We all need our sleep, dogs included. Think about how you feel when you have not had a good night’s sleep. You wake up the next morning feel agitated and grouchy. It can also have a negative impact on your overall health if your poor sleeping cycle continues. The same applies to dogs, which is why it is vital that you help your dog to sleep better if he is struggling to get the Zzz he needs. With that in mind, read on to discover some of the best tips to help your dog sleep better.
Why is Your Dog Struggling to Sleep?
Before we reveal how you can help your dog get a better night’s sleep, it is important to get to the bottom of why your dog is struggling to sleep soundly in the first place. There are a number of reasons why this may be the case, including the following:
- Lack of activity
One of the common reasons why dogs do not sleep soundly is because they have too much energy. If they have not exhausted this energy during the day, they are going to struggle to drift off at night.
If your dog is feeling stressed out or anxious, this will often lead to a poor night’s sleep. Serious pacing and frequent repositioning are likely consequences of this, especially if you have an older dog. There are many different reasons why your dog may be feeling this way. It could be because he is suffering from a certain medical condition, or it could be because you have recently changed your home. Getting to the bottom of the stress and nervousness they are experiencing is important.
Another common reason why dogs struggle to sleep properly is because they are getting older. When a dog ages, they go through a number of physiological changes. This includes hearing and vision impairments. Situations like this can have a serious impact on the way that dogs are able to fall asleep, and just how deep the sleep is.
Different Tricks to Try to Get Your Dog to Sleep Better
- Try melatonin
You can purchase melatonin for dogs, and this can be very helpful in getting your furry friend to go to sleep. This is because melatonin is a natural sleep aid, meaning it does not contain any chemical ingredients, and so it can help your pet go to sleep without you needing to worry about any adverse side effects. Moreover, it is something that most dogs seem to tolerate very well. Depending on the size of your dog, they can take anywhere between three and six milligrams. It is always a good idea to check with your vet to ensure that your pet does not have any health issues or is not taking any medication that may conflict with this.
- Limit water before bed
It is important to limit the amount of water your dog has before going to bed. The best thing to do is stop giving your dog water around two hours before bedtime. A lot of people worry that this is bad for animals, however it is completely fine. Of course, this only applies to dogs that are in perfect health. If your pet has an underlying medical condition, for example, diabetes mellitus or heart disease, their water supply should never be restricted.
- Be consistent
Dogs are just like humans in this sense: they need consistency. If your dog has an irregular sleep cycle, this could be why he is struggling to sleep properly. If you have allowed your dog to get up and go outside in the middle of the night a few times in a row, they will start to feel that this is the norm.
- Try dog calming supplements
If your dog struggles to sleep because he is anxious or too worked up, you should try dog supplements. Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety in dogs include: engaging in destructive behaviours, excessive biting or licking, withdrawing or hiding, tucking their tail between their legs, uncontrolled bowel movements or urination, trembling or shaking, and excessive barking, whining, or crying. If your dog is exhibiting any of these behaviours, he may be feeling nervous before bedtime, and so calming supplements can really help.
Make sure you choose natural supplements and look for ingredients that are associated with helping to achieve a calm state. Chamomile is a great choice. It has mild sedative effects, and is known to aid with sleeping especially. Passionflower is another ingredient that can help with insomnia and restlessness. Other ingredients to look out for include magnesium, thiamine, L-Theanine, inositol, and taurine.
- Give your dog calming treats
Not only can you get calming supplements, but you can also get calming treats, which will contain the same sort of ingredients that have just been mentioned. When looking for such treats, try to find sugar-free versions, as those with sugar in will only give your dog an energy boost, which is the last thing you need.
- Let your dog out just before bedtime
It is easy to assume that you let your dog out just before bedtime. But if you then have a shower, brush your teeth, and then watch a bit of TV, you’re really letting your dog out a few hours before bedtime? The best thing to do is literally leave your dog’s final outing until the very last minute. Make sure it is the last thing your dog does before going to sleep.
- Consider their sleeping environment
When you rest your head at night, you need your sleeping environment to be just right. If you are too warm or cold, you will be uncomfortable and struggle to fall asleep. The same applies if your bed is uncomfortable or your bedding is dirty. Well, dogs need to have a good sleeping environment too. Make sure they have a cosy place to sleep. This is where a good quality dog’s bed comes into play. Combine this with a warm blanket, which will help your dog to relax and enjoy their sleeping environment more. You may even want to consider having some form of a low sound nearby to help your dog feel more comfortable and drift off. For example, you could opt for white noise from the radio, or you could simply go for a clock that has a rhythmic ticking sound. Aside from this, do your best to make sure there is no excess light shining through and that loud noise from outside is reduced as much as possible.
- Don’t share your bed
While it can be tempting to let your dog sleep in your bed, especially if he is having trouble going to sleep. However, as mentioned earlier, consistency is so important for your furry friend. Studies have shown that 63 per cent of pet owners that share their bed with their dog have a bad night sleep.
For you, you can end up suffering allergies, and that is without mentioning the possible barking and movement. It’s not all rosy for your dog either. If you are tossing and turning throughout the night, your dog will struggle to get a good sleep. Not only this, but when they need to go back into their own bed, it can be confusing, and this can cause further issues with getting to sleep.
- Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise
If your dog is not active enough during the day, this may be why he is having trouble sleeping. When a parent wants to get their child to sleep, they try to tire them out through the day. It is the same concept with your pet. Depending on the size or breed of your dog, he should spend at least 30 minutes to two hours every day exercising. Generally speaking, the bigger the dog, the more exercise that is needed. Although, as mentioned, the breed of the dog plays an important role too.
So there you have it: some of the best tips to follow to get your dog to sleep better. If you follow the advice that has been provided above, you should notice a significant difference to your furry friend’s sleeping patterns. Your dog should have no trouble drifting off at night, and he should be a lot friendlier and happier the following day. If you are still having problems, it could be that there is a medical problem and the best thing to do is see a vet to get to the bottom of this. However, hopefully, you won’t need to do that and the advice above will have assisted you.