Most dogs in the UK live in their owner’s home, and may spend up to 90% of their life in that environment. If there are steps that they repeatedly struggle up and down, floors they repeatedly slip on, or solid cold beds they repeatedly sleep on, their condition will not improve as they will continue to injure themselves.
Your dog’s lack of ability to correct and therefore protect themselves when they slip or have to negotiate difficult paths will leave them prone to further trauma.
Modifying the house and tackling these obstacles will significantly decrease your dog’s discomfort, reduce the frequency of flare-ups, and slow the progression of the disease.
What adaptations can I make?
Adapt your stairs:
Both climbing and descending stairs are physically hard work and dangerous. Minimising access, as well as controlling and supporting both ascent and descent are essential to prevent repetitive trauma.
Find a better bed:
An orthopaedic dog bed, larger than the dog, with low sides, predictable clear margins, and a suitable depth that doesn’t feel uncomfortable when you sit on it for 5 minutes is ideal for dogs suffering from arthritis.
Cover floors with rugs and other non slip surfaces:
A slippery floor, be it wooden, laminate, or tile is very hazardous for an arthritic dog that already has weak & painful limbs. Repeated slips, no matter how small, will progress the clinical signs of arthritis. Creating pathways out of rugs or non-slip matting will help considerably.
Make sure your dog flap is suitable:
Dog flaps are often overlooked as a source of potential injury. Ensure it is big enough for your dog to step through without clipping their body, that there is a non slip surface on both sides, and that there is not a blind drop on either side.
Don’t forget outside, too:
It’s not just inside your house that might need some attention. Think about minimising steps and other hazards outside too – like with this ramp.