Why is my dog reluctant to go to bed, shaking and panting? | Nature | News

QUESTION: I have two female whippets who love to go for walks. Lately one has hesitated to go to bed, shivering and gasping. Why do you think is that so?

ANSWER: Take her to your veterinarian for a full physical exam to rule out pain in the spine, hips, and other joints. Lying down may be associated with discomfort.

It is worth watching her to see if she has problems with stairs or if she gets up after lying down.

Also, check her bed to make sure there is nothing there to hurt her.

If there isn’t a physical problem, a behavioral problem is likely the cause.

If so, you may need a qualified canine behaviorist as recommended by your veterinarian, but there are a few simple things you can try first.

Something may have happened that made her fearful of bedtime, especially if it was in the dark.

Do the two dogs sleep close to each other and do they get along? Does it need more space?

Perhaps converting her bed into a more comfortable one could help, and its location could help.

Separation anxiety could be a problem if she doesn’t want to be left behind at night.

There are approved sedatives for this that your vet may find worth a short-term study.

David Grant MBE was a veterinarian at the RSPCA Harmsworth Hospital for Animals.

Write to him at Express Yourself, 10 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6EN.

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