When dogs suffer from pain due to arthritis and degenerative changes to the joints, modifying their home environment becomes a priority in order to reduce stress on the affected joints and to prevent injuries. Here are a few changes you and your clients can implement around the home to assist canine companion.

  • Ensure bedding is well padded and kept away from drafts and cool corners. Additionally, heat packs can be put in the bed to provide relief for aching joints. I prefer any pad that has a chew proof cord and is encased in plastic. Ensure it does not heat above 102 F and that the dog is easily able to move off of the pad if he becomes too hot.
  • Keep food and water dishes elevated to a comfortable height. Elevated dishes are available in many pet stores, can be made simply by placing your existing bowls on a stool or low table with a non-slip mat, or you can get creative with things, as in the picture below! If you live in a multi-level house, ensure water is available on each floor.
  • Put non-skid runners and carpets over hardwood, laminate and other slippery floor surfaces and stairs to prevent slips and falls.
  • If your dog is allowed on the bed and couch, check to see if its possible to lower the surface. Many couches have removable legs.
  • Dogs can use carpeted ramps or stairs to get onto surfaces they used to jump onto, such as beds or into cars and ramps can help to navigate stairs. Ive even had one client build stairs with a lower rise over his existing outdoor stairs.
  • If a ramp for the stairs is not feasible, support using a towel under the dogs chest can assist your dog up the stars.
  • Use barriers to prevent your dog from using the stairs unassisted.