As part of my history gathering process during office visits, I like to find out where your pet habitually sleeps. It’s no surprise that many of my clients have their pets sleep with them on the bed. That’s where most of mine end up too. Is this a problem? Not at all. It is just a preference. But there are some concerns to be aware of, no matter where your pet ends up for nap time.
Those pets that get on the bed usually do so without our help. Recent trends towards higher beds and thicker mattresses can turn a jump into a leap. To make matters worse, laminates and hardwood are becoming the flooring of choice and this means a slippery surface to take off from and land on. Getting up and down from a favorite spot shouldn’t be a challenge, and a few small changes can lessen the risk of injuries. Help your pet out by placing a non skid mat on the side of the bed. Pick one that is a contrasting colour to the floor so it can be easily seen in a dark room. Consider getting some pet steps or a secure platform (ottoman, bench, stool, etc.) to break up the height of the bed. This works particularly well for small dogs and arthritic cats.
Be suspicious if your pet changes its sleeping habits all of a sudden. One of the first signs of hearing loss in the older dog is not waking up when you walk in the door. Diminished sight, sore joints, and back pain can all affect the ability to get up on things. Pets that are restless, or can’t get comfortable may also be trying to tell you something. Waking you up in the middle of the night occasionally is inevitable, but if it becomes a routine let your veterinarian know.
Any departure from the normal sleeping routine can be just as serious as changes to other body functions. Whether it is on the floor, couch or in our bed, a good sleep is essential for a healthy life.