Want to make your indoor space more comfortable for your aging dog or cat? These tips will help you senior pet proof your home!
Taking care of a beloved senior pet can be challenging. In order to ensure that they can drink, eat, exercise, sleep, and go to the bathroom easily and safely, special accommodations must be made. Here is a list of important considerations when making your home comfortable and safe for your senior pet.
1. Maintain a comfortable home temperature
Cats and dogs struggle in cold temperatures, especially so as they age. Dogs are also particularly susceptible to losing their hair as they get older, which makes chilly places even harder for them to handle. To combat these challenges, ensure that your home remains at a consistently comfortable temperature year-round, particularly during the winter months.
2. Supply easy-to-use food and water dishes
Some older cats and dogs can experience severe neck discomfort when having to lean down too far to eat food or have a drink. Thankfully, there are pet dishes made especially with this issue in mind, which can be easily adjusted to fit the height of your pet perfectly.
3. Eliminate sharp corners and objects
Your geriatric pet has a reduced awareness that makes them more prone to accidents and bumping into things in their environment. This means that any furniture that has sharp corners or any pointy objects can be particularly dangerous for them. You can use foam or utilize specially made protective covers around your home to minimize the likelihood of your senior furry friend harming themselves with any accidental collisions.
4. Remove any tripping hazards
Just like humans, as pets age, their hearing, vision and general awareness all start to deteriorate. This can make it difficult for them to avoid obstacles and certain objects around the home, particularly if they are easy to miss and trip over. Make life easier for your senior pet by clearing your home of any potential tripping hazards and save your beloved friend from suffering any dangerous falls. This makes for a tidier house, too!
5. Provide a more accessible litter box
Climbing into containers can be painful for an older cat, as they can suffer terribly from sore muscles and joints. By providing them with a litter box that features a ramp or other lowered entry point, a senior pet can make it in and out of their bathroom easily and without incident. You can consult with your vet for the best choices or shop online for a myriad of options.
6. Utilize pet ramps
As mentioned above, geriatric pets can suffer from severe joint stiffness and pain, and this makes the act of climbing and jumping very painful for them. Thankfully, there are special ramps available that are designed to provide your dog or cat with a painless method of conveniently getting into the car, up the stairs, or onto your lap when you’re relaxing on the bed or couch.
7. Keep a peaceful home to help them to sleep
As an older pet’s senses and memories fade, they can easily and often lose track of time. This, combined with an increase in fatigue, can cause them to sleep during the daytime hours, and then become restless at night. By routinely providing a calm and quiet home environment, you can support your ageing pet in being able to catch a couple of hours of sleep whenever the need arises.
8. Make it easy for them to find their water and food
Your older pet’s nutritional needs are important, but their sense of memory and spacial awareness will slowly fade as the years pass, making it harder for them to remember where their water and food bowls are. Aside from taking them to it, you can help them by choosing the simplest spot to keep them. Place their water and food dishes in an open space that is most easily accessible from wherever else they may be in the house.
9. Work to keep your home free from sickness and germs
An animal’s immune system will naturally weaken as they get older. Sicknesses that wouldn’t compromise the health of a younger cat or dog can cause significant medical issues in geriatric pets. Wherever possible, try to avoid bringing any other animals into your home to minimize any chances of them contracting a virus or bug. Also, make it a habit to use antibacterial products to wipe clean any areas or dirty objects that your pet may expose themselves to. The fewer the germs that are lurking in your home, the easier it will be for your ageing pet to avoid falling ill.
10. Minimize their exposure to unfamiliar places and faces
Older pets can develop an increased anxiety and can exhibit a tendency to behave aggressively towards any unfamiliar people or environments. Therefore, you should always strive to limit your senior pet’s exposure to unfamiliar rooms and spaces, as well as any people that they are not used to seeing. Ageing cats and dogs need extra stability and security in their daily lives, so, as best as you can, try not to change up their living space too much or invite multiple unfamiliar faces over to visit.
Our precious aging pets need more care and consideration to ensure that their golden years are comfortable, safe and happy. A bit of forethought and a few minor changes can make all the difference to ensuring that they feel more at ease as they continue to age.