By Caroline Lewis, Help at Hand Dog Behaviour & Deaf Not Difficult
There are many ways we can help our dogs as they age, still feel confident and able to handle the changes naturally taking place in their bodies. They don’t have to cost us money, they just require us to think, and observe what might be changing. From that, we can work out what we can put in place to make it easier.
As an example, I noticed a while ago that my dog Molly who is 12 ½, was beginning to choose beds with brighter or light colours. So, I began to experiment, and sure enough when I changed covers to the lighter ones or put very light or brightly coloured throws down or on furniture, she preferred them. So now all the covers and throws have changed to ensure she still has all the choices of where to sleep or rest.
Not only are the food and water bowls raised on to foot stools, to make it easier. The bowls themselves are either white or cream on the inside and out. I don’t use metal bowls because they can reflect the light, make a noise, and appear darker so putting some dogs off eating or drinking.
I have also changed darker mats to light coloured, or a light/dark mix to help with confidence in moving around as normal. As we know, mats are important for dogs anyway on floors that are slippery, shiny, reflective etc.
I leave either dimmable night lights on, or lamps with low energy bulbs. Again, it helps our dogs move around with ease and more confidence.
If your dog likes to be on the furniture, but appears unsure or worried about getting off again, then place a light or brightly coloured throw, sheet, or towel down on the floor directly by the furniture. This may make all the difference.
The interiors of our cars are generally darker, as are the beds we have in them. I put lighter coloured sheets and throws over the bumpers or in the doorways, as well as covering the beds and seats in them. Then you can find that a dog who has become hesitant at getting in or out of the car may become much happier to do so. Or a dog who had started not to travel well, or was becoming fearful when the car was moving, is more settled again.
These are only a few areas that can make a difference to dogs as aging takes place or for those with eyesight or hearing problems, but they can make a huge difference to the quality of a dog’s life.
Will it always suit your colour schemes, or what you want on your floors, and create more work for you? Well, only you know the answer. If you do feel that, just think of the difference this will make for your dog, and that is what really matters to achieve quality of life every day.