There are three wonderful dogs living in my household. One of them is a senior dog, aged “at least 12.” He’s got a relaxed and easy-going personality, so much so that we sometimes call him “the Mellow Fellow.” So it was surprising when, a few months ago, he started barking during the night to be let out, loud barks that could make the earth shake. It was not a fun way to be woken up in the middle of the night.
The mid-night barking got worse and worse. My husband and I would try to take turns getting up with him, but it was really wearing us down. We finally noticed during the day that he was having difficulty with his bowel movements. We took him to the vet and they made a not-so-sure diagnosis of Giardia. So we treated it for him. He seemed to get better for a couple of weeks, and then it returned. We started calling him “Barky Boy.” The vet said the meds may not have totally cleared up the Giardia. So we tried that again, and again, he seemed better, for a couple of weeks. And then the earth shattering barks started waking us in the night again.
I started to wonder if it wasn’t Giardia or maybe it wasn’t ONLY Giardia. I started making homemade food for him and, what do you know, he improved. I went and found a few other brands of dog food to try him on and he was still doing well, no waking us up in the middle of the night to go outside. If waking up all night long to let him outside was making us tired, I realized it had been taking its toll on him too.
Having removed the offending dog food from his diet, there’s no more barking in the middle of the night. We get better sleep and so does he. Sometimes having a healthy home means looking at all factors and food is certainly an important one. I’m now working on transitioning all three dogs over to homemade dog food. I’m not sure what ingredient was bothering our senior dog but I know that he will be healthier eating food made from fresh ingredients anyway. And we’ll all get a good night’s sleep!