Apartment living can be more difficult when living with any pet; you can’t just open the back door and let Fido out into the yard. You must remember where you threw the leash and chase him around the sofa before you can even walk out the door, then you remember that you’ve left your keys in your coat pocket which is still hung up in the closet, just as the door clicks shut.
We’ve all been there. However, as many things get more challenging with an elderly pet, so can apartment living. This can especially be true for dogs with a long lifespan. We have 6 top tips to make apartment living as easy as possible when you’re caring for an elderly pet.
We’ve already said it, you can’t just open the back door to let Fido out. You must traipse down the stairs and onto the sidewalk or into the communal garden. You may be on a strict routine, you head out every couple of hours for a toilet break, Fido may be super at letting you know he needs to go potty, but as everyone ages, things don’t work as well as they used to. This goes for bladders too! For some dogs, as they age, their bladder weakens, and they lose control over it. They just can’t hold it like they used to. Also, senility can result in them being totally unaware that they are passing urine. Incontinence is more common overnight, so you may find that as your pooch gets older, you’re waking up to puddles in the morning.
Seek veterinarian attention to rule out any serious health issues, but otherwise just stock up on some puppy pads, odor neutralizer and consider limiting Fido to a moppable floor overnight. Pay close attention during the day and watch for signs he needs to go potty – pawing at the door, whining, pacing etc.
As dogs age, their mobility can decrease. They may struggle with stairs more or fatigue quicker. If your pooch is small enough you may have to start carrying them up and down the stairs. If you are unable to do this, is there a lift you can use? If not, just take your time when moving from A to B. Allow more time, they just won’t be sprinting up and down like they used to.
Due to health issues or limited mobility, you may find a that you can’t walk Fido as much as you used to. Even those he’s ageing, he still needs to keep active. A great way to do this is through brain games. They keep bored minds occupied and help ward off cognitive decline. For a food-oriented pooch, fold a bath sheet into 4-inch sections, back onto itself. When you’ve folded the whole towel, tie with some string in two places. Hide some treats into the folds, Fido must search them out!
Ask Someone To Call Into Check On Him
As dog’s get older, their behavior can change, where they may have always tolerated being alone for an hour or two, they may suddenly start to struggle. They may become destructive, whine, bark or howl. You may not even notice if there isn’t evidence when you return home. The first you may know is when your neighbor complains about your noisy dog! Ask a dog walker to pop in to keep them company, or a friend or relative. You could even have a doggy camera installed to keep an eye on him whilst you’re out. If he’s getting stressed, you can call a friend or head home to comfort him!
Consider Your Flooring
Is it safe for your elderly pet? As we’ve mentioned, as dogs age, their mobility can be affected. They may struggle to get up, or to get grip. Lay rugs where possible, this may include the corridor outside of your apartment. You want to make it as easy as possible for Fido to get around. There’s nothing worse than a dog falling on slippy laminate or hard wood flooring; it’s even worse if you aren’t there to help him back up again!
What Does He See During His Day?
He may not go out as much as he used to, and your apartment may not have views of anything particularly interesting. When given the choice, animals will always choose a more complex environment.
To keep his mind active, if he can’t peer out of a window throughout the day, consider leaving games he can play, safely and unsupervised. Toys stuffed with food for example. If you do need to go out, exercise him first. He’s then more likely to just sleep whilst you’re out. If he does wake, he can play a game. Consider leaving a radio or the tv on for him. We’re not sure of the science behind it, but it seems some dogs even have their own favorite tv programmes.
Whilst there are some additional things to think about when caring for an elderly dog in an apartment, it’s certainly not impossible! We hope our 6 top tips have helped you consider how to make it as comfortable as possible, for Fido and for you!