Tips to Help Your Dog Sleep Through the Night
Almost everyone who has raised a puppy has dealt with this issue. Puppies sleep a lot during the day, but when it is time for you to hit the hay, your little friend is wide awake and ready to play.
This problem is a lot less common with older dogs but I still hear clients complain about it occasionally. I have seen it most often with seniors suffering from CCD (Canine Cognitive Disorder, a form of senility).
What are some things you can do to make sure that your puppy or senior dog sleeps through the night?
Tips to Help a Puppy Sleep Through the Night
Prepare things for bedtime earlier in the evening:
- Make sure your friend is tired: Every dog needs to be taken for a walk in the early evening. I cannot tell you exactly how far, since dogs are different based on their breed type and individual personality, but I can tell you that your puppy needs to be tired by the time he drags himself through the door. If he is still bouncing around, you need to spend more time walking. If you have a large breed puppy and you just can't seem to walk enough to tire him out, how about a bicycle?
- Feed the dinner meal in the early evening: His last meal should be in the early evening so that he does not need to wake up to “do his business” in the middle of the night. Some experts will recommend that you feed the dog a late meal so that he will sleep better with a full stomach. That is correct—dogs do sleep better on a full stomach, but puppies will also have to get up and relieve themselves in the middle of the night if they eat a late meal.
- Arrange his area: I am not a fan of crates, but most puppies need to be confined in some way for at least a week or two to learn housetraining. I let my puppies sleep next to me in a box or an end table, and many times the dog will want to sleep next to me as he grows older.
- Use appropriate bedding: This will depend on the breed and how warm you keep your room, so you will need to use some common sense when making up his bed. Dogs often like to lie on a dirty t-shirt, so providing a freshly washed towel or clean and fresh comforter may actually make it more difficult for your puppy to sleep.
- Let the activity and play wind down as bedtime approaches: This is not a problem for a lot of dogs, but puppies that are left alone most of the day need some activity at night and want to use this time to play. If you want to wrestle with your puppy or take him out to the yard to play fetch, do so early, and when it is later, rest. Your puppy will do so too, and thus be calm and much more likely to sleep through the night when bedtime arrives.
- Take him for another walk outside just before going to bed. This can be a lot shorter than the earlier walk, and the dog needs to have time to sniff around and urinate and defecate without being rushed. (If your puppy does wake up in the middle of the night and needs to urinate again, do not make this into a play session. Take her out, let her do her business, and then return her immediately to the sleeping area.)
- Take him to a quiet room/special sleeping area: Since dogs are social animals, I think it is vital that you allow your pet to sleep in the same room as you. For the first few days, I drape my hand over the side of the bed until my puppy has fallen asleep.
- Turn off all of the lights: Your puppy is more likely to sleep through the night if his environment is dark. No TVs, computer monitors, etc..
- Make sure he does not have fleas or any other medical problem: A puppy with fleas crawling all over him is going to be uncomfortable when he is bitten and will wake up scratching himself. If your puppy has mites, he will also not be able to sleep without waking up to scratch.
What If My Senior Dog Won't Sleep Through the Night?
For adult dogs, especially those suffering from CCD, some things are a little different.
Tips for Helping Senior Dogs Sleep
Let your dog have access to your room.
Even if you did not allow this before, many CCD dogs need more social time.
Give your dog a comfortable place to sleep.
If your dog is developing arthritis an orthopedic dog bed will help a lot. If he will not use it try throwing a dirty t-shirt that has your smell on it on top of the bed.
Take your dog for a short walk before bedtime.
He must be on a leash, and since he may have arthritis this must be a “sniff” walk, and should not really go anywhere.
Allow him to sleep with a full stomach.
Some senior dogs stop eating much so go to bed hungry and wake up just to see if there is anything in the bowl, so you should provide a good meal before bedtime. (Unless he is having accidents in the house.) If he is not willing to eat, consider warming his food a few seconds in the microwave.
Treat his pain.
If your dog is in pain he will find it difficult to sleep, so look into pain relievers and other alternatives.
Supplement your CCD dogs diet with coconut oil and omega-3 fatty acids.
There are no exact doses available yet for these natural supplements but this is the best thing to try for your dog. (Leave a comment or talk to your vet if you need more help with this information.)
Consider consulting your veterinarian for a prescription.
Seligiline (Anipryl) is a drug available to treat Parkinsons in humans, and may help your dog. There may be other drugs available where you live, and if your dog is in pain from arthritis this is your best option.
- Dog Arthritis Symptoms and Home Pain Remedies
If your senior dog is not sleeping read about the symptoms of arthritis and learn the cures you can try at home.
If you are the proud new owner of one of those puppies that will not sleep through the night no matter what you do, please do not worry too much. All puppies will eventually learn to sleep longer hours during your bedtime, so in a few months, things will be a lot better.
The best way that I have learned to allow my puppy to sleep all night is:
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