Just like humans, dogs lose much of their mobility as they age. Certain modifications to your landscape plan can help your aging dog be more comfortable when he's getting some fresh air outdoors.

Staying Close to the House

Because of pain from arthritis or simply lack of energy, older dogs may not want to wander all the way across the yard to their former favorite spot any more. Unless there is a nice spot for them to relieve themselves close to the house, they may start soiling your patio or back porch. Add a nice, soft grassy area very close to their favorite exit and go with them to ensure they make it there to do their business.

Creating Comfortable Areas to Relax in Sun and Shade

While younger dogs love to go outside to play, older dogs may just want to go out into the yard to lie down and relax. Creating a comfortable, soft, grassy place for them to laze in the sun or shade is a good way to entice them to get some fresh air and sunshine. If your dog has trouble walking and the only shade is on the far corner of the yard, you need to create a sheltered spot closer to the house for him. The same goes for creating sunny spots, even if it means cutting down or trimming back a tree to allow some sunshine through on cooler days.

Having a Warm, Dry Place for Sleeping

If your aging dog sleeps outside, it's especially important that they have a warm, dry place to sleep. You may have to provide a dog house with a larger entrance for dogs who can no longer squeeze themselves through the normal opening. It's advisable to raise the dog house up off the ground, adding insulation underneath, and provide a ramp in the front for accessibility. Consider leaving a light burning inside the house for warmth on cooler nights, and of course, bring your aging pet inside on really cold nights. A doghouse with louvered windows that can be open or shut in the summer for air flow keeps it from overheating, but a small fan inside helps even more. It goes without saying that there should always be clean, dry bedding inside the house for comfort and warmth.

Providing Ramps For Indoor/Outdoor Accessibility

If entry into the house or porch requires climbing stairs, you should provide a ramp to the entrance for your aging dog. In the yard, ramps should be placed wherever your older dog has to climb steps to get to any area. Hilly spots can be terraced so low ramps can help your dog follow you or get to places he loves.

Your aging dog has given you the best years of his life, and deserves extra consideration in his golden years. Contact your local landscape contractor, like Hickory Lane Farm's Nursery & Landscape LLC,  for advice on how you can modify your landscape plan to provide more accessibility and comfort to your precious companion.