Turn up the heat. When clouds gather and the sun sets, plug in the Fauna Sauna. Its two adjustable panels (12-by-20 inches each) kick out infrared radiant warmth—like the sun’s heat without the dangerous ultraviolet rays. The Fauna Sauna is intended as therapeutic treatment for everything from arthritis and stiffness to joint pain, hip dysplasia and stress (also available as a decor-friendly spa bed). Or, when you’re on the go, the Dolce Vita heated cargo bed helps keep those vintage muscles limber.
Smooth the way. Leaping into the car and out again onto unforgiving pavement is definitely a pet peeve for seniors. Avoid your dog’s mournful stares and injuries with a vehicle entry ramp; look for a non-skid surface, stability and easy storage. Among the options: the Ramp4Paws rolls up and comes in sizes appropriate for large and some standard-size vehicles; the Petmate Pet Ramp and Cargo Step is especially good for those high-off-the-ground vehicles with hitches; for cars, furniture and short descents, Dog Ramp’s Sidekick with its compact size and side rails gives them a safe and steady lift. Indoors, steps give them a leg up; look for stability and a gentle slope. Solvit’s UltraLite Pet Stairs have a sloping design that makes them easier for Dachshunds and other small dogs to use, and they fold for easy storage (they can also be used for auto access).
Put some bounce in their step. When his otherwise-healthy 15-year-old Sheepdog, Watson, lost strength in his back legs due to arthritis and hip dysplasia, Arnie Costell drew inspiration from rock climbers’ harnesses to fashion the Bottom’s Up Leash. When fitted around the dog’s back legs, this nylon harness with washable neoprene sleeves allows you to support your dog’s hind end without stooping and takes the mess out of business breaks. An alternative is Walkabout’s Walkabelly, a neoprene belly sling that supports a dog’s torso.
Feather their nests. Old dogs are connoisseurs of what makes a good nap zone. Among those that would pass muster with Rip Van Canine: Canine Covers’ easy-clean Ultimate Dog Bed, with bolsters for comfortable head-resting and easy-on-the-bones egg-crate foam and high-loft batting protected by an interior waterproof nylon shell; West Paw Design’s Tuckered Out bed, made in Montana and stuffed with 100% recycled fiber fill for an eco-friendly doze; Gertie Gear’s airbed for dogs (and cats too), with its tough canvas undercover and a wealth of machine-washable outer cover options; and Crypton’s stain-, moisture- and odor-resistant bolster bed.
Satisfy their ergonomic needs. Among the stylish options: These Creatures’ made-to-order wall-mounted feeders in powder-coated steel with artful cutouts of cats, squirrels and dogs; the unique Wine Box Raised Feeder with its two stainless steel bowls and rubber feet that keep it in place; or the Melia Elevated Dog Feeder with either stainless steel or handpainted ceramic bowls.
Keep them safe and steady on their feet. Lightweight buckle-free stretchy collars by Tazlab rest weightlessly on the neck; Paw Pads, textured, ultra-thin neoprene “grippers” give unsteady elders traction on slippery surfaces; and Ruff Wear’s Grip Trex or Skyliner boots protect those senior feet and are great for outdoor play.
Avoid embarrassing moments. Reusable, machine-washable, layered protective pads protect rugs, furniture and beds are just the thing for worry-free reclining.