As your dog gets older, it can be hard to watch them struggle with the things that once came easily to them. But failing sight, poor hearing or reduced mobility doesn’t have to be an end to the fun you can have with your beloved pooch.
Because, with a few thoughtful adjustments to your home, your dog can continue to enjoy a fun-packed and fulfilling life, and bring you just as much joy as ever.
Let’s get started.
1) Create an outdoor sensory area
It’s no secret that dogs love to sniff. In fact, it’s estimated dogs spend around a third of their time smelling stuff! As well as giving your pooch all sorts of information about the world, sniffing is thought to promote positivity in dogs. In other words, making sure your canine companion still has plenty of opportunity to sniff and explore will give their mental health a real boost.
If mobility or reduced vision becomes a problem for your pet, long walks may be off the cards, so you’ll need to get more creative when it comes to fulfilling their sniffing needs. Creating a sensory area in your garden is a great place to start and doesn’t need to cost a lot. Keep an eye out for interesting items being given away or sold cheaply in online groups.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
• Ornamental grasses
• Scented plants such as lavender, rosemary, mint, honeysuckle and jasmine
• A sand or earth pit for digging
• A small water feature with trickling water
• A cosy kennel to provide shade and shelter
• Planters made from old tyres
• An outdoor mirror
• Soothing wind chimes
2) Reduce slip risks
As your dog gets older, making adjustments inside your home will make life more comfortable for them too.
For example, securing rugs and runners to slippery floors can reduce your dog’s risk of skidding and take the pressure off ageing joints.
You should also make sure your dog’s nails are regularly clipped and that the hair around their toes is trimmed as this will improve their grip. Non-slip dog socks can also be a big help.
3) Give mealtimes a lift
If feeding time has become a problem for your pet, a raised bowl could be the answer. Unlike regular bowls, raised bowls don’t slide around the floor when your dog is eating. They also reduce the strain placed on your dog’s neck, hips, shoulders and joints at mealtime.
4) Comforting night lights
Although dogs typically have better night vision than us, like us, their sight deteriorates with age. This can make navigating the house harder as they get older. A simple solution is to place a small night light near their sleeping area.
Night lights provide comfort and reassurance and reduce the risk of your pet bumping into things if they move around. If you don’t want to leave a light on all night - or constant light makes it hard for your dog to settle – a plug-in or USB rechargeable motion sensor light is a great option.
5) Boredom busting toys
If getting out and about isn’t as easy as it used to be for your dog, introducing a range of sensory toys will stave off boredom, build confidence and strengthen your bond.
Here are a few of our favourites:
This two-in-one toy will keep your dog happy as he tries to retrieve his treats and gets a gum massage into the bargain!
Made from super-soft plush material, this cute bear contains a squeaker and calming lavender beans to soothe your dog and reduce anxiety.
Now here’s a toy our office dogs can vouch for - they all love it! And Brocolli Flattie is especially good for older, and partially sighted, dogs. Why? Well, toys which make sudden loud noises can be alarming for dogs who can’t see too well but Broccoli’s crinkly filling simulates their senses without making them jump.
Despite its floppy name, this fun fish is a firm favourite with us. Activated by touch, Floppy Fish flips around providing hours of stimulating fun.
If your dog loves to play fetch, then this ball is a real winner. Covered in soft nylon tabs, it’s softer on your dog’s teeth, jaw and mouth, and is easier for them to pick up, toss and tug.
If your senior dog is showing signs of slowing down, they may be experiencing joint stiffness. YuMOVE Joint Care PLUS for Dogs is a high-quality joint supplement that’s been specially formulated for older dogs. Clinically proven to make a difference in just six weeks,* it supports joint health and aids mobility so that your pet can enjoy a more active, for life.
*Canine study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College.