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Sleep Solutions for Pets with Dementia: Addressing Restlessness and Disorientation

As pet owners, our furry friends are not just animals; they are a part of our family. We care for them, love them, and always want the best for them. But as they age, their needs change, and when they develop dog or cat dementia, it can be a difficult challenge to deal with. One of the significant challenges pet owners face is the restlessness and disorientation dementia can cause, leading pets to struggle with sleep. In this blog post, we will explore some sleep solutions to help your pets with dementia rest.

Create a Routine

Pets with dementia can thrive on routine, which makes it crucial to keep a consistent daily schedule. Establish a set bedtime and wake-up time; it helps to regulate your pet's sleep cycle. You can also try setting up a routine where you play with your pet and engage them in interactive activities in the late afternoon or early evening. Mental stimulation is particularly good at making your pet tired. You could try hide-and-seek games or teach your cat or dog tricks. Cats can be trained as well as dogs! This can help them become tired by bedtime, ensuring they get better sleep.

Make Your Pet Comfortable

A comfortable sleeping environment can help your pet achieve better sleep. Ensure your pet's bed is positioned in a familiar location and is comfortable and cosy. You can also consider adding extra bedding and pillows into their cat or dog bed to improve comfort. We would recommend a memory foam dog bed for ultimate comfort! Some dogs may even benefit from a raised dog bed if they also have arthritis to alleviate their joints. If your pet is having trouble getting into bed, you can consider getting a cat or dog ramp or purchasing a bed with lower sides to make it more accessible. Cat or dog steps may help your home become more accessible to your pet. If your dog still enjoys walks, it may be a good idea to get dog steps into your car.

Provide Ample Lighting

At nighttime, consider placing nightlights or floor lighting in areas where your pet frequently roams. This will help them navigate more easily and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries due to poor visibility. In addition, having a well-lit environment can help alleviate any anxiety or disorientation they may experience during the night.

During the daytime, it's essential to ensure that your pet has access to plenty of natural light. This not only helps them differentiate between day and night but also promotes healthy sleep patterns and encourages regular napping. Make sure curtains and blinds are open, allowing sunlight to enter the room. If possible, create a cosy spot near a window where your pet can bask in the sunlight and observe the outside world.

To further support your pet's visual perception, keep their living space clutter-free and maintain a consistent layout. Avoid rearranging furniture or adding new items that may confuse or disorient them. You can also have different flooring or smells so that your pet can identify different rooms within the house. Additionally, keep their food, water, and sleeping area in the same location to minimise stress and confusion.

Use Calming Products

Anxiety in pets, when they develop dementia, can manifest in several ways. Some examples are pacing, increased vocalisation and changes in eating habits. Cat and dog anxiety can be heightened as your pet is struggling to make sense of their environment. Several calming products on the market can help your pets achieve better sleep. Some products can be sprayed on their beddings to promote relaxation, while others come in the form of supplements or treats. Before using such products, please consult your vet to ensure they are safe and suitable for your pet.

Two calming dog and calming cat products that we would recommend:

Increase Safety

Pets with cat or dog dementia can become disoriented and wander off, posing potential hazards such as falling or getting lost. Ensure your home is secure and your pet cannot escape. Consider using baby gates and harnesses to reduce wandering, and ensure all potential hazards like stairs are blocked off and sharp corners covered.

You can try reducing their roaming area so your pet feels safer in a more enclosed space. This place should be somewhere they can have their normal social interactions if they enjoy that or somewhere quiet if they prefer

Caring for elderly pets with dementia takes patience, understanding, and creativity. By using these sleep solutions, you can help your pet feel safer and more secure, and get the rest they need. We hope this article makes it easier for you to create an environment that supports and enriches your pet's life.

Remember that every pet is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Always consult with your vet before trying new products or altering your pet's routine. Finally, never underestimate the power of love and companionship in helping your pets enjoy their golden years.

We understand your pet's well-being is your top priority. That's why we're here to help. At Roundwood Pet Hospice, we offer hospice care for your pet. With our hospice care, we make your pet’s end-of-life as comfortable as possible. Call us on 0800 0495944 to speak to a member of our team. We're waiting, ready to be there for both you and your beloved pet.


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