It’s great when your dog sleeps all night and rises when you do, but not so good when there’s a whimpering at the door at 2.0am, ‘Get up mum, I want to go out.’ Cinders, shown above, used to get up late but now it’s like having a young baby and she doesn’t sleep through. The first thing is to have a vet check up to see if there’s a urinary infection. Cystitis can be chronic and sometimes has only occasional symptoms. One of our older dogs had incontinence problems that cleared up completely when she was given antibiotics for a cut foot.
If it isn’t an infection then it may be that the dog feels chilly or isn’t comfortable enough. Especially a thin skinned dog or a golden oldie with a touch of arthiritis might not enjoy bedtime. Those plastic baskets aren’t that comfortable and providing plenty of cushions, pillows and duvets can make all the difference. A dog needs to be able to stretch right out. Curling up is alright for some of the time but watch the deep sleep patterns – the dog will have head and legs splayed. When a dog wakes up it’s the trigger for a toilet stop, get the bed right and your dog will sleep much better.
Try putting a warm jumper on your dog, feeling warm and cosy is comforting. You don’t have to spend a lot, find an old jumper and cut the sleeve off and make two leg holes and there you have a snazzy polo neck. It’s better than a dog coat because there are no belts and buckles and ties to get in the way. We wake up if we feel cold, so do dogs.
Feeding routines can make a difference to sleep patterns too. A hungry dog is unlikely to sleep through so a nice dish of comfort food may help to break the wake-up pattern. Try a spoonful or two of porridge oats with some mince or diced meat. Nature Diet is good too, it’s a natural moist food and dogs love it. We don’t feed dry biscuits/complete food for the evening meal, because they are dry they swell up in the dog’s tummy and are harder to digest. Would you eat a bowl of dry biscuits for supper and sleep well after? We think natural food is best.
Exercise – has your dog had enough free running time during the day. A walk on the lead is alright but all dogs need to be loose and get rid of some of that energy. Young, fit dogs have an enormous capacity for exercise and a tired out dog will sleep all night. In the house, in the garden, a stroll to the shops just won’t do it and when the moon is bright and the stars shine and the wind is blowing in the trees…….. an urge to run and hunt and go wild wooding is sometimes hard for a house dog to resist.