Everyone needs a good sleep and this applies to your dog too. Your dog needs a proper amount of sleep to stay healthy and active. Issues like sleep deprivation can cause health issues for your dog because sleep is the time during which the bodies are repaired and healed.
Some times issues like lack of sleep are common in young puppies and even senior dogs due to issues related to their age. These sleep issues are sometimes temporary and in some cases, the dogs may suffer from these issues for a prolonged period of time.
I have seen dogs that suffer due to lack of sleep and stay awake and anxious during the whole night. It is important to identify the issue that is causing sleepless nights to your dog.
In this article, we explain to you the issues that cause sleep deprivation in dogs. We also answer questions like, how much should dogs sleep? What is the best sleep aid for dogs? and also the common question everyone asks me, what can i give my dog to make him sleep?
You want to make your dog sleep. If yes, I will help you.
What can i give my dog to make him sleep?
Before knowing the ways how to make a dog sleep, it is essential to understand how dogs sleep and how much they sleep and what their sleeping patterns?
It is important to know this because dogs do not sleep exactly like humans and their sleeping patterns are a bit different from us.
How much should dogs sleep?
Do you know that dogs spend 50 per cent of a day in sleep? It means that a dog sleeps for an average duration of 12-14 hours.
Here i am talking about a healthy adult dog. And 12-14 hours should is a sufficient amount of sleep. I am not talking about young puppies and older dogs because their sleep durations are different.
A puppy could probably spend 20 hours a day in its sleep and this sleep quota slowly decreases as it grows in age.
Even older dogs tend to sleep more because of their low energy levels, you generally observe senior dogs with sleeping habits like that of a puppy.
Do dogs sleep all night?
Dogs don’t sleep all night continuously. Because our furry companions do not require continuous sleep all night like humans.
The dogs have a shorter REM sleep which is roughly 10 per cent of their sleep whereas in humans it is around 25 per cent. The dogs enter into the REM cycle more quickly and the overall sleep cycle has a shorter span.
Because of this shorter sleep cycles, the dogs undergo more sleep cycles with a regular interruption between the cycles.
These breaks between the dog’s sleep cycle are pretty common and very normal.
9 reasons why your dog won’t sleep at night
Is your dog restless at night? Is it suffering from sleeplessness? There are reasons for it.
Sleeplessness is just a symptom and there might be many reasons for your dog’s sleeplessness. Have a look at the common problems causing the issue
1. Environmental sounds and other kinds of disturbances
2. Pent up energy due to lack of exercise
3. Loneliness and stress especially in younger puppies
4. Separation anxiety
5. Due to boredom
6. Skin issues such as fleas and allergies that cause constant itching
7. Your dog might want to pee or poop
8. Other physical problems and health conditions that cause pain and discomfort to your dog
9. Issues like dementia and arthritis especially in older dogs
What can i give my dog to sleep at night?
Do you need to give something to your dog to make him sleep?
When your dog’s health, mental and physical conditions are normal sleep will be a natural process. If the dog is suffering from sleeplessness, it means that there exists an underlying cause for his sleeplessness.
As your dog cannot explain his problem to you, it is you who have to identify the issue. There are certain things you can provide to your dog to make him sleep.
Plenty of exercises
We need to remember that dogs are not toys, they are living beings like us.
Imagine yourself sitting in a house without any work and not going outside for many days. How do you feel? Even your dog feels the same way. Even dogs require a proper amount of physical activity to stimulate their bodies. If you have a large dog like a labrador or a German shepherd, it requires more physical activity. A simple walk may not be sufficient for him.
Do you know that a tired dog is a happy dog? If your dog gets enough amount of physical activity, it eventually gets tired, and sleep becomes an automatic body process.
A proper amount of physical and mental stimulation is very much required for every dog to ensure that it has a sound sleep which is mandatory for the overall wellbeing of the dog.
The right amount of food
This usually happens with puppies as they are fed with meals of smaller quantities. When you give your puppy his last meal in the night, it has to wait the whole night till the next morning to get his next meal.
A puppy is a new member of your house, you may not fully understand its eating necessities and habits clearly. Hence it is important to access the eating necessities of your puppy and make sure that your puppy is not left hungry during the night.
Provide a quiet environment
Dogs are quite alert while they sleep. Various sounds from outside such as barking dogs, construction sounds, doorbell sounds and other disturbing sounds can disturb your dog’s sleep very easily.
Hence it is very important to provide a space to your dog where these sounds do not cause disturbance to its sleep.
This is very important with respect to dogs that are more anxious as they get anxious for every different sound that they hear during the night.
You can use distracting noises which do not have an uneven pitch. For example, you can use a ceiling fan as a distracting noise to prevent disturbance from other outside noises.
