tools, toys, holes or sticks lying around that could become a tripping hazard for a vision impaired pet or a pet with mobility issues. 

If it becomes increasingly difficult for a pet to reach the outdoors to relieve themselves, consider making them an indoor potty station with pee-pads, papers or even a litter box for smaller dogs. Senior cats, cats with joints issues or partially paralyzed cats may find the standard height of a regular litter box too high.  If this is the case, an under-the-bed storage container or even a shoe tray lined with a pee-pee pad and topped with litter can be used as a substitute. 

Our pets have been our guardians, companions, playmates, and friends and give us all they are and more for years or decades. Now as a pet begins their senior years, it's time to pay them back for all they have done for us, and make a few modifications that will allow them to live their senior years safe, secure, and with those they love. 

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