Is your dog having difficulties falling asleep at night? Knowing how to send a dog to sleep at night can be challenging for some. There are times when the dog will wake up, bark, and even invade your bed. In turn, your sleep is also interrupted.
As a pet owner, I know the struggle of having to deal with an anxious puppy at night. When we first got Sherlock, my Golden Retriever, he kept us awake for several weeks. That was until we consulted the vet and found out about the eight simple tricks below.
How to help dogs sleep better
If your dog is having a hard time falling asleep, the following tips will help a lot:
1. Give the dog a comfortable bed
The very first thing you should do is get your dog a comfortable bed inside a crate. Most dogs will thrive on an orthopedic dog since it diffuses the pressure on their joints. Senior dogs will also sleep better if they have a bed that supports their aging joints.
Make sure that the bed is sized properly for your dog. A very small one will be uncomfortable, hence defeating the purpose of getting one.
A separate dog bed will also train your dog to sleep on its own. This will give you a good night’s sleep as well. Crate training will help here, especially for anxious canines.
2. Keep their favorite toy close
Some dogs tend to be anxious when left alone to sleep. If this is the case, you should exhaust all means to keep them comfortable and calm. Their favorite chew toy would be a big help here. Imagine a baby scared of its dark bedroom. Their favorite toy would give them a sense of security.
Aside from that, you should also line your dog’s bed with one of your used shirts. This will leave your scent around, which is calming for your dog.
3. Limit water intake before bedtime
You should limit your dog’s water intake two to three hours before bedtime. This is to prevent unscheduled potty trips. This translates to two things: an anxious dog and interrupted bedtime on your part.
Also, you should schedule the last bathroom break of your dog a bit late at night. For my dog Sherlock, our last potty trip for the day is 10 pm, which is 30 minutes before my scheduled bedtime. Also, we feed him at the same time as we do at around 8 pm while limiting water intake.
4. Keep it calm before bedtime
If you want your dog to sleep through the night, you should keep the evenings calm. You shouldn’t engage your dog in strenuous exercise and similar activities. By keeping the pre-bedtime hours calm, your dog will easily doze off.
If your intention is to drain your dog’s excess energy, do so hours before its mealtime. So by the time your dog eats its last meal of the day, it would be tired and ready to sleep.
Remember that dogs pick up moods. If we are agitated or angry, they will feel that same vibe. This might make it hard for them to sleep at night.
Like humans, dogs can’t switch to sleep mode right away. They need a few hours to tone down at the end of the day.
5. Consider using melatonin for pets
Another option that you can ask the vet is the use of pet melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our sleep. As the level of melatonin rises in our brain, it makes us calm and sleepy. This is the same chemistry that happens inside your dog’s body.
Depending on the size of your dog, it can take around three to six milligrams of melatonin. I suggest consulting your dog’s vet as some canines may have sensitivity or adverse reactions to this sleeping aid.
Can I give human melatonin to my dog? Yes, but you should consult the vet first. The melatonin pills made for humans are concentrated and must not be given to dogs without reducing the dosage.
6. Give your dog CBD oil during the day
If you’re looking for a natural way, you should consider CBD oil for dogs for sleep. Hemp CBD oil is non-psychoactive, but take note that you should give it to your dog during the day.
This is because CBD promotes wakefulness, which will encourage your dog to move and drain its energy. Come nighttime, your pooch will be ready to doze off after its last meal.
Still, you should consult your pet’s vet about the safe dosage and specific product. If you find it hard to administer CBD oil, you can opt for CBD dog chews instead. These are infused with CBD oil and more appealing to a canine’s taste buds.
7. Diffuse a calming scent
Another method we use to help our dog Sherlock fall asleep is diffusing calming scents. We bought a pheromone diffuser made especially for dogs. This contains an artificial pheromone that helps dogs calm down. It works well for canines with anxiety and difficulty sleeping at night.
Some pet owners diffuse essential oils, but I strongly warn about the possible side effects. Some essential oils like pennyroyal, wintergreen, peppermint, and cinnamon are toxic to dogs, especially if diffused without dilution.
8. Rule out health problems
If your dog keeps on having sleepless nights, you should consider bringing it to the vet. Your dog might be suffering from a health problem.
Aside from separation anxiety and fear, dogs can also develop sleep apnea. This condition causes loud and recurrent snoring as well as irritability during the day. What happens is that the muscles surrounding the airway relaxes, which cuts off the dog’s breathing momentarily. This will wake the dog up, gasping for air.
Also, orthopedic pain will keep your dog up at night. This will be accompanied by crying, whining, and restlessness. In this case, the vet can prescribe pain relievers to help your dog sleep.
Can I give my dog Benadryl to help him sleep?
Benadryl can help dogs fall asleep, but you shouldn’t use it too often. For Sherlock, we reserve it on occasions when there’s loud thunder, fireworks, and similar disturbances.
The rule of thumb on Benadryl dosage for dogs is 1 mg for every pound of its body weight. If this is your first time giving your pet Benadryl, you should phone the vet first.
Do dogs sleep the whole night?
Unlike humans, dogs don’t really sleep 8 to 9 hours in one go. They alternate between long naps throughout the night. Don’t worry because this is normal since dogs are flexible sleepers. They can be taking naps while sitting down or leaning on a structure.
Aside from that, a sleeping dog wakes up fast as much as it can doze off quickly. Overall, an adult dog sleeps around 9 to 14 hours in fragmented periods. Meanwhile, puppies would snooze for up to 20 hours a day as their small bodies can get tired quickly.
How do I stop my dog from waking me up at night?
I know the struggle of having your dog jumping into bed at 2 am and waking you up. It can get annoying and bothersome over time, which will directly impact the quality of your sleep.
To stop this, you should give your dog its own place to sleep. A comfortable bed in a quiet area in your house will help a lot. You can also give the dog any of the mentioned options above to help it doze off a night.
As a dog owner, I don’t recommend letting your dog get used to sleeping in your bed. This is a recipe for sleepless nights once your pet is fully grown. As much as possible, train your dog to sleep on its own bed by day 1.
How long does it take for dogs to fall asleep?
Dogs fall asleep very easily. Your dog can lie down and fall asleep in less than a minute. However, dogs wake up and become alert easily as well. They can also snooze in any sleeping position.
This also varies per dog, especially those with existing health conditions and behavioral problems. If you notice that your dog isn’t sleeping well, you should consult the veterinarian. Your canine companion might be dealing with a health problem that requires immediate veterinary attention.
Knowing how to send a dog to sleep will also help you get a peaceful slumber. Like us, dogs also need a comfortable bed and a quiet place to rest. You can also utilize calming aids and CBD oil to help your dog doze off.