HELP YOUR SENIOR HOUND
As your Greyhound gets older, he may start to have a hard time getting up off the floor or his bed, or trouble with stairs or getting into the car. Here are some tips to make it easier on your dog (and you) to negotiate their new reality.
1. Rug runners or mat flooring will make it easier for senior dogs to walk across slippery hardwood or tile floors. Area rugs can work too, but be sure to use carpet tape so they stay in place and don’t move around or bunch up. If your dog lies on the hard floor, placing a dog bed or rug where they lay will help them get up easier because their paws won’t slip.
2. If your hound has to negotiate uncarpeted stairs, adding stair treads or a stair runner will make them less slippery. The styles that work best for dog paws are the rubber backed treads with double stick tape or the self stick gritty tape kind. Consider a non-slip mat at the bottom of the stairs as well, so that your dog doesn’t slip once he gets there.
3. For outdoor steps, most stairs are fine until they are wet or snowy, then they are downright dangerous. The sticky, gritty roll tape works well, or tack down outdoor carpet stair treads.
4. Jumping down from bed or sofa can be so hard on joints. Save wear and tear on those joints by providing folding or stationary steps. A ramp could also work, but may take up more space. Lots of possibilities can be found at home improvement stores, pet shops, or online.
5. Folding pet ramps or steps are perfect for providing safe, easy access to the car once it’s hard for your pup to jump in on his own. That will save your back as well! Fold them up and stow for use at your destination.
6. If your Greyhound is having trouble walking, no matter what the surface, a back end sling might be just what you need. Much like arthritic people take the arm of someone more stable, a dog hoist or strap lift provides reassuring support and stability to your arthritic dog. Some people see them and think they are for carrying their dog around, but it’s really just the equivalent of a helping hand. In a pinch, you could DIY a sling by taking a large reusable shopping bag and cut out the sides, using the handles to lift your dog.
7. There are more things you can do to help your dog manage slippery floors: keep his nails trimmed – if you can hear them clicking when he walks on a hard surface, the nails are too long. Also, moisturize the pads once in a while. When your dog’s pads become dry, they lack the ability to grip like they normally would. Musher’s Secret makes a greyt paw soother, but there are many others on the market.
8. Traction socks, like these Power Paws https://bit.ly/Power-Paws, are soft and comfortable, meaning your dog won’t be trying to get them off their feet. They can be worn inside or outside, although they are not quite as sturdy as dog boots. Having traction means your hound can more easily start, stand and stop without slipping.
9. A similar idea, but smaller and potentially easier for your dog to get used to, is non-slip traction pads. These pads are applied like a band-aid, the adhesive holds for 2 to 7 days, depending on the surfaces your dog frequents and how active they are and the cost is relatively inexpensive. Adhesive dog nail caps serve the same function.
10. Arthritis and bladder control kind of go hand-in-hand. They both occur as dogs age and at some point, you’ll look for ways to make accidents easier to deal with. Pee blankets are a really good start. If your arthritic, older dog is home several hours a day without a bathroom break, pee blankets spread across the floor will not stop him from peeing, but they’ll make life easy when he does. You simply roll it up, toss it in the washer and put out a fresh one tomorrow.
Another indoor pee alternative is indoor pee turfs. Fresh Patch Disposable Dog Potty is a patch of real grass on a hydroponic mat (no soil) and lasts about 4 weeks indoors or out. It’s a little pricey compared to artificial turf products, but with daily spritzing it doesn’t smell and the artificial turf solutions tend to be smelly after awhile even if you are conscientious about rinsing them every day.
I hope some of these ideas will help you make things easier for your senior Greyhound. These recommendations could build their confidence and give them back their dignity by not falling, and possibly injuring themselves. Our dogs give us so much joy over their lifetimes, we need to step up when they need some help from us.