Picture this. After a long hard day of work, you slip into bed and turn off the light, ready to catch some decent shut-eye. There is just one problem. Your dog won’t fall asleep. Maybe you’ve tried putting him outside your room only to have him scratching at the door or running up and down the hallway. Perhaps he even sleeps for a few hours before waking you up at a quarter to three, absolutely buzzing with excess energy. Whatever the case, you’re exhausted and desperate for some sort of solution. What do you do?
A lot of dogs are under-exercised.
High energy dog breeds and younger puppies often need far more exercise than they get, which can often lead to behavioral problems and, in this case, difficulty falling asleep. Taking your dog on longer and more frequent walks, as well as playing games of fetch, can help use up some of your dog’s excess energy, so they fall right asleep when the time comes. And keep in mind, mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation. Learn our top tips to exercise your dog’s mind here.
You can also try crate training.
Dogs can feel anxious, especially in a new environment, and separation distress is pretty common. Keeping your dog inside a crate in your room gives your pooch a safe space to rest and feel close without having to sleep in your bed with you. Crate training can also help prevent accidents, especially with a young puppy. Plus, if you live in a busy household, it gives your dog a quiet space all to themselves so they can hopefully unwind and let go of their anxieties.
Sometimes it’s a sign of medical illness.
Your dog may have chronic inflammation that makes it difficult to fall asleep. If that’s the case, please do not give your dog painkillers, as most over-the-counter painkillers are toxic for dogs. If you notice your dog has difficulty moving, is panting excessively, and refusing to eat, it may be a sign they have arthritis, and you should seek medical attention. You can also try massaging your dog before going to sleep to see if that helps them settle down.
Older dogs can develop CCD.
CCD or cognitive dysfunction syndrome is similar to Alzheimer’s in the way it presents itself. Senior dogs can develop symptoms of confusion, insomnia, and pacing as they age. While there is no cure for CCD, your vet may prescribe certain medications to help mitigate the symptoms so going to the vet for a full workup is the best thing to do if you notice these symptoms developing in your dog.
At the end of the day, your dog wants to sleep.
They just need the right conditions to make it happen. Ensuring they are fully tired and relaxed before bedtime can go a long way in helping them fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Troubleshooting these types of issues might be difficult at the moment, but once you can get them sleeping properly, it will honestly all be worth it.