As our dogs age, they require a little extra comfort and care – and after everything they do for us, they definitely deserve it!
Help your senior pooch stay safe, happy and healthy with these 7 must-have items.
1. A Supportive Bed
Older dogs spend up to 18 hours a day sleeping and most of their waking hours lounging, so a high-quality orthopedic bed may be the most important product you can provide. Memory foam beds are great for seniors because they offer just enough give to be comfortable on the joints while still providing firm support for the rest of the body. Memory foam also retains its shape and density, making it easier for your dog to get up and down.
Unfortunately, not all dog beds that claim to be “orthopedic” are the real deal. Rather than constantly replacing inferior beds, consider investing in a tried-and-true product like the Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed. The creators are so confident in their products that they offer a 10 year “can’t flatten, won’t flatten” warranty. They guarantee the orthopedic foam will hold its shape for a full decade or they’ll send you a brand new bed.
While Big Barker dog beds were originally designed for large and giant breed dogs, they now offer the Barker Junior with slightly softer foam for smaller pups.
2. Slip-Proof Mats
Senior dogs are at an increased risk for slips and falls on hard flooring due to their unstable joints and decreased confidence in their mobility. If your home has tile, hardwood or laminate floors, lay out slip-proof mats for extra traction.
Throw rugs and carpet runners are effective as long as you secure them with anti-skid rug pads. For an inexpensive quick-fix, lay out yoga mats in your home’s high traffic areas. YogaAccessories.com sells rolls of the grippy padding you can trim to suit your needs.
Don’t forget to cover your hard-floored stairs or block your dog’s access using baby gates.
Older dogs often lose confidence in their ability to climb on and off the furniture or in and out of the car. Even if they can make it on their own, it may be too much for their joints. Instead of condemning them to a life on the floor, use ramps or doggy steps so your senior can stay by your side.
Jumping and climbing steep surfaces puts undue stress on a dog’s joints, something arthritic seniors definitely do not need. While ramps and stairs are basically interchangeable and perform the same function, you may want to consider a few factors before deciding which to use for your dog.
- Many dogs have never climbed stairs before or have had bad experiences that caused them to fear steps
- When it comes to pet stairs, size matters – be sure they are tall, wide, deep and sturdy enough to support your dog and reach the desired surface
- Rickety stairs could frighten or even harm your dog – shop for quality over value
- Ramps tend to take up more space when in use, but less space when stored
- Ramps are sturdier, but may be more expensive
- Although stairs are a better alternative to jumping, ramps place less stress on the joints
4. Potty Pads
Potty pads, pee pads or puppy training pads are a simple, disposable solution for senior dogs experiencing incontinence. There are several reasons – some of them serious – that an older dog may begin to experience accidents inside the home so it is best to consult your vet.
No matter the cause, potty pads help protect your floors and give your dog a “safe” spot to relieve him/herself in an emergency. The top consists of absorbent material and the back is waterproof to hold in moisture.
In addition to potty pads, you may want to invest in canine diapers or belly bands as well as a waterproof cover for your dog’s bed.
Related: We love cats too! See our guide to the top foods for senior cats.
5. Soft, Interactive Toys
Dogs may slow down in their senior years, but that doesn’t mean they lose their love of play! In fact, continued physical activity can help with joint pain and stave off cognitive dysfunction by exercising the brain.
Opt for soft toys that are gentle on your dog’s sensitive teeth and gums and ones that encourage them to think while they play. Doggie Dice are plush, interactive toys that help reinforce the bond you share with your special senior. Roll or toss it and perform the activity listed on whichever side lands face up. You may end up giving belly rubs, hugs, treats or snapping a selfie together!
6. Comfort Cuddler
Senior dogs sometimes develop separation anxiety later in life, even if they have never suffered from it before. Provide the soothing comfort of your scent with the Comfort Cuddler. The plush, heart shaped pillow has a mesh pocket to stuff a gently worn article of clothing into. Then, simply tuck it into bed with your pooch and let your subtle scent relax away the stress. The Comfort Cuddler is also helpful on car rides, at the vet, or any time your sensitive senior faces a stressful scenario.
For an extra calming boost, try Project Paws’ Advanced All-Natural Calming Chews for Dogs. Made with soothing ingredients like tryptophan, chamomile, passion flower and ginger root, these tasty chews help take the edge off on a daily basis and at times of increased stress.
7. Senior Health Supplements
Dietary supplements can be beneficial at any stage of life, but they are especially important for senior dogs. As they age, it becomes increasingly difficult for the body to maintain healthy levels of essential nutrients with diet alone. Some supplements help prevent or slow the onset of certain diseases, while others provide relief from common aging problems like arthritis and dementia.
Hip & Joint Soft Chews are an excellent choice for older, arthritic dogs. They contain Glucosamine and Chondroitin which have been clinically shown to help ease achy, inflamed joints. They also have the added benefit of MSM which has been shown to protect cartilage from deterioration and reduce joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Omega fatty acids are best known for their skin and coat benefits, but they are also thought to support critical brain function, help boost the immune system, and offer arthritis support when paired with other joint health supplements like Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM.
SAM-e is one of the most commonly used supplements in human and veterinary medicine. It helps support the liver, which is especially important for dogs taking chronic medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) often prescribed for arthritis. It also supports brain health and helps counteract canine cognitive dysfunction.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.