A puppy of 1-year of age or less, spends an average of just 24 days in an animal shelter before finding its forever home. Adult dogs typically spend 42 days there, whereas aging hounds or 'senior dogs' can spend over 6-months waiting to find a new owner. Senior dogs come with many benefits, including being house trained, less demanding, and less energetic. But before you introduce a loving older dog into your home, it's essential that you take these steps to prepare.
Protecting your new dog in your home is one of the most important factors to consider and making the environment safe for them is especially important when it’s an aging dog who’s moving in, as it’s common for an older dog’s eyesight to deteriorate. The shelter where you adopt your dog from may be able to advise whether the aging pooch you've fallen in love with has any vision problems. Sometimes dogs, like people can be nearsighted or farsighted. They can also develop cataracts and glaucoma as they age. It’s worth getting down to your dog’s level and assessing your home from his height to help identify any hazards that your dog could injure himself on, such as electric cords and wires. Furniture cushion covers on sharp corners are essential, as they'll prevent any eye or facial injuries from occurring while he’s exploring his home. You should also install a stair gate at the top of your stairs to prevent your new dog from having a fall when you bring him home.
A quiet sleep area
The average adult dog will sleep between 12 and 14 hours every day, according to Sleep.org. An aging dog will require more than this, though, and it’s common for them to sleep for 18 to 20 hours per day. You will, therefore, need to provide your aging pooch with a quiet, calm, and peaceful place to sleep. This needs to be easily accessible to your dog, and away from children and the hustle and bustle of daily life. A good quality bed, a blanket, a comfort toy, and some water are essential for ultimate comfort.
There is a 65% chance that a senior dog will have arthritis, states the South Boston Animal Hospital. The animal shelter that has been caring for your dog will advise whether this is a health concern that your dog is showing signs of. If you will be living with a dog with arthritis, then you’ll need to make a few adjustments to your home to aid their quality of life. Installing a set of dog stairs or a dog ramp by your sofa and bed will make it easier for your dog to access these pieces of furniture. It’s worth doing the same in outside spaces around your home, too. If you have steps leading to your front door or in your garden, invest in a ramp to prevent aggravating your senior dog’s arthritis.
Senior dogs are loving creatures that have so much affection to give to their new owners. To ensure that you both get on well and enjoy a long and happy life together, you should take the time to make a few adjustments to your property before introducing your new pet to his forever home.