We all know how important a good night’s sleep is for our health and well-being. The same applies to our furry friends. However, just like us, dogs can sometimes struggle with sleep issues. This comprehensive guide will delve into the various remedies and strategies you can employ to ensure your dog gets the restful sleep they need.
The Importance of Sleep for Dogs
Sleep is as crucial for dogs as it is for humans. It helps them recover from the day’s activities, supports their immune system, and contributes to their overall well-being. However, various factors can disrupt a dog’s sleep, ranging from environmental changes to health issues. Understanding these factors can help you take steps to ensure your dog gets the quality sleep they need.
Causes of Sleep Disruption in Dogs
Young puppies and senior dogs may need more frequent potty breaks, which can disrupt their sleep. Dogs experiencing urinary or gastrointestinal problems may also need to go out more frequently.
Some dogs may be on alert during the night due to noises outside or separation anxiety. These factors can lead to restlessness or barking, disrupting their sleep.
As dogs age, their cognitive function can decline, similar to humans. This can lead to unusual barking at night, a classic sign of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.
Dogs with visual issues may struggle to see in the dark, leading to stress when lights are turned off. This can result in barking or whining during the night.
If your dog is in pain, they may have a hard time getting comfortable when trying to sleep. This is especially noticeable if they are lying on a hard surface.
High-energy dogs and puppies may be too wound up to settle at night, leading to disrupted sleep.
Home Remedies to Help Your Dog Sleep
Before Bed Potty Break
Allowing your dog to go outside to pee and poop before bed can decrease the need for overnight bathroom breaks.
Withholding Water Before Bed
Picking up the water bowl an hour or two before bed can prevent your dog from needing to go to the bathroom overnight.
A vigorous exercise session a few hours before bed can help tire your dog out, ensuring they sleep soundly.
Using a white noise machine can help drown out noises in and around the home, allowing your dog to sleep deeply.
Thundershirt or Calming Pheromones
Dogs experiencing evening stress or separation anxiety may benefit from a calming thundershirt or a diffuser with calming pheromones.
For dogs with poor vision, a nightlight in the room where they sleep can help them feel more at ease.
A puzzle or Kong toy can help keep your pet stimulated at bedtime and can help tire them out.
Medications to Help Your Dog Sleep
Melatonin, Benadryl, L-tryptophan, and calming supplements are all over-the-counter options that can help your dog relax and sleep.
Trazodone, Gabapentin, Benzodiazepines, long-term anti-anxiety medications, and Selegiline are prescription medications that can helpyour dog sleep. However, these should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian.
When to Call the Vet
If home remedies aren’t working, or if your dog is displaying signs of pain, excessive urination, diarrhea, excessive thirst, or abnormal cognitive function, it’s time to consult with your veterinarian.
What Will the Vet Do?
Your vet will perform a thorough examination to assess any potential causes of your dog’s sleep disruption. This may include an assessment of neurological function, eyesight, and an orthopedic examination. They may recommend bloodwork and urine testing to rule out common illnesses that may be causing your dog to feel unwell.
FAQs About Dogs and Sleep
Is There a Sleeping Pill for Dogs?
Yes, there are many over-the-counter and prescription options to help your dog sleep at night. These range from calming supplements and antihistamines to oral sedatives.
Will Benadryl Help My Dog Sleep All Night?
Benadryl is an antihistamine medication that offers sedative properties. It can be used safely in most dogs to help them sleep more soundly.
Can Dogs Take Melatonin?
Melatonin is a safe option to give dogs and offers sedative properties that can quell stress and anxiety. However, dosing should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Should I Give My Dog a Sedative to Help Him Sleep All Night?
Sedatives should only be given to dogs after a veterinarian has determined that there is not an underlying medical issue causing their sleeplessness.
Ensuring your dog gets a good night’s sleep is crucial for their overall health and well-being. By understanding the potential causes of sleep disruption and knowing how to address them, you can help your furry friend get the rest they need. Always consult with your veterinarian before starting any new treatment or medication.