If you’re like many of us these days, your pet may be treated as your child and considered one of the family – perhaps even one of the most important members of the family!
If so, you’ll want to do everything you can to make your beloved dog, cat, or other furry, feathered, or scaled animal as comfortable as possible in their twilight years. Here’s how you can set up your home in the best possible way to do that.
Make Access and Mobility Easier
As happens to us humans, dogs can develop numerous painful conditions as they age, including arthritis. This pain and often lack of mobility makes it tough for animals to do many of the things they once did freely, such as bending down to eat or drink, climbing in and out of bed or the litter box, or going upstairs. As a result, you can make your beloved animal more comfortable by making access easier for them, both inside and outside the home.
For example, provide them with a ramp or steps to go up to get onto your bed or other spot, or buy your cat a shallower, low-sided litter box. You might elevate the food and water bowls to a level that doesn’t require your pet to lean down so much or move their bed to a ground-level position. Pay attention to outdoor areas, too. You may need to provide a ramp for your pet to get to the grass to pee or poop or provide them with an animal door so they can get outside in a hurry if they can’t hold their wee in like they used to.
Give Them Plenty of Padding to Rest On
Due to arthritic joints and other pain issues, not to mention a likely loss of weight, especially in the back part of their body, many pets find that lying straight on the floor is no longer comfortable as they age. It’s best, then, to provide them with some more padding that will provide support for tender bones and joints.
Plus, many dogs, cats, and other animals find it more challenging to regulate their body temperature as they age, so they need more cozy bedding to snuggle in to stay warm. It pays to move your pet’s bed to sunnier areas of the house and add some extra blankets, sheets, or other layers. They may be more interested in spending time on your bed or on the couch, too.
If your pet lives both outside and inside, ensure they have comfortable places to lay in both areas so they can get the rest they need, whether you’re home or not. Furthermore, it’s wise to add grip aids to slippery surfaces, such as shiny tiles or areas outside that can get wet and slippery from the rain and cause your pet to slip or trip and hurt themselves.
Provide Heating and Cooling Options
Similarly, ensure your beloved animals can stay at the right temperature at all times of the year by providing them with adequate heating and cooling options. You can use heating and cooling pads and give them a jacket or sweater to wear in winter if needed.
If you don’t already have some air conditioning or modern ceiling fans in your home, it pays to add these products to keep your pets more comfortable. If you live somewhere that gets very cold in winter, it’s also helpful to have a fireplace, gas heating, or electrical units you can fire up to make rooms toasty warm.
Some other tips to make your home work more effectively for senior animals include removing sharp corners and surfaces that they could run into if their vision is impaired and decluttering rooms so that, for the same reason, they have fewer items to run into or fall over.
Try to keep the loud noise to a minimum in your home or at least provide pets with somewhere quiet to rest, too. Also, focus on cleaning your property often so you reduce bacteria and other bugs in the surroundings that could make them sick when their immune systems are more vulnerable.
Our pets provide us with unconditional love, not to mention laughter and joy for many years, so it’s only fair that we do what we can to make their final years as pleasant, safe, and agreeable as possible.