The risk of falling and getting injured increases as dogs grow older. This is because their bones are more fragile, so a fall could lead to sprains, head trauma, or broken bones. The care requirements for a senior dog are more stringent than that of a younger dog which is hardly surprising. Falling off the bed is never a pleasant experience and is even worse when you’re a senior because your bones are more fragile so recovery will be harder. And because older dogs are more vulnerable than their younger companions, there is a need to put measures in place to protect them from accidents.
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Potential Risks of Falling
Dogs may have four feet, but they’re definitely not as surefooted as we think they are. A little tumble and your dog is down, especially the older ones. Such falls can lead to broken bones, sprains, head trauma, or even chest injuries.
When this happens, what are the signs to look out for?
When your dog falls down, don’t just shrug it off as one of those things, observe him for some days. Though some injuries are quite obvious, some may take a while to become visible which is why you need to observe your dog carefully. Even if you did not see him fall, your dog exhibiting any of the following signs should make you suspicious:
- Reluctance to walk
- Stiff gait
- Loss of appetite
- Pain when lying
How to Keep Older Dogs from Falling Off the Bed
Like humans, certain concessions should be made to ensure the comfort of your dogs as they grow older. Falling is more common at this age and it becomes necessary to put measures in place to protect your precious pets. Here are steps you can put in place to prevent your senior dogs from falling off the bed:
Get your Dog Checked out at the Vet
Dogs are very good at hiding their pain, so it is up to owners to figure out when their canine is feeling down. Don’t just assume that everything is fine, there might be deeper medical reasons why your dog is falling off the bed and not just because he is old. For instance, your dog might be falling off the bed because he is blind and cannot see properly.
Your dog’s ability to move around could also be impeded by other chronic conditions and illnesses. So don’t just assume, take your dog to get checked to rule out other possibilities.
Get a Suitable Bed
Dogs love to cuddle with their owners at night or take naps with them on the couch, so owners often overlook the need for a dog bed. However, every dog should have his own separate bed. As they get older, dogs become less enthusiastic about jumping around on your bed, which means they’ll probably be more comfortable in their own nest. A dog’s bed is specifically designed to meet the needs of the dog.
Some beds like memory foam beds are great for relieving joint and muscle aches. These beds are excellent for older dogs or dogs suffering from arthritis. And if you would rather sleep close to your pooch, place their bed close to your bed. This way you get to keep them close to you without worrying about your cuties falling off. A great way to get them to use the bed is to drop something that has your smell on it.
Move the Bed against the Wall
Some dogs are unfortunately quite attached to their owners and will rather not sleep elsewhere. Move your bed against the wall and place the dog between yourself and the wall.
This way the dog cannot fall off the bed without coming in contact with you. And you can always help them down when they want to come down. However, if you’re still worried about the dog falling off the bed, you can place pillows across the ground to help cushion their fall.
Get a Low Bed
You can also prevent your older dogs from falling off their beds by switching to a lower bed that is closer to the floor. This way, they’re less likely to get hurt if they fall off the bed. And if you’ll rather not get a new bed, then get rid of the slats, leaving the mattress alone on the bed frame to reduce the height. Or get a lower bed frame that fits the mattress. Or just put the mattress on the floor.
Get Bed Rails
Bed rails can help prevent an old dog from falling off the bed. Install rails across the side of your bed to keep your dogs safe when they sleep. And if you cannot find suitable rails for your bed, you can always stack pillows across the edges of your bed to create a buffer.
Though effective for preventing dog falls, rails can be quite dangerous so be careful how you handle them. The dog could attempt to jump across the rails and get hurt.
Get a Ramp
Ramps make it easy for dogs to move up and down their beds. Ramps are far better than bed steps for canines with mobility issues. And if you have to get a ramp, get one with rails to keep your dog from falling from the sides.
However, if you’re going to use a ramp, you must be ready to teach your canine how to move on the ramp which might take some time.
What to do when your Dog Falls off the Bed
What happens when your dog falls off the bed? What do you do in that instant? Watching your beloved canine fall down can be quite scary. Most owners in this situation are often crippled with fear and anxiety and might not know what to do. Here are some tips to help you handle the situation.
- Keep your dog under observation for a few days.
- Observe the dog’s breathing pattern. If you notice serious panting it could mean something serious and you might need to get medical help for the dog.
- Be on the lookout for any sign of stiffness. Pay attention in case your dog starts whining, limping, or licking excessively.
- Get a vet to check out your dog if you observe a change in his habit.
- Be on the lookout for head trauma particularly bleeding from the ears, nose, and mouth.
- Call your vet for advice if you notice any sign of bleeding.
- Lastly, always have a handy first aid kit for your pet in case of emergencies.
The sad reality of life is that dogs become slower as they grow older. Their mobility becomes impeded as the days go by and falling becomes almost inevitable.
The best way to prevent fall-related injuries is probably to teach your dog to sleep in his dog’s bed. However, you should not rule out a visit to your vet just to rule out possible medical conditions.
Tips for Caring for Senior Dogs
You can help your senior dog live a healthier life by making some changes to the dog’s home environment and routine. These little adjustments to your home can really make a huge impact on the life of older dogs. Here are examples of some of these changes:
- Carpet your home to make it easier for older dogs to get up and move around. This will reduce the risk of them slipping and falling.
- You can also help boost traction for your senior dogs by providing them with those socks with rubber, non-slip soles.
- Pet parents also need to revisit the type of meals they feed their senior dogs. You’ll need to provide them with more foods that are rich in iron to help strengthen their bones. You also need to evaluate your dog’s meal setup to make feeding easier for them. An elevated bowl will make feeding more comfortable and eliminate any strain on the dog’s neck and head during feeding.
- It will also be nice to place more food and water bowls around the house because older pets sometimes have trouble locating their food bowls. A night light can also be installed near their food bowl to help them locate it.
- Installing night lights across the house is also a great idea as dogs often lose their night vision with age. Stairways can be blocked with dog gates too to avoid accidents.
- Older dogs need to enjoy a pain-free and restful night’s sleep as this can help reduce their pain and boost their life quality.
- Heated dog beds can also be gotten for senior dogs that are suffering from joint problems.
Dogs don’t necessarily have the same age pattern, but one thing they have in common is that they eventually get old. Aging is a natural part of the life cycle of a dog and dog owners ought to be prepared for it.
Like humans, old age comes with a lot of health complications for dogs such as hearing loss, and cataracts, among others. It is the responsibility of the owner to make sure their pet is well taken care of. Owners must learn to be intentional about their senior dogs and provide all the care they need to leave a healthy and comfortable life. Making sure they do not fall off the bed is one such precaution.
Older dogs have special needs, but with proper care and attention, they can maintain good health and live happy and comfortable life for years.