My Dog has a strict bed-time routine

Getting quality sleep is extremely essential. Human who follow bedtime routines are more likely to go to sleep earlier, take less time falling asleep, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night. Bedtime routines are a simple lifestyle change that can help your mind and body relax before bed.

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout our life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Besides these, if you have slept well in the night, you wake up fresh and energized in the morning and overall, your day goes well.

Just like humans, quality sleep is important for dogs as well. When a dog is unable to get at least 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day–gained through naps during the day and extended slumber at night–stress hormones will accumulate, causing the dog to lack energy, on the one hand, or act aggressively on the other. Meanwhile, its immune system is compromised making it vulnerable to infection.

Several problems mirror sleep ailments in humans. Like their owners, dogs need sufficient sleep to enjoy optimal health. Whether feeding, exercise, naps or play time with family, the dog benefits from each of these things occurring at the same time each day, but consistency during the week goes a long way in upgrading sleep quality.

Yes, consistency! And that is why it is very important to have a strict bed-time and a bed-time routine. Junior is a senior dog. He sleeps a lot more as compared to younger dogs. But still, his night sleep is absolutely important for his well being and healthy functioning.

We have a set routine since years. Rarely, we go off track. Besides having health benefits of having a strict bed-time for Junior, there are other advantages as well. Once Junior is off to sleep, I can go out socializing. Most of the times, after I put him to bed, I sit to paint or watch TV. I have enough “me” time and I can do whatever I want once he is off to sleep. Not that he disturbs me when he is awake, but when Junior is done for the day, I am happy that I am free from my duties for some hours and completely relaxed.

We have set this routine over years of consistency, which has brought around phenomenal benefits. Junior’s dinner (last meal) is at 8pm. From 7pm he is very active. He plays, follows me around the house, stares at me time and again with his puppy eyes so that I feed him early, dances on the couch, etc. By the time it’s his meal time, he is tired. I feed him, give him his supplements, he has water and pees one last time before he hits the bed. Junior doesn’t have his separate bed. He sleeps with me. Both Casper and Junior have always slept with me on my bed. So Junior goes to the bedroom and off to sleep.

Once he has hit his snooze button, then come what may, he will not get out of the bedroom, unless someone comes home, which is rare. 8.30pm onwards, I have all the time to myself. I do my activities and when I am done for the day, I go and sleep next to Junior.

This routine has been pretty much strict. Even if we are travelling, I make sure we reach the destination before 7pm and put Junior to bed by 8.30pm. This routine has helped in setting a poop routine as well for Junior. Because he gets good quality sleep all through the night, he wakes up fresh at 5am for his morning walk and satisfies his natures call. I don’t remember a day when Junior has gone without pooping. All this has also helped him in maintaining an ideal weight since years. Whenever the vet weighs Junior, it’s always the same and the vet is pretty happy about it.

This sleep schedule works for both of us. If you establish and stick to a routine, you'll likely find that it's much easier to care for your dog, especially as these activities become as much a habit for you as for him/her. Not only that, but your dog will feel cared for and secured as well.