Helpful Home Modifications for Senior Dogs
We often get questions from clients about our favorite tips and tricks for keeping their senior dogs happy and comfortable in their homes. So, here’s a list of the many things you can do to make things a little easier on your pup, and yourself!
Yoga mats are easy and can help senior dogs with additional traction. Plus, they can be easily cleaned and removed when company comes over!
An often underestimated tool, yoga mats are great for traction if you have hard surfaces in your home. Unlike rugs and traditional mats, yoga mats don’t slip on wooden or tile floors so are less frightening and intimidating to dogs. They also provide more of a cushioned
and comfortable surface to lay on than many rugs. We recommend yoga mats for down hallways, stair landings, or really anywhere you may feel like your dog could use some extra traction around the home.
A caveat to this would be double sided tape underneath existing rugs and mats. If you don’t want to change the look of a certain rug but want to add some extra support, double sided tape is an inexpensive way to keep mats in one place, therefore helping to prevent slipping.
Paw Friction, Toe Grips, and Show Foot spray:
Continuing with the traction trend, there are products on the market designed specifically for dogs that can be applied to keep them from slipping.
is a paw pad coating system that decreases sliding on smooth surfaces, increases mobility and reduces risk of injury. It’s a relatively easily applied product lasts up to a week (sometimes more, depending on your dogs activity level and proper application).
Paw Friction can help senior pets who slide on hardwood and tile floors.
spray (can be purchased online at Amazon, Cherrybrook Pet Supplies, and more), was designed to prevent slipping on smooth surfaces as well as wet grass. It dries fast and can be applied quickly, so may be a good one to try if your dog isn’t fond of having their feet handled much.
are placed over your dogs toenails, and improve grip and mobility by allowing the toenails to to grip smooth surfaces. If you’ve ever noticing your dog struggling to “grip” on a smooth surface with their nails, you can see why Toe Grips would help them regain some mobility.
Help Em Up Harness
Harnesses can help pet families assist large pets to rise and provide support while walking.
For dogs suffering from certain mobility issues, especially those with hind end weakness, these harnesses can be a life saver for you, and your dog. They are designed to be left on for extended periods of time, so unlike traditional slings and towels, can be there right when you need them to help your dog. As with anything, proper hygiene is important so we recommend removing the harness every few days and keeping an eye on the skin under the harness for rubs, etc.
Ramps & Stairs
Ramps can be built or purchased for your dog to use instead of stairs. For some dogs, stairs can be a daunting task, making them less likely to want to go outside or move about your home. We urge you to introduce ramps early on in your dog’s life, so they when they get older they can see them as helpful and not scary. Even if you haven’t introduced
Ramps can allow senior pets to continue their normal activities and improve their quality of life.
them before your dog needs them, most dogs take to them quite easily when given time to get used to them. Treats are always a great tool to help dogs associate a ramp with positive things!
The same rules apply for steps to the couch or bed and introducing them early on is always your best bet. Many companies make steps you can buy to make it easier for your dog (or cats too!) to access your couch, or even your own bed. Car ramps are also a good idea if you have a larger dog to make getting in/out of the car easier on both of you!
In some cases, it may be safer to completely block off stairs to certain areas of the home if you aren’t able to supervise your dog 24/7. We want to avoid your dog potentially falling down stairs as much as we can.
Raised Feeders & Pill Pockets
Raised feeders can be helpful for our senior dogs by helping bring their food and water to them. Often times we see
Raised feeders can make dinner time more comfortable and encourage senior pets to keep eating.
dogs not wanting to lower their heads all the way to the ground to eat off the floor because it can be painful for them to do so. Simply raising the feeder/waterer up to their level can alleviate that and help to make meal times a more positive occurrence. You’ll want to measure your dog from the floor to about elbow level for the appropriate height.
Pill pockets can be purchased at just about every pet store, Amazon, etc. and are great for getting dogs to take their medications. It’s a soft, squishy treat that has a hollow center where you can stuff pills, then can be “closed” at the top. Most dogs gobble them right up which makes medication time easier on everyone!
Fans & Cooling Mats
Cooling mats can help keep senior pets comfortable in warmer months.
Fans & cooling mats are great tools to help keep your senior dog cool during the warmer months. Fans should be introduced slowly, as some dogs can be scared of the noise they make. Cooling mats are usually well tolerated, and
appreciated! There are numerous options available for both fans and cooling mats. We like the mats that are self activated, meaning you don’t have to do anything but lay the mat down and have your dog lay on it, it does the rest.
Product ideas listed in this blog (These links are part of the Amazon affiliate program and Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice may receive compensation if you choose to purchase through these links at no additional cost to you!):
If you have a pet who would benefit from a pain management, mobility managment, or integrative medicine consultation, please contact Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice at 757-474-5968.