Humans can often have trouble sleeping and experience insomnia for a variety of reasons. But did you know that your dog can also experience sleep problems like pacing, panting, pawing at objects or not being able to settle down? And just like humans, if your four-legged best friend is restless at night, it could be a sign of other health issues.
Insomnia in dogs is usually a short-lived problem that subsides once the underlying issues are addressed. Don’t try to ignore the problem in hopes that it goes away by itself; your dog’s insomnia may provide important clues about their health and emotional well-being.
If your dog is restless at night, here are some things you might want to look at:
Their diet - If you’ve changed the type or brand of food they eat recently, your dog might be experiencing an upset stomach or gas that is causing them gastrointestinal discomfort and causing them to be restless. If their stomach appears to be bloated, take them to the vet immediately.
Feeding them too late - Feeding your dog too late in the day or at night may be causing them some discomfort internally. Try feeding them earlier or just once a day in the morning.
They are scared or anxious - Your dog may have had a scare recently or something else is happening that is causing your dog anxiety (like noises from outside, critters under the house, an attack by another animal, etc.). Also consider if you’ve just moved into a new home can impact your dog’s routine and overwhelm them with new smells and sounds. Fear and anxiety causes the release of hormones which trigger the fight or flight response and put your dog in a heightened state of alertness. Try playing soothing music or an anxiety vest.
Wants to sleep near you - This situation may be as simple as your pup wanting to sleep in the same room with you. If your dog does not usually stay in the room with you, try letting them stay in the room with you so they will feel safer.
Aches and pains - As dogs age, they are like humans and may have a harder time getting to sleep. An once they finally get to sleep, it’s actually less sleep than they used to get. Senior dogs also start to feel a little bit of joint and muscle soreness. If your dog is acting restless and is not really a puppy anymore, getting into their golden years may be the culprit. Try some joint relief supplements to see if that eases the soreness and helps them sleep. They might also has a hot spot and be scratching. Try a good shampoo and some itch relief products.
They need more exercise - Your dog may be restless at night because they’re not getting a chance to burn off all that energy during the day. If you’re not taking your dog for walks, letting them run about outside, or engaging them enough when they are outside so that they’re actively running around, they may just have all this extra energy that is keeping them from sleeping. Consider hiring a pet sitter or a dog walker to tire them out and provide companionship during the day. Doggy day care is another option.