We all know how annoying and frustrating insomnia can be. So just imagine how it must feel when your dog has it. Yeah, dogs can get insomnia just like we can and for them, it’s particularly problematic because there could be a whole host of problems going on.
Even worse, they can’t communicate them to us. This is why it’s important to pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and the telltale signs of insomnia in your pet. Here are common reasons why your pup isn’t sleeping and potential solutions for curing insomnia in your dogs:
1. Lack of Exercise
This is one of the biggest ones. The majority of your dog’s day is spent laying around at home waiting for you to finish working. They’re not burning enough energy during the day and that excess energy is keeping them awake at night, making them restless.
The best solution is to get them out for walks a couple of times a day. If you can’t walk them yourself or have difficulty, take them to a dog park or see about hiring a dog walker to come by while you’re at work. You can even beef up his playtime with engaging toys and stimulation at home to help.
2. Weak Bladder
This one is more common in puppies who haven’t fully mastered bladder control yet. He may be up half the night because he has to piddle and this means he’ll likely be up every hour or so. Naturally, it gets better as the dog gets older and his bladder increases in size and control, but until then, there are still a few things you can do to help.
Crate training is a big one to consider, wherein you get the puppy used to sleeping in a crate at night. With this, be sure to deny him water up to two hours before bed to make sure his bladder is empty ahead of time.
3. Separation Anxiety
Dogs who typically suffer from anxiety when you’re away may also have difficulties at night and you’re not available to be with them. This is especially true if your dog is new and unfamiliar with his new home.
To help curb this, try to get him used to a crate in your room if you don’t want him on the bed. You can also place articles of your old clothing in there with him to comfort him with your scent, which will help him relax.
4. Pain or Sickness
If insomnia is an unusual behavior, it’s a good bet that your dog might be sick or in pain. However, there are a few things that can be done to help curb this.
The best thing to do in this instance is to call the vet as soon as his odd behavior becomes very apparent and doesn’t ease up. If there’s something wrong with him that you’re aware of, such as painful arthritis or some other condition, you can always try giving him a soothing massage. You can even supplement with specific canine painkillers to make him more comfortable.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is basically Alzheimer’s disease commonly found in senior dogs. Much like the human version, this form of canine dementia can cause a variety of symptoms in dogs, up to and including a lapse in training, confusion, and insomnia.
He’ll need a full exam to be diagnosed with this disorder, and sadly, there’s nothing that can be done to cure it. But if you’re hoping to keep him comfortable and help him sleep, there are medications designed for him that’ll help.
It’s also recommended that you exercise him frequently with stimulating play to keep his mind and body as sharp as possible for longer.
Your dog is even more hyper-aware of his environment than you are half the time and his insomnia could easily be triggered by something near him that is disturbing him.
When it’s environmental stimuli causing the problem, the best thing you can do for your dog is to identify the source of the problem. You’ll then try to block out his attention to that problem by closing the blinds or even installing some form of white noise in your room to cancel out the noise that’s bothering him.
7. Sleep Apnea
Yeah, here’s another human condition that dogs can get, where certain dogs with conditions allowing this problem have their airways blocked at night, resulting in snoring and poor sleep quality.
Unfortunately, dogs can’t use CPAP machines like humans can to open their airways, but there are solutions. Overweight dogs who suffer from this condition may be urged to lose weight, while dogs with physical limitations may have to undergo corrective surgery to remove the blockage.
8. Bad Bedding
If your dog is older and suffering from pains already, a bad bed might actually be contributing to his poor sleep. Just like humans, dogs need support as they sleep and you might want to check and see if his bed is giving that support to him.
Invest in a true orthopedic bed for your dog and see if it helps make a difference in his sleep quality at night.
9. Medication Side Effects
Just like people with a new medication, any medication you have to give your dog might have side effects attached to it, which could result in any number of issues. Insomnia is a common one.
If the medication for your pup is making it hard for them to go to sleep at night, either through incontinence, anxiety or general restlessness, contact the vet who prescribed the medication. He or she will provide further instructions on where to go from there.
10. Lack of Routine
Dogs are incredibly routine-oriented. This is why when they’re puppies or new to your home, or both, it’s important to establish a fairly constant routine to help give them some stability and consistency. If they operate completely randomly throughout the day, going to bed at inconsistent times, this may double their anxiety and make it harder for them to relax and unwind.
The best thing you can do is to establish a steady routine for your dog. Set a time when they go to bed every night and stick to it. This will help them to feel calmer and more secure.
Insomnia is frustrating and discouraging, but it doesn’t have to be a mystery. Just remember what you know about your dog and use this to help you determine what the problem is. It might just be simpler than you think.
Is you dog having a hard time sleeping? What are you doing to help your pup sleep better? Share in the comments.