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As our faithful companions age, it’s important to ensure their environment supports their evolving needs. Senior canines — dogs over the age of 7 — have especially unique requirements when it comes to their living space as they experience changes in mobility, vision, and hearing. Slippery floors, winding stairs, and tall furniture are just a few aspects of an apartment that might pose challenges to an aging pup.

To ensure your dog is safe, happy, and healthy, you’ll need to make some smart modifications and add comforting touches to your living space.

Here’s how to adapt your apartment to create a cozy and hazard-free haven for your dog’s golden years.

Tips for apartment living with a senior dog

Invest in an orthopedic bed

Orthopedic beds are made from high-quality memory foam and are specially constructed to support and comfort older pups. These beds can relieve pressure on joints, alleviate pain, promote proper spinal alignment, and increase sleep quality. 

Investing in an orthopedic bed can greatly improve your senior dog’s quality of life. You might consider having a few beds in different areas of your apartment so your dog always has a comfortable place to relax.

For senior dogs, it’s best to avoid letting them sleep on your bed — navigating an elevated space in the dark can be dangerous for them and puts them at high risk for falling.

Use ramps and stairs to create easy access

Ramps and stairs can help senior dogs safely reach elevated spaces and overcome obstacles in your apartment. These allow them to gradually reach certain areas and put less pressure on joints that may already be stiff and sore.

For example, if your pup has a favorite spot on the couch that is becoming more difficult — and potentially even dangerous — for them to reach, you can secure a ramp in front of the area so they can still snuggle up with you safely.

Set up gates to create boundaries

There may not be much you can do to make certain areas of your apartment safe, and in these cases, it’s best to just block them off. A spiral staircase, for instance, would be an area you’d want to restrict your pup’s access to with a dog gate.

Gates can also be helpful when you’re not able to keep an eye on your dog and want to ensure they don’t go anywhere outside of a safe and secure zone.

Increase potty breaks

Your senior dog will likely have to go to the bathroom more frequently, so you’ll want to increase the number of potty breaks they get during the day to avoid accidents

If you’re still in the apartment hunting process, consider requesting a first floor unit or an apartment with outdoor space. If you do end up on a higher floor, confirm that there’s a working elevator so taking lots of potty breaks will be doable.

Adjust their exercise routine

As dogs age, their mobility can start to decline. Stiff, sore joints can make it painful to exercise the way they used to, so it’s vital to adjust their exercise routine accordingly. This likely means shorter walks, less rigorous play sessions, and more breaks in between physical activity.

Keep up with veterinary checkups

Senior dogs should go to the vet for a checkup twice a year. As they get older, they become more susceptible to age-related illnesses like arthritis, dental disease, and kidney issues. Increasing preventative care can help veterinarians catch and address any changes in health before they become too progressive.

Your vet can also use these appointments to monitor chronic conditions, adjust medication dosages, and make recommendations for nutritional and dietary needs.

Be mindful when socializing

While having a properly socialized dog is vital when living in an apartment complex, senior dogs might not feel as up to socializing as younger pups. Factors like decreased energy, joint and mobility issues, and reduced hearing and vision can lead to decreased interest in socializing.

As a pet parent, it’s important to respect this and remove your dog from situations where they’re uncomfortable.

Keep them engaged

While it’s true that senior dogs can’t exercise like they used to, it’s important to provide enrichment in other ways. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to interact with your dog indoors, from interactive puzzle toys to challenging scent games. When in doubt, a senior dog is likely always down for a good snuggle and belly rub. 

Ultimately, being a senior pet parent comes with a different set of challenges, especially when you live in an apartment. But if you take the time to tailor your space to your pup’s ever-changing needs, they can live out their golden years happy and healthy.