6 Ways to Make the Lives of Elderly Pets Easier

Just like people, as animals age, things can start to get more difficult to navigate. Countless studies have pointed to the fact that pain in dogs and cats can oftentimes be difficult to recognize until it’s fairly advanced. They can also suffer cognitive decline and vision loss.

So, what can we do to make our pets’ golden years more comfortable and less stressful? We’ve got some suggestions for you right here.

Navigating with Aging Pets

old great dane
Photo: Pixabay/sergeljeanette

If your pet is starting to show signs of mental decline or limitations in their sight, experts recommend that you keep things the same in your house to help them cope with navigating rooms. In other words, now is not the time to rearrange your furniture or mix things up a lot, as this could lead to unnecessary confusion on their part.

They know where everything is, and the last thing they need is for you to disrupt that sense of security. Few beings embrace change wholeheartedly, and the older one gets, the less welcome it seems to be.

Joint Pain in Pets

older dog
Photo: Pixabay/justamonster

Arthritis and joint pain due to strains and other injuries are common issues as we age. It’s no different for Spot or Miss Twinkles. You can help them by providing stairs or ramps for furniture they’re used to accessing. Jumping up for them is hard enough, but nailing the landing without causing further harm is almost impossible.

If you’re going to try stairs, make sure they’re not wobbly under the animal’s weight. This will only make them nervous and disinclined to use them. If you have a sectional sofa, try placing the stairs so that the side of the staircase is snug up against the sofa for some added stabilization.

If you’ve tried 3- or 4-step units and your pet refuses to use them, consider installing moveable ramps covered in non-slip surfaces. These can be used inside and out, as many homes sit above crawl spaces and feature steps leading up to the doors.

Non-Slip Rugs for Pets

elderly boxer dog
Photo: Pixabay/ambquinn

Own a home with slick tile or wood floors? These can be tricky for pets of any age, but especially those getting on in years. If they’re having trouble or are starting to refuse to enter rooms with these types of flooring, then purchase some non-skid rugs and runners to create a pathway for them to feel more secure on.

The same goes with the bathtub or shower, if that’s where you bathe them. Buy a rubber mat or lay a thick towel in the bottom of it before lifting them in.

Raised Food & Water Stations

dog bent forward eating
Photo: Pixabay/mattycoulton

Older pets may also have difficulty bending down to reach food and water bowls. To help that, determine the height that would lessen that “stoop” and place their bowls at that level so they can eat and drink more comfortably. This can reduce placing a strain on their neck, shoulders, back, spine, or hips.

Pet Bedding

dog bed
Photo: Pixabay/4109299

This is really important, and anyone who’s ever slept on the floor or gone camping recently will totally relate. Proper bedding providing support is vital to their comfort and well-being, so look into getting them an orthopedic bed with something like Memory Foam to help evenly distribute their weight and relieve pressure points.

A good night’s sleep free from fitful tossing and turning can go a long way towards making you feel better.

Pets & Air Temperatures

Photo: Pixabay/Ebowalker

Try to maintain your home’s interior temperature at a moderate setting that’s not too cold or too hot for them (think Goldilocks). Elderly animals, like humans, can be sensitive to extreme temps, so thermostat wars are not in their best interest at this stage of life. If maintaining steady temps is a problem in your home during winter, you should provide them with heating pads or extra blankets, and in the summer, access to cool areas or gel pads, which can help, too.

Bonus Tip: Noise levels that get too high can be a real trial for pets of any age, but as they get older, you might want to refrain from blaring television sets and loud music that can put them on edge unnecessarily.

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