Keep this dog out of my bed
July 16, 2013 7:39 PM   Subscribe

My puppy was neutered yesterday and today the incision area seems to be infected. How do I keep him from jumping up on and down from my bed during the night?

Benny was neutered yesterday. I took him back to the vet today because he was experiencing pain and having trouble walking. The vet said it looked like it could be an early infection and sent me home with antibiotics (I already have painkillers and also sedatives to keep him calm). I need to keep him from running or, crucially, jumping for the next few days.

Yesterday when I brought him home, I made every effort to keep him low-key, but he's an energetic, athletic puppy (ie, a normal puppy) and I had a hard time keeping him from running around the yard (he even got into some bushes at one point *cringe*). So I figured out that I need to have him on-leash when I bring him outside to pee/poop.

BUT he is used to being able to jump on and off the bed and couch as he pleases. For the couch, I've covered it with boxes so he won't jump.

But i don't know what to do at night when I'm sleeping. Until a few weeks ago, he slept in his crate and that was fine, but he's gotten used to sleeping on the bed or the floor of my bedroom (typically switching back and forth during the night). The problem is that when I'm sleeping, I can't stop him from jumping up or down.

Things I've thought of or tried:

- I tried putting him in his crate last night, but he doesn't fit in it very well with his cone on.
- I could try erecting some barriers to jumping up on the bed, but I can't think of anything in my house that would work well.
- I can put him in the bathroom with his bed - I did this today when I went to run an errand and it worked well. But he tends to cry and make a fuss when he's penned up alone and he can tell I'm in the house.

Can anyone offer some creative ideas for how I can keep him off my bed while I'm sleeping or make him calmer in the bathroom alone? Or what I can do about the cone-crate incompatibility?
posted by lunasol to Pets & Animals (18 answers total)
What a sweet dog!

Can you try to use the sedatives most often during those times when you don't want him on the bed? If he is sleeping when you sleep, I think that will help.

You could also close the bedroom door and leave him in the other rooms, hopefully with a favorite toy and blanket.

Or as a last resort, you could close off the bedroom door and try sleeping on the couch or in a sleeping bag for a few days along with him.
posted by misha at 7:52 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

What a cute dog Benny is! And what an un-fun problem to be dealing with. Do you think you could swap the cone out with a t-shirt for the night, and put him in his crate that way? I've heard of people doing this, putting the t-shirt on 'backwards' (with the tail sticking out the neck hole) as a cone alternative, but I've never tried it out with my dog so I can't vouch for it - I suppose it depends on how determined he is to get at those stitches.

Otherwise, if it's just going to be for a few nights is there some other room in your home that you and he could both have a "sleepover" in until the infection calms down? A room where you could make yourself up a little nest on the floor, and that lacks things for him to jump up on, would be ideal.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:55 PM on July 16, 2013

Can you actually take the opposite route and make it as easy and safe as possible for him to get on and off the bed? Like building up a "staircase" out of boxes or something?
posted by jaguar at 7:55 PM on July 16, 2013

I would probably put my mattress on the floor and sleep on the floor with him. (Actually I would probably just sleep directly on the floor with no mattress, but I happen to like sleeping on hard surfaces and I think that would mess up a lot of people's backs.)
posted by cairdeas at 7:56 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

How easy is it for him to get to the incision? My dog is a female and the incision was fairly high on her abdomen so she had a hard time getting at it. It might be lower for a neuter, I don't know. I took her cone off and when she went for it, gave her a growly "no" and few times and she mostly stayed away from it after that and we did away with the cone.

She did keep trying to lick the sutures from where the dew claws on the back legs were removed (they were really small and already prone to catching on things) so I sprayed some bitter apple no-chew on it and that mostly kept her away from it.
posted by VTX at 8:00 PM on July 16, 2013

Yeah, when my pup was dealing with trauma (neutering, whatever) , I would sleep with the pup. Grab your sleeping bag, snuggle up, get through the few nights.

