The average adult dog requires 12-14 hours of sleep per day. As your dog becomes a senior, his or her sleep patterns will also change. An older dog will sleep more deeply and for more hours than usual. So, make sure that he or she has a warm and comfortable spot to sleep in. Here’s what we suggest:
- Replace your dog’s bed with an orthopaedic bed. Orthopaedic beds offer firm, soft support that ease the pain of aching joints and bones. Orthopaedic beds lie at ground level so that your dog doesn’t have to climb up or jump down from a height. Jumping up and down from elevated surfaces only puts more pressure on their already weak joints. It is also best to have your dog sleep in a room that doesn’t need to be accessed via a staircase.
- With growing age, your dog will find it increasingly difficult to regulate his body temperature as the fur coat becomes thinner as they age. Cold weather or drafts can worsen joint pains. So make sure that your dog’s bed is in a warm spot that’s far away from windows or doors that are often opened. Adding a blanket will make the bed warm and cosy.
- Incontinence is a common condition amongst senior dogs. Your pet may wet his bed so you should try and get your pet used to wear diapers for the night. You can also consider using a rubber sheet that’s easily washable on top of the bed.
- Dogs like to be where all the excitement is. So if the family generally gathers in the living room, bed or not, your dog is likely to lie there as well. Prevent him or her from sleeping on the cold floor by setting up sleeping space in the room that the family frequents.
- Senior dogs cannot keep up with the level of physical exertion as younger dogs but they still need some light exercise. Make sure your pet does get some of this every day and don’t forget about mental stimulation as well. This helps your pet sleep better.
Dogs like routine and straying from it can cause stress. So moving your dog’s bed from one spot to another may leave him or her unsettled. Instead of moving the bed, just add another bed in the new spot. Try to stick to your dog’s usual routine as much as possible.
Senior dog care involves some effort from your end but it definitely goes a long way in making them feel more comfortable.