If you’re a dog owner, you are already aware of how much fun and affection they can bring to your home. They help reduce anxiety, depression and even ease our loneliness. However, things can turn the other way round if your dog becomes restless at night. An anxious dog can affect your sleep routine as well. Let us first understand what causes this restlessness before we look for some solutions.
Why do dogs get restless?
Young puppies are bound to be anxious when you separate them from their mothers and other puppies. Living in new surrounding can make them anxious, and they may continue to whine through the night.
Older dogs can also become anxious if you have recently shifted homes or if there is some other change in their routine. If your pet is suffering from some ailment, this may cause your pet to pace around and reposition himself again and again during the night.
When your dog gets older, there are numerous physiological changes in his body. He may begin to lose his eyesight and hearing. This loss of their faculties may severely affect his ability to sleep soundly. As your dog ages, the control of his bladder also lessens. So, take him out for a bathroom break late in the night, just before he sleeps. This may help him sleep better.
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Pain could be the reason behind the restlessness of your dog. While he may have got distracted from his pain during the day, at night the pain can become the focus of his attention. He can be in pain for a number of different reasons like some injury, bug bites, arthritis or even cancer. You must take him to a vet to rule out these causes.
Allergies and skin problems
The itching caused by allergies can make your dog continue to scratch through the night and keep you awake as well. The weather, food or even the shampoo you use for him could be the reason for your pet’s allergies. Wash your pet’s bedding regularly and use a mild shampoo that does not cause dryness to the skin. Your vet can prescribe some medicines to ease the itching.
Older dogs can get dementia or Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD). The most common sign of dementia in dogs is restless sleep. You must visit the vet to determine if your pet is suffering from dementia. In such cases, medicine can ease the symptoms. ‘
The vet may also suggest some changes in your pet’s sleep routine like a fixed time for bed and playing soothing music till he sleeps.
Lack of activity
Your pet needs to expend his energy during the day. If you don’t take your dog out for walks or play with him, he could have a severe build-up of unused energy. This can make him restless and anxious during the night.
Obesity in your dog can have numerous adverse effects on his health. An overweight pet is at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea. This condition causes the walls of the throat to narrow during sleep and can cause breathing difficulties. Maintaining the appropriate body weight for your dog is essential.
Remedies for restlessness
Whether it is a young pup or an older dog that is suffering from restless nights, you must get him checked by a vet to rule out any severe medical conditions. If it is a medical issue, ensure that your dog takes the medicines correctly to cure the problem to help him sleep better.
If its other ageing problems like loss of hearing and eyesight that is making him anxious, create a more soothing environment for your pet to help him sleep better. Shift him to a room that is dark and quiet.
For a pup, sounds like a ticking clock or running water may help soothe him and get him to sleep.
Ensure that your dog gets enough exercise during the day to make sure that he sleeps well during the night. This will help him get rid of all the excess energy and help reduce stress. This exercise is also essential for your dog’s overall health. A fit dog will have lesser ailments like diabetes and heart conditions.
If exercise does not help your dog sleep, you can go for some calming aids. Though these are easy to find, it is better to get the approval of your vet before you use them.
Now that you know the various reasons why your dog may be finding it difficult to sleep, it is time to visit the vet to find the solution to the problem. If it is not a medical issue make sure your dog gets plenty of exercises that keep him fit and helps him get rid of all the excess energy.