Nighttime Restlessness in Dogs - Reasons and Solutions

Nighttime restlessness in dogs is common but you should definitely pay attention to their behavior to try to find the most effective measure.
Nighttime Restlessness in Dogs - Reasons and Solutions

Last update: 03 December, 2019

Nightly rest is important for you and everyone else, including your pets. So, if you notice nighttime restlessness in your dog they’re not only disturbing you but, most likely, everyone who sleeps under the same roof as you both.

It’s quite usual in the world of dogs, even domesticated ones, for them to sleep for eight to nine hours at night. That’s usually all they need to start a new day full of energy.

However, they’ll still probably take several naps during the rest of the day. At least this is how a healthy and balanced dog will behave. Otherwise, their personality and health will suffer.

The one thing that can become a problem is to allow your pet to sleep in the same room as you. This is because they’ll soon get used to it and it’ll be a hard habit to break – mainly if one fine day you decide you’d like to sleep by yourself because the animal is keeping you up at night.

Nighttime restlessness in dogs

A sleeping dog.

If you’ve just adopted a grown dog or a puppy, it’s quite normal for them to have a hard time sleeping all night. They’ll most likely want to get your attention, either out of boredom or because they need to do their business.

Dogs sleep up to 20 hours a day and they do so in short intervals. For this reason, new pets will have to adapt to your pace of life. They’ll probably be too excited to sleep all night during the first days.

The most common reasons why your dog won’t sleep at night

  • They have too much energy: Some dog breeds need more activity than others, so if yours isn’t active enough during the day then they’ll have too much energy at the end of the day. Thus, they won’t feel like sleeping.
  • Medical problems: If your dog stays awake at night it may be because they need to do their business and can’t hold it any longer. This happens a lot with older dogs or those with health problems. Basically, they just can’t hold back for so many hours in a row. A solution for not having to disturb your rest is to set aside an area for them to relieve themselves when they need it.
  • Changes in their routine: Dogs like routine, just like humans. So, let them rest more or less on the same schedule every day.
  • Silence: Pretty much any noise can stimulate a dog so they need a quiet place to rest. Otherwise, they’ll wake up with every little noise they hear and will try to tell you about it.
  • Feeding schedule: Don’t feed the dog between one and two hours before their bedtime. It’s harder to sleep on a full stomach.

Other reasons for nighttime restlessness

  • Don’t pay attention to them: If the dog approaches your bed or tries to get your attention from wherever they are, just endure it and don’t try to reassure them in any way. Otherwise, they won’t hesitate to wake you up every time they want your company. Yes, this is a tough one but rather necessary …
  • Excessive heat: Dogs have a tendency to overheat and won’t stop moving if the temperature is too high at home. They’ll just keep looking for a cooler place all night long. The noise they make with their claws when pacing around is enough to wake you up.

Obviously, each breed of dog reacts differently to different stimuli and you must remain patient. Always take positive measures with the animal and reward desirable behavior. For instance, if you act negatively and lock them up in a room where they don’t want to be, it’ll be harder for you both to get some sleep. Also, they’ll make a negative connection with it.

Follow this advice and you and your dog will be more at ease. Keep in mind that proper sleep is essential for you both.

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