I do not know about your dog, but my dog thinks that he is the owner and I am his caretaker, so there was a time when my schedule was not according to my will, especially when it came to sleep. Often I have seen dog owners complaining about their dog keeping them sleep deprived by whining, howling or scratching the doors throughout the night. They considered it to be a normal phase of pet parenting until I told them that it was not.
It is very important that you and your dog should have a compatible sleep cycle so that your dog receives requisite interaction and you receive adequate rest without worrying. It is not just about compatibility but your dog not sleeping at an ideal or usual time can also be an indication of a medical condition which you should be concerned about, or an unhealthy routine that your dog is acclimated to which deserves immediate attention and rectification.
Therefore, before you plan a course of action for your dog, we would want you to go through a list of possibilities that might be thwarting your dog to doze off, below which we have also mentioned the solutions.
Possibilities along with solutions:
1. Lack Of Exhaustion –
Remember the Sundays when you woke up at noon and struggled sleeping at night because you were just not tired enough? This is what is happening to your dog, your dog is perhaps not receiving adequate physical as well as mental exercise to burn all his calories and all of is piled up energy isn’t allowing him to sleep.
Solution – Give Him A Good Amount Of Physical Activity
The solution is obvious that you need to take your dog for a walk or a run or indulge him into any physical activity. But with that you also have to ensure that your dog is not napping throughout the day. A helpful neighbour or a dog care is a help that you might look for if you have a busy work schedule.
2. Anxiety –
Dogs can suffer psychological and behavioural disorders such as separation anxiety. Dogs are found to be anxious when there is a change of address or ownership, someone in the household who was near to the dog has passed away etc. So it is obvious that new pups will be found anxious
Solution – Give Him Your Touch And Affection.
To prevent separation anxiety specifically I recommend owners to first of all not lock their dogs into crates before leaving and also putting on some music so that the dog does not feel lonely. Your only aim should be to calm your dog, which can be done by your touch, cuddling and interaction. Your own behaviour is also a determining factor, it has been observed by experts that dogs might absorb your expression of stress and anxiety. Prevent punishing a dog for his mistakes and rather use positive reinforcements, also there is no room for applying force while dog training.
3. Untimed Potty Breaks –
There can be many reasons why your dog is looking to go for bathroom at an unusual time one is that he over consumed water and you kept refilling his bowl/container. Your dog whimpering throughout the night can be his way of communicating to you to take him out for a potty break.
Solution – Give him adequate potty breaks.
Ensure that you take your dog for a potty break before bed time, it is also important that your dog is not left thirsty as even that can keep him awake. So ensure that you refill the bowl with adequate amount of water, but do not overfill it, as your dog consuming it all can wake him up again for another potty break.
4. Medical Conditions –
Your dog not being able to sleep at his usual time and schedule can be indicative of your dog’s physical suffering which can only be diagnosed by a Vet. There are definitely there are some signs that you need to look for. If your dog is continuously scratching himself it might be a fungal or a bacterial infection or under an attack from bugs and pests, if your dog is not comfortably eating or chewing he might not be sleeping because of dental pain, the list goes on.
Solution – Give him immediate medical treatment.
Take your dog to the vet, no matter there are how many articles that might suggest otherwise what your dog requires is an SOS treatment and an instant pain relief, you can also consider this as a symptom and prevent some serious medical condition to advance.
5. Sleeping Disorders –
There are 3 types of sleeping disorders usually found in dogs which are Insomnia, Sleep Apnoea, REM Behaviour and to calm all your worries it is pertinent to state that all of them can be managed and cured with an early diagnosis.
Insomnia is common in dogs suffering through pain or discomfort because of some medical ailment making them unable to sleep or simply because of piled up unexhausted energy of the day, it can be managed by treating the pain or disciplining the daily schedule.
Sleep Apnoea is common in dogs with excess fat deposition, dictionary meaning of apnoea is cessation or interruption of breathing during sleep. Regular intrusion in sleeps, sudden jolts at night and lesser intake of oxygen will not just awake your dog in the middle of the night but also keep him sluggish during the day time. Many dog owners complain of their dog snoring loudly at night, for them it is important to note that loud snoring is also an important symptom of sleep apnoea.
And last but not the least is the REM sleep behaviour disorder, pet owners claim that their dog gets up suddenly at night and starts running or barking, howling and sometimes even running into walls hurting himself, this is possible because your dog might have seen an unpleasant dream, but if this behaviour of his is getting regular, it makes a strong case of REM Sleep Behaviour.
Solution to Sleep Disorders
Again, it is a strong instruction from our side that if you rule out either of the sleeping disorders within your dog you need to subject him to medical examination and expert treatment, any home remedy cannot just prolong but rather aggress the problem
Melatonin As A Last Resort.
Sometimes despite all the above efforts your dog might not get the desired results, for them leaves the last resort of administering the sedative hormone of Melatonin. It is a hormonal supplement that is administered to dogs to calm them down and also manage their psychological and behavioural disorders like anxiety and restlessness. Melatonin is preferred by vets and dog owners because it is a naturally present element in a dog’s anatomy and is believed not to have the side effects that come along manufactured drugs by pharmaceutical companies.
Sometimes it might not even be a serious concern and your dog is just being picky, understand your dog’s dissatisfaction if any and try solving it, for example the one towards lighting, his bed, the surroundings of the room and even chirping crickets. Ensure your dog is fully fed and is not hungry or thirsty before you go to bed.
Ensure that any kind of medication will have side effects, therefore before jumping on to a chemically induced solution, ensure that you have tried out every organic method.