Provide a sleeping routine
Dogs love patterns. When you allow your dog to play or not to sleep in the night, it assumes that its behaviour is acceptable and it becomes a habit.
Hence it is important to establish a pattern and your dog must understand that it is time to sleep. For example, I generally turn off the light and say the word “goodnight” every day to my dog. My dog came to understand that i won’t play or spend time with him after the word goodnight and after turning off the lights, and he usually goes to sleep.
Hence establishing a sleeping routine at a regular time associated with a particular pattern is essential to make your dog understand that its time to sleep.
Foods that induce sleep
Some foods that are abundant in an amino acid called tryptophan are good for regulating mood and inducing sleep. Foods such as milk, cheese, bananas and eggs can provide your dog with this sleep-enhancing amino acid.
Hence you can provide your dog with a small cup of warm milk before going to bed as a bedtime snack. This is especially helpful for dogs who can take dairy products and this is not advisable for dogs who are lactose intolerant as it can cause diarrhea in them.
What about an anxious dog?
I frequently hear some common questions from dog owners who live with an anxious dog. Questions like, What can i give my dog for anxiety? How to make my anxious dog sleep?
I can understand their situation. It is difficult for any dog owner to deal with an anxious dog that does not sleep properly due to fear and anxiety.
But it is important for every dog owner to know how to calm a restless dog at night. Because anxiety and restlessness in a dog causing sleepless nights can be detrimental to the overall health of the dog.
Anxious dogs do not sleep properly and are always restless. Even though they fall asleep due to exhaustion, they startle and wake up when they hear any kind of sound or when someone walks near them.
Anxiety is just a symptom and you need to find out the issues that are causing anxiety in your dog. Have a look at our article Labrador anxiety and proven steps to handle it.
Various steps can be taken to reduce anxiety.
For example, if your dog is crate trained, keeping the crate nearer to the bed to reduce its anxiety. Later you can slowly increase the distance between the crate and bed by habituating the distance to your dog.
What about an elderly dog?
Sleeplessness is again a common problem in senior dogs and the reasons causing sleeplessness may be different here.
Various health issues that generally effect elderly dogs can make your senior dog restless at night. Problems that keep your dog awake during the night are gastrointestinal trouble, urinary disorders or dementia. Or else your dog might be suffering from pain due to issues such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. Or your senior friend might be suffering from simple issues like anxiety and fear which usually happens in old age.
If your dog is suffering from conditions like arthritis a perfect orthopaedic bed can ease its pain.
You can play some Dog calming music if your dog is anxious. This can calm your dog.
White noise machine that produces particular sounds to distract your dog from disturbing surrounding sounds can also help.
If your dog’s condition does not improve and if your dog is still suffering, it is very important to take him to the vet. The vet may prescribe suitable sleeping pills for dogs. It is not a good idea to use over the counter dog sedative for your dog unless prescribed by a vet.
Can i give my dog melatonin?
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in animals and humans which helps in regulating the sleep and wake cycles. Lack of proper melatonin can cause sleep-related problems both in humans and animals.
Melatonin for dogs is used to treat issues like anxiety, fear and sleep disorders.
But anything which is not natural is bound to have side effects which can be minimal or maximal in effect. Hence it is very important to decide whether the benefits are outweighing the side effects caused by these medicines.
Even though melatonin is considered to be safe for dogs, it has certain side effects. Side effects such as lethargy, gastric upset, increased heart rate and fertility changes are generally observed.
Hence medicines such as melatonin can be used in necessary cases only after consulting your vet. It is essential to discuss certain details such as melatonin dosage for dogs, duration of its usage etc before using it.
Always be careful while administering the medicine, as there is always a risk of dog melatonin overdose.
Benadryl for dogs. Can i give my dog Benadryl?
Benadryl is an over the counter antihistamine mainly used in treating allergies. Its active ingredient Diphenhydramine is used to treat allergies, anxiety and even insomnia.
The two questions many people have with respect to usage of Benadryl are, How much Benadryl can i give my dog? Will Benadryl make my dog sleepy? These are the common questions i generally hear from pet parents who want to use Benadryl for their pet.
The standard dosage is 1mg per pound of body weight for every single dose and with a gap of 8hours between the doses in a day. But the exact dosage to be given to the dog should be entirely your vet’s decision depending upon your dog’s condition.
Do not forget to consult your vet before administering Benadryl to your dog.
And coming to the second question. Yes, Benadryl can make your dog sleepy as it is sedative in nature.
Even though this medicine is useful to treat certain issues like sleeplessness it does not come without any side effects. benadryl can cause certain side effects such as dry mouth, urinary retention, hypersalivation, increased heart rate and breathing.
For usage, Benadryl comes in both forms of capsules and liquid. If you want to use liquid medicine, you can use children’s Benadryl for dogs as it is alcohol-free.
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