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Tips For Settling Your Puppy at Night

Bringing a new puppy home yields so much joy…and so many challenges!  Between new routines, training, frequent trips outside, and the constant attention puppies require, the puppy experience can be exhausting for new puppy families.  By the time bedtime rolls around, the humans are ready to rest.  But what happens if your new little furry bundle of joy won’t settle down and sleep?

Similar to babies, puppies can benefit from a nightly routine designed to help comfort them and prepare them for rest time. Getting into a night routine takes time, but laying a solid foundation of peaceful nighttime rituals is an effective long-term strategy to promote healthy sleep patterns.

Why Can’t Puppies Get Settled?

Puppies often struggle with settling down at night. This can happen for several reasons.  During the first few nights in a new home, puppies may miss the comfort of their mother and littermates.  Ideally, puppies spend the first 12 weeks of life with their mothers before being separated.  By the end of that time, puppies should be feeling more confident, but it still takes time to adapt to the separation.  Puppies need to eliminate more frequently because their bladders are small and they have not yet learned good control of urination.  Generally, a puppy can hold his or her bladder for about 1 hour for each month of life.  This means that a 3-month-old puppy can only be expected to go about 3 hours in between bathroom breaks, even under ideal circumstances!  Finally, puppies may feel anxiety about the unfamiliar sounds and smells around them.

Addressing these challenges head-on is critical for getting your puppy settled and comfortable — and for bonding with you. Good Life Veterinary Care is here to help you navigate the home acclimation process! Our veterinarians and veterinary technicians will be more than happy to assist you and provide some additional tips to make those first few weeks a little easier.

Helping Puppies Acclimate to Their New Surroundings

Getting puppies acclimated to their new surroundings is essential. We recommend bringing puppies home for the first time early in the day to give them enough time to explore their new environment. We also suggest focusing primarily on the area where your puppy will sleep so there will be less uncertainty about that particular environment. While it’s tempting to let puppies sleep in bed with you, crate training can be instrumental for both safety and consistency. There are several kinds of dog crates available, and you may wish to spend some time experimenting to see which one will make your puppy the most comfortable.

As you probably know, puppies are bursting with energy – especially after they get comfortable with you. We always recommend for puppies to get plenty of exercise throughout the day. Puppies that don’t get regular exercise tend to sleep earlier in the day, which leaves them with excess energy at bedtime. We suggest spending 10-20 minutes every evening playing with your puppy to expend excess energy. You could, for example, go on a walk outdoors with plenty of time for sniffing, work on basic training commands, or practice fetch! It’s also really helpful to give your puppy one last chance to use the restroom before bedtime, as late as possible. Try to avoid feeding your puppy large meals close to bedtime, as this could stimulate the need to eliminate or cause some abdominal discomfort. Small snacks close to bedtime are perfectly fine.

We recommend engaging your puppy’s natural senses (licking, chewing, and sniffing) before bedtime to help create calmness. Playing gentle music or giving your pup a soft chew toy can do wonders to help promote relaxation.

Typically, puppies begin to settle down on their own when they’re around four months old. Every puppy has a different adjustment period depending on his or her demeanor and the consistency of the nighttime routine. Try to remain patient and follow the steps listed above. Remember that you can always call us at Good Life Veterinary Care with questions or concerns, or if you’re just needing some extra advice. You’ve got this.

Good Life Veterinary Care is based in Dublin, Ohio, part of the Greater Columbus area.  We aim to promote health and wellbeing for your pet and enrich your bond with your furry companions.  

 6051 Perimeter Drive, Dublin, OH 43017
(614) 791-9191

Do Indoor Dogs Need Vaccinations?

If your dog primarily stays inside, you may wonder if he or she should be vaccinated. Many dog owners assume that indoor dogs aren’t as susceptible to disease, but this simply isn’t true.

Whether dogs live inside or spend time outdoors, they need to be vaccinated. Infectious diseases can affect all dogs, so it’s best to stay protected.

Core Vaccines for Indoor Dogs

The American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccination Guidelines are a set of vaccine recommendations that are updated regularly to reflect the most current science available.  The AAHA designates core vaccines that should be administered to every dog and noncore vaccines which should be considered depending on exposure to certain risk factors.

The AAHA recommends for all dogs to get these core vaccines:

  • Canine Distemper Virus
  • Parvovirus
  • Infectious Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza Virus
  • Rabies

Canine distemper virus affects the nervous and respiratory systems and is often fatal. Parvovirus causes vomiting, dehydration, and diarrhea, and can lead to life-threatening sepsis. Infectious hepatitis comes from adenovirus type-1, which can lead to acute or chronic liver inflammation. Parainfluenza virus leads to respiratory infection in dogs. Rabies virus causes progressive neurologic disease and is fatal to all mammals. Dogs infected with rabies can transmit it to humans.

Several of these hardy viruses can inadvertently be brought inside your home and transmitted to dogs through inanimate objects like clothes and shoes. Additionally, dogs that travel to groomers, periodically escape from the house, or have other dogs come over to visit can be exposed to viruses.

Non-Core Vaccines

Vaccines are available to protect dogs from other infectious disease risks as well.  An individualized recommendation can be made by taking risk factors into account, including age, lifestyle, and geography.  The AAHA non-core vaccines for dogs include:

  • Canine Influenza
  • Bordetella
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Western Diamond Rattlesnake

SOCIAL EXPOSURES: Canine Influenza and Bordetella are respiratory pathogens that contribute to a syndrome called “kennel cough.” Vaccination is recommended for dogs who share space with other dogs in boarding facilities, grooming facilities, dog parks, or even through casual exposure to family or friends’ dogs.

OUTDOOR EXPOSURES: Leptospirosis is a bacteria transmitted through the urine of wildlife.  Dogs exposed to contaminated outdoor water sources like groundwater, ponds, and puddles can become severely sick with kidney or liver disease and can transmit the disease to people.  Blacklegged ticks transmit Lyme disease, which can cause kidney and joint disease. The Western diamond rattlesnake vaccine is recommended for dogs who live in areas with rattlesnakes.

At Good Life Veterinary Care, we discuss risk factors and potential pathogen exposure with you and recommend a customized vaccine plan that provides the best protection for your dog.

How Often Should You Vaccinate Your Indoor Dog?

Every vaccine available for dogs has been tested and proven to provide protection for a particular length of time. After the initial series, most vaccines provide immunity for either 1 year or 3 years.  As a part of each wellness visit at Good Life Veterinary Care, our staff will review your dog’s exposure risks and confirm an easy-to-follow, customized vaccine plan for your pet.

Don’t worry if you’re unsure which vaccines your inside dog should have. We’re here to help, and we offer a complete range of services to achieve your dog’s overall health and happiness. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Good Life Veterinary Care is based in Dublin, Ohio, part of the Greater Columbus area.  We aim to promote health and wellbeing for your pet and enrich your bond with your furry companions.  

 6051 Perimeter Drive, Dublin, OH 43017
(614) 791-9191