If you've had small children, you'll understand the concept of a sleepless night. Do parents of puppies experience the same bouts of insomnia? Much like human babies, puppies aren't tied to a specific sleeping schedule immediately.
Pet parents may find themselves getting up many times throughout the night to tend to a whimpering and restless pup. Puppies may not sleep through the night for various reasons, for example, getting used to house training or getting on a feeding schedule.
However, this condition may also occur in older dogs. More commonly known as CCD (Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, a form of senility), many senior dogs suffer from this condition and may require special care.
How long do dogs sleep at a time? This depends on many things and what you can do as the human owner to help them. Let's look at five possible reasons why your canine companion keeps waking up through the night.
5 Reasons why your dog can't sleep
#1. Buster needs to go to the bathroom
When you bring a new puppy home, remember that your new furry buddy is still growing and developing all of their systems, especially their bladders.
Typically, puppies can only control their bladders for about an hour for every month of their age; then, it's time to go. So if the puppy is about four months old, expect that they can hold it for about 4 hours and no more, so they’ll need to get up in the middle of the night!
With careful house training, your little puppy will gradually learn to control their bladder longer and longer until they can sleep the entire night before needing to get to that patch of grass outside.
#2. Tootsie's just not tired!
It seems pretty straightforward, but it is also one of the most common reasons for a sleepless dog. If you leave a dog to it, chances are it will spend most of the day lounging around and napping.
With nothing else to do (except maybe get into trouble), a dog that sleeps throughout the day without getting exercise will have a ton of built-up energy.
#3. Odie is getting older
As your dog ages, many physical, mental, and emotional factors may come into play affecting their sleep patterns. One of the side effects of dementia is a disruption in their sleep cycle. All you can do is practice your patience and give him tons of love.
#4. Lady is feeling lonely
Dogs that experience separation anxiety may sleep while their owners are absent. If you've ever wondered, "Why do dogs sleep so much?" there could be many reasons. Adult dogs can sleep up to 12 hours a day.
However, dogs left alone for long periods will feel anxiety and start behaviors such as your dog barking in sleep or wrecking furniture or clothing. Sleeping less and destroying your home is no option!
These dogs will also have disrupted or abnormal sleep behaviors due to dealing with their loneliness. Spending more time with your best buddy will help smooth any separation anxiety issues and get them back to better sleep patterns.
#5. Puddles is in pain
Even humans have a hard time falling asleep when they are feeling discomfort or pain. Dogs experience the same feelings. Some of the issues that can cause your dog to be in pain include stomach issues, joint pain, skin issues, or recovering from an injury.
How to help Spike sleep more soundly
Being a new puppy's pet parent comes with a ton of responsibility. When you bring the little pup home, remember that they may not sleep through the night. Don't panic; sleeplessness is quite normal for young puppies.
Eventually, your little furry friend will be able to fall asleep relatively quickly. They'll begin to sleep longer and develop regular sleeping habits. Until then, be patient as your puppy’s sleep patterns develop.
Here are some tips you can follow to help get your dog sleeping in no time.
#1. Tire him out!
All dogs require some form of exercise. Whether it's a walk in the morning, playtime in the park, or some other form of physical fun, it will help your dog to sleep better. Since different breeds require different forms of exercise, find out which activities are suited for your dog.
#2. Feeding times
How much do puppies sleep? This may depend on when you feed them. To ensure a better night of puppy sleep, give your furry buddy their last meal in the early evening. Doing this will prevent them from getting up in the middle of the night to "do their business."
Although some research suggests that a dog with a full stomach sleeps better, a puppy is another matter altogether since it will probably need to go outside through the night.
#3. To crate or not to crate
When you're figuring out how to get a puppy to sleep, you may have come across advice to crate it. Some dogs love crates, while others don't. A crate can be a great help for a few weeks while your puppy becomes house-trained.
Allowing the puppy to sleep next to you in a box will give them a sense of comfort and help them become trained, eventually falling asleep with ease.
Having a bed for a dog to get a better night's rest is essential. To choose the right bed, you have to consider a few factors. What type of breed is your dog? Does it like having a warm room to sleep in or a cooler space?
Some dogs are happy with something as simple as one of your old shirts to sleep with, and others won't go to sleep unless they can hop on the bed with you! So keep your dog's character in mind, and work towards both of you getting a restful night's sleep.
#5. Play time before bedtime
Many dogs can fall asleep instantly when it comes time for bed, but a puppy left alone during the day will require some activity or play before settling in for a good night's sleep. A game of fetch, a wrestle, or a chase, are all excellent ideas to tire your pup out before bed.
#6. One more walk
A nightly walk doesn't have to take long. You'll need just enough time for your dog to sniff around a bit and do its business without it feeling rushed. This little bit of activity will calm your dog down enough for them to feel refreshed and ready for sleep.
# 7. A special space for sleeping
Dogs are naturally social animals. Therefore it makes sense for them to want to sleep in the same room as you. Bringing your pup into your bedroom, or even allowing it on the bed, will give it comfort, a sense of security, and probably also a night of better sleep.
# 8. Lights out
Most people prefer sleeping in the dark, and there's a good reason for this. Our bodies produce melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, in this environment.
A darker environment is also good for your puppy to get a good night's sleep. This means that it's best to turn TVs, computer monitors, and cell phones off to give your dog a better chance of having a good night's sleep.
#9. Is your dog healthy?
Imagine fleas crawling all over you while trying to fall asleep. If your furry friend has fleas, they'll be scratching all night and struggling to sleep. The same applies to other health issues. If you are unwell, you'll also toss and turn all night long!
#10. Music calms the savage beast
Some pet owners claim that playing calm and relaxing music will do the trick. There is no proven research to back up this tip, but mellow music creates a calm environment and a calm owner - so why not a calm pet? Try it out!
What about a senior dog and sleep?
We've looked at how to get a restful night of sleep for your puppy. For an adult dog, sleep is entirely different. Older dogs, especially ones that suffer from CCD, may need a slightly different approach to getting some shuteye.
- Move your furry friend’s dog bed to your room. Even if this was forbidden before, dogs with CCD might need more affection, and to feel more social.
- Make your dog's bed as comfortable as possible. If your dog is suffering from arthritis, consider an orthopedic bed or a bed ramp for dogs to help them get up onto your bed and snuggle in for the night.
- Older dogs that have arthritis can go for a short walk just to sniff around. It will help clear their minds, give them a little bit of activity, and ultimately help them fall asleep more easily.
- The full stomach concept may work far better with a senior dog than a puppy. If you give your dog a good meal before bedtime, its belly will be full, and it'll feel more content.
- To relieve some of the pain that older dogs feel, talk to your vet about pain relief options to help them sleep through the night.
How to help Spike sleep more soundly
There are various ways to help your dog get a good night's sleep, and your first step is to understand it. By understanding your dog, you'll figure out what works for them in every stage of their life.
If you understand your furry friend better and follow the tips and tricks in this article, your best buddy could soon sleep through the night. This means that you'll also have a better chance of snoozing the night away in peace!