10 Life-Improving Products for Senior Dogs
From the best no-slip solutions to therapeutic dog bed styles, here are some smart product ideas for your senior dog:
For pups whose hind limbs splay out when they’re trying to get their bearings on slippery floors, booties are the best. My favorite brand is Pawz (shown at right). Made of biodegradable, reusable rubber, it comes in all kinds of adorable colors. And they only cost about $20 for a pack of six.
You can pick up by-the-yard runners at big-box hardware stores, or get design store, 18" x 18" squares (Flor is a popular brand) or splurge on the fancy, Persian-style carpeting you always wanted but never had a good excuse to invest in.
Large dogs, in particular, benefit from these pressure-point-sparing beds. Personally, I like the kind made from simple egg-crate foam. They’re cheap and easy, especially if you do like I do and dispense with the fancy cover and use a clean blankie instead, which I'm more likely to toss in the wash.
Super-durable water mattresses made especially for dogs are great for their joints. They’re a little expensive, and some dogs don’t like them as much, but once your dog gets used to a waterbed, he'll never go back to the foam kind.
Hind Limb Harnesses
These contraptions tend to look like traditional nylon harnesses — except they attach to a dog's rear end, and hook to a handle rather than a leash. In this way, they raise and support the hips, making it easy for owners to pick up bigger dogs with aches and pains.
Designed to sling under the lower abdomen to buoy and support the hips, they’re typically made of nylon and padded on the underside for comfort.
Build or buy rug-covered wooden or plastic steps to help your pup up onto the bed or the sofa. These can be a back-saver — for you and your dog!
I find that these are more tractable and less space-occupying, and they can be constructed by simply covering some plywood with industrial carpeting.
That pool, ocean or lake can be dangerous territory, especially if you have creaky limbs. That’s where life vests come in, offering swimming safety, fun and exercise in one fell swoop. I happen to love the Outward Hound vests, which have a handle for easy grasping.
These large, air-filled balls are ubiquitous in human facilities, but did you know that they can help dogs too? Balancing dogs’ front ends on these will strengthen the hind limb musculature while improving proprioception — that geriatrically elusive ability to place feet properly while walking.
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