Dear Dr. Fox: I’m looking for some advice for our 2-year-old Jindo mix. He was rescued from a meat farm in Korea and arrived in the U.S. about eight months ago. He has a timid demeanor, but is very close with us and is generally a happy guy.
The problem is bedtime. He willingly jumps into bed, but after falling into a deep sleep, he will suddenly wake with panic in his eyes. It’s often accompanied by him licking his lips, and then he will twist away and bound off the bed in a really crazy manner. His sleep only lasts around 10 or 15 minutes. This happens almost every night.
We are trying to understand this behavior and see what we can do to help him. Luckily, the organization that rescues these dogs is very reputable, and he was thoroughly vaccinated and monitored for months before arriving in the U.S. He is physically healthy, but of course carries a lot of trauma with him. S.P., Los Angeles
Dear S.P.: Having rescued dogs like yours and seeing their interrupted sleep patterns, it is my opinion that they are suffering from PTSD. Give your dog 3 to 6 milligrams of melatonin about a half-hour before bedtime, and put 3 to 4 drops of lavender oil under the pillow on the bed where he sleeps.
I do worry about foreign diseases arriving with dogs from far-off places; not all organizations have adequate procedures for quarantining, monitoring and vaccinating the animals prior to importing them. Also, without concerted spay/neuter and anti-rabies vaccination programs worldwide, the “dog problem” of overpopulation will continue unabated.
Related: Starting July 14, the CDC has temporarily suspend dog importation from countries considered at high risk for dog rabies. For details, visit cdc.gov and search for “High-Risk Countries for Dog Rabies.”
Our mental health may have affected pets during shutdowns
Cats whose humans have been home more than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic may have become more affectionate, while some dogs may be more prone to separation anxiety, according to a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Pet owners were also asked about their own mental health, and those who indicated declines during shutdowns were the most likely to report changes in their pets’ behavior. This suggests “mental health status has a clear effect on companion animal welfare and behavior,” said co-author Daniel Mills, a clinical animal behaviorist. (Full story: ScienceAlert Australia, 7/1)
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