Any pet owner knows how fast a new puppy becomes a beloved furry family member – and that dogs’ lives pass far too quickly.
A dog’s lifespan depends on numerous factors. So does the age at which they are considered a senior.
Typically, small dogs are considered geriatric at the age of 7, while larger breed dogs are considered geriatric at approximately 6 years of age, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. But believe it or not, the oldest recorded age of a dog is 29 years (1).
Senior dogs need special care and attention. Just like humans, your canine friend can develop several health problems with age, such as cancer, heart disease, kidney or urinary tract disease, liver disease, diabetes, joint or bone disease, senility and weakness.
Such health problems can cause dogs to become weak and more prone to injuries and falls. Even a small injury or fall at this stage can make it difficult for your pet to lead a healthy life in his golden years.
As a responsible pet owner, you’ll want to be prepared to give your senior dog more love, care and attention. You can easily protect older dogs from injuries by keeping an eye on them, feeding them a proper diet and, in some cases, making small alterations to your home and nearby environment.
Here are some tips to protect older dogs from injuries.
1. Make the Floors Safe
Older dogs can be injured by slipping and falling on smooth flooring. Such injuries can range from mild bruises to serious issues that might require surgery to repair or stabilize.
Hence, it becomes very important to make the floors safe for your elderly companion to walk around without any slips or falls.
Laminate, tile and hardwood floors look great, but such smooth and hard surfaces are not safe for your elder dog. To ensure that your furry friend walks around easily and safely, use rugs with no-skid backing or carpets.
2. Block Access to Stairs
If your furry friend loves to roam around the house and using the stairs is getting more tiresome day-by-day, there is no other option but to block your dog’s access to the stairs.
Taking the stairs can be risky for senior dogs, as they could accidentally fall down the stairs. If your dog has arthritis that flares up, climbing the stairs could also be really painful. Plus, if your older dog has seizures, he could take a tumble on the stairs, which can be fatal.
You can block your dog’s access by placing a baby gate in front of the stairs. Also, try to keep all windows and doors closed most of the time to prevent your furry companion from going on a stroll on the road unattended.
3. Use Ramps
Senior dogs may suffer from arthritis and other joint problems that can cause a lot of pain. Pain can make it really difficult for your dog to get around and play like he used to do when he was younger. Even everyday movements like jumping up into the bed or into the car can become painful as your dog ages.
Ramps can help your older dog safely get to the places where he is used to resting. For instance, ramps can make it easier for your senior dog to climb up on furniture or beds. Ramps can also be used to help your pet get into and out of the car.
Be sure to use ramps with a non-skid surface, and work with your dog if needed until he’s comfortable using the ramps.
4. Avoid Rearranging Furniture
Even though your motive might be to protect you elderly furry friend from injury, it is advisable not to rearrange your furniture.
Your pet has gotten used to the setting of your home and changing the furniture arrangement could cause your dog to get disoriented.
For instance, moving the sofa set to a new location could cause your dog to start bumping into it and possibly injuring himself. So, it is better to keep your furniture in the same place.
Also, older dogs often have poor vision, and keeping his path clear or familiar will prevent him from bumping into things.