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Does your dog have sleep problems? Sleep is just as important in dogs as it is in humans because it keeps them healthy and restores their energy lost through the day. But a lot dogs have trouble sleeping at night. Senior dogs are the ones that are most likely to have dog sleeping problems, as their sleeping patterns get disrupted. Behavioral or medical causes are the two most likely reasons why your dog has sleeping problems.
Because senior dogs start to lose their hearing and vision as they get older, these often cause the sleeping irregularities. It often results in your dog not being able to sleep at night because these problems can frighten your dog and cause it to wander around the house. Older dogs could also have canine dementia, the dog counterpart for the human Alzheimer’s disease. Its symptoms include behavioral changes, lack of interest of things that he used to like, doesn’t remember his name or some commands he used to respond to, and being confused. He can appear to get lost in your house, or may be easily startled by things that weren’t frightening to him before. In short, he may feel like he is in a different world.
Dogs that have anxiety problems can also have problems in sleeping because they can get scared of shadows and other objects in the night. Also, dogs that do not exercise regularly can have the tendency of having an insomnia-like behavior during bed time.
Has there been a sudden, recent change in his diet? If so, go back to the previous diet and see if he returns to normal.
Some sleep issues can also be associated with discomfort due to an illness, and the illness may even be related to a sleep disorder, but this is rare. Go see your vet if you think your dog’s sleeping condition is getting worse.
With all that said, sleeping problems in a dog can be treated in a number of ways. For dogs with vision problems, try putting a light near their bed to help them see at night. However, this won’t work well if your dog has anxiety issues, as it can tend to scare them sometimes. For dogs with trouble hearing, try playing soft, calming music on the radio or turn on the television. Also, try a DAP diffuser, available in pet stores. It releases hormones that can help in getting your dog to calm down.
Some good but light exercise before bedtime, such as a short walk, can also help out your dog, whether it is a senior or simply an anxious dog that cannot sleep well at night. It will wear them out and prompt them to sleep. It will depend, of course, on the age of the dog and its physical capacity, as most senior dogs have trouble in physical activity as they get older. For anxious dogs that are still young, you simply prepare a good stimulating exercise to help him get to sleep.
Give your dog some food a few hours before going to bed, and set up a bedtime schedule for your dog. His sleeping area should also be comfortable and have a secure atmosphere that will help him sleep better.
One of the best things we found with our dogs over the years to help them sleep is to set up a portable kennel or crate for their sleeping area. We discovered this technique quite by accident when we took one to the beach with us many years ago, and purchased one to use at the pet-friendly motel. The results were astounding!! This effect is verified by Cesar Millan (“The Dog Whisperer”) in an article on his Cesar’s Way website:
Now here’s the important part: Get a crate for your pup to sleep in at night and to use during the day for naptime. A dog crate or kennel is the modern day equivalent to a wolf’s den in the wild. Once you properly introduce your pup to his crate, you won’t know what you ever did without this phenomenal tool!
So if the answer to the question “Does your dog have sleep problems?” is yes, the above tips may help minimize or even eliminate the problem.
Do you have any tips that would help with dog sleeping problems? If so, please share them will all our readers below.
Our senior dog (14) out of nowhere started waking up at 11pm/2am/4am-Whining-In/Out/In/Out. Needless to say we were not getting our much needed sleep. We took him to the vet and had a wellness check. Nothing wrong with him. I was ready to put him on sedatives–our vet suggested trying melatonin. It works like a charm. It is not harmful and we can use it long term. We give him 3mg (he’s 60lbs) in a piece of turkey meat 15 min before bedtime and he sleeps through the night. He is not groggy in the morning–in fact he’s energetic and peppy. You can purchase it over the counter at CVS or Rite Aid–pretty much any store that sells vitamin supplements. I’m not sure if they sell it specifically for dogs. We use the human form per our vet. It’s so nice to sleep though the night!!
Melatonin is great BUT the higher the dose the higher risks of fits etc can manifest. It is always better to start at .5mg increments and work up over weeks otherwise you can create health risks. A human can sleep with 1mg who weighs 100lbs so try lower first or fits and seizures can occur
My dog of 2 years always wakes early in the morning ie. 4.30 5.00
Any idea or suggestion on how I ca get a good night sleep.