Cute pup... take good care of him.
posted by HuronBob at 8:02 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Can you move him onto the bed at night to sleep and then put up some kind of barrier so he can't jump back down?

Otherwise, train him to hang in the bathroom with the door closed, or maybe put up some other kind of bathroom door barrier so that he can be part of the life of the house when he's in there?
posted by Sara C. at 8:07 PM on July 16, 2013

If you lift him up on the bed, will he stay there all night? Otherwise, as has been suggested, you sleeping on the floor in a room with nothing dangerous to jump on would be safest. Grab the cushions off your couch for a bed, or put every blanket you own onto the floor, or some other creative solution for a cushioned, non-inflated (puppy toenails!) sleeping surface.

Eta: ninja'd by Sara, whose idea about the bed is actually better.
posted by tllaya at 8:09 PM on July 16, 2013

Yes, if you're not doing this already when you put him in the bathroom, you can try blocking him in there with baby gates rather than just shutting the door. It might help if he can see out.
posted by cairdeas at 8:19 PM on July 16, 2013

Wow, leave it to metafilter to come up with the great (and obvious) solution I missed. I actually have an air mattress, so that will be perfect. Now I just have to clear out all the stuff from that room that he could jump up on ...
posted by lunasol at 8:33 PM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

I am a huge an of crate training so I would advocate moving back towards that. Can you get a soft cone? There are different varieties but I found this one at Petco. It would make it easier for him to fit in the crate.
posted by radioamy at 8:48 PM on July 16, 2013

Leash him to the foot of the bed to stop him jumping up.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:49 PM on July 16, 2013

my cat recently had surgery for cancer and had large stitches running from her neck to her groin so i am very familiar with this issue. the pain meds made her think that she was perfectly healthy after only a few days, when really her healing time was supposed to be much longer. i had to keep her from running around, from trying to get out of her cone, from stretching, jumping... it was tedious and difficult and she loved to go under things in an attempt to rip off the cone! i was at work during the day so i couldn't supervise all the time (she was also on bathroom lockdown when i wasn't home.) anyway, it finally got to a point where she had ripped several stitches and i was worried about it getting worse, so the vet prescribed a very light sedative to put into her food and keep her activity level low while she healed. it wasn't really like she was always drugged so much as just keeping her chill, calm, and resting up for a week or so while her body healed in those first couple of weeks.

i hope you two sleep well through the night, if you can't keep Benny calm i'd ask your vet if there are any sedatives they can prescribe that are safe for puppies. good luck!
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 10:27 PM on July 16, 2013

When our guy got fixed in the fall we had this problem. I went with jaguar's suggestion up above of making it as easy as possible to get up and down. First I removed the bedframe and put it in the storage area downstairs, so that the boxspring/mattress sat on the floor. Then I literally just covered the entire area around the bed in multiple layers of all the extra pillows, blankets, clothing, even a couple foamies we had for camping. Basically overkill and a giant mess, but it was only for a week and it reduced the drop to less than a foot.
posted by mannequito at 12:03 AM on July 17, 2013

When our kitties got 'fixed' Eartha got the cone and Malcolm didn't. The minute they got home, Malcolm was helping Eartha get out of the cone. We were told to keep them separated. They cried and howled for each other.

Finally, I took them into bed with me, no cone and let them lick.

Because sometimes you've just got to take the path of least resistance.

They both healed fine.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:05 AM on July 17, 2013

Jumping in to suggest the Comfy Cone - way better than the big plastic one they give you at the vet.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:06 AM on July 17, 2013

Just wanted to update that the air mattress has been working great. The first night he was pretty restless and neither of us got much sleep but he adjusted and it's been working well. His incision is still inflamed but no longer infected, and he seems to be on the mend. Thanks all!
posted by lunasol at 6:12 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

posted by cairdeas at 11:20 PM on July 19, 2013

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