Keep Your Senior Dog Safe with These 5 Simple Tools
By: Jeff Noce, Voyce President
Do you have a dog who’s entering his or her golden years? Believe it or not, most dogs are considered seniors between the ages of seven and ten, depending on size and breed.
Although yours may still seem like a spry pup, there may be subtle signs that he’s becoming a distinguished older gentleman. These signs include reduced vision, increased urination, bad breath due to gum disease, difficulty getting up or down, memory problems and behavior changes.
Even if you’re not observing any of these in your dog yet, it’s still a good idea to start taking steps to make your home a safer, more comfortable place for him as he ages. I’ve pulled together five of my favorite easy tools for keeping your more mature pup healthy and happy.
As pets age, both joints and muscles may weaken, making it more difficult to get around on slippery hardwood or tile floors. Help your dog maintain his grip and his balance by putting down rugs. Choose those with non-slip backing and place them along the routes he normally takes through the house. Rugs also give him more warm places to lie down when he gets tired.
Ramps & Steps
As your pup ages, he may no longer be able to jump into the car or on the couch with the ease he once did. Constantly lifting him up and down isn’t always a viable solution, especially if you have a large dog (believe me, I know!). So make it easier on your dog and yourself by teaching him to use a ramp and/or steps. Ramps are a great way to help your dog into the car, and steps can make it easier to get on the bed or couch. Some dogs will take to these tools right away while others may need some coaxing. During the training phase, keep sessions short and liberally praise and reward any progress.
Stairs can become a real health hazard to older pets. One tumble could result in serious injury…or at the very least, a big scare for both of you. If you notice your dog having trouble with stairs, use a baby gate to keep him off of them. A baby gate can also be a great way to control which rooms your pup has access to. This is especially important if he’s starting to have incontinence issues or experiencing cognitive problems that result in him becoming “lost” in your house.
A Better Dog Bed
There’s nothing more soothing to aching joints than a soft place to rest. Check out your dog’s bedding and if it’s become thin or worn over time, consider upgrading. If the outer shell is still in good condition, you may be able to replace the insert with inexpensive egg-crate foam. There are also many orthopedic dog beds on the market made from high-density memory foam that provide even more padding and comfort.
Voyce Health Monitor
The signs of aging can be subtle and dogs are known experts at hiding their discomfort. The Voyce Health Monitor can give you additional insight into what your dog is really feeling by tracking key indicators like Activity (a sudden increase or decrease can signal a problem) and Rest (increased interruptions during rest can indicate of a change in health or pain level). For even more peace of mind, speak to your veterinarian about the Voyce Pro Wellness Monitoring Program, which allows pet health professionals to remotely access your dog’s vital statistics and wellness indicators.
I’d like to hear from you! If you have questions you’d like me to address on this blog regarding pet health or behavior, send an email to email@example.com.