Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Aids for daily living in dogs


I’ve always been a firm believer of how simple changes to a dog’s home environment can be beneficial to their mobility. When I first visit a dog’s home I find myself looking around their living quarters not in an interior designer way (I'm sure dogs don't really mind too much about the colour of the walls or curtains) but at their flooring and where the dog might jump down from. 

Any changes don't need to be expensive. Mind you, one Mum of a dog I visited not so long ago took to heart my suggestion that adding carpet to their wooden floor would help as, on the following visit, I found she had carpeted throughout covering all the slippy floors and added matching cushions! When we moved to AchyPaw HQ all those years ago we had lovely ethical bamboo flooring installed. The kids didn't care it was environmentally friendly, it made a great race track for them scooting around the house in circles. Bit by bit we added rugs and runners until we went to IKEA and saw some inexpensive practical carpets which we cut and matched to cover most surfaces. The last thing I'd want is for a dog to come here for therapy only to slip on the way out. 

Similarly, the entrance to our garden via the therapy room involved climbing a couple of stairs. With our Sarah starting to get stiff, we decided they needed adaptations too. Luckily Chris is rather handy and with a few bits of wood we had around, we made Sarah's Stairs. Since initial installation we've added more half-steps. The tops of the steps are sanded or covered with rubber so they are not smooth and slippy. 

As you can see in the video, Sarah now has her own set of small steps to get up or down to the garden plus a ramp if she's feeling extra lazy. Then another step to get into the conservatory where a 'senior half-step' brings her indoors. Finally carpets into the living room means paws don't get caught. 

Apart from the car ramp (which she refused to use as a car ramp but now loves using the 50p plywood off cut that Chris made as a ramp this weekend), all these aids cost less than a tenner. Equally important to helping her get in and out of the garden safely, is the fact that as she climbs the small steps she's actually exercising. And she doesn't know it!! A good result for a tenner. 

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