You toss and turn throughout the night and wake up with dark circles under your eyes the next morning…and the reason? It’s your dog’s insomnia again. Has this ever happen to you? If the answer is yes, then you know what we’re talking about. The reasons for these sleepless nights usually vary depending on the cause, although one thing is for sure: when your dog doesn’t sleep, you don’t either.
So let’s find out more about the reasons behind your pooch’s insomnia, and what you can do to treat it.
The Root of the Behavior
Your pup refuses to settle at night and you have no idea why this is happening. Should you pay a visit to the vet, can it wait until morning or …do you address the issue at the moment? First of all, consider the fact that there are a lot of conditions that can influence your dog’s unusual behavior. Let’s start with your dog’s age. If you’re the proud owner of a brand new puppy, don’t be surprised if he’s struggling to fall asleep the first night. He needs time to adjust to his new home environment and the new people in his life. So no wonder he’s barking, whining, and relentlessly scratching the crate. It’s his personal way of expressing his loneliness and anxiety due to separation and change.
Maybe he just needs to pee? This is also common in young pups, as their bladder is too small to hold the urine all night long. To give you a practical example, a three-month-old puppy can hold his urine for about four hours. So consider this fact before getting too alarmed or upset with the situation, and try crate training your puppy instead. In some cases, dogs will stay awake due to certain allergies and skin problems, causing them to scratch uncontrollably throughout the night. Environmental allergies, contact allergies, food allergies, or even dry skin can very well be another reason for your dog’s insomnia.
What about when your dog suddenly wakes up after sleeping like a baby for several hours? This may happen if he is suffering from arthritis or other painful conditions, such as canine heart disease, congestive heart failure, or a gastrointestinal problem. A visit to the vet will help clarify the situation, since these conditions are usually associated with other symptoms such as restlessness, coughing, labored breathing, and so on.
Encouraging the Behavior
Before you get all terrified about your dog’s health, think about the reasons behind his behavior. Is he a scared little pup suffering from youthful anxiety, does he suffer from food allergies, do you have common critters in your house or does he have too much energy from spending most of his day sleeping?
As soon as you identify the problem, you can address it properly so that the both of you can get back to sleep in no time. Why not put his crate near your bed to help him cope with his loneliness and reassure him of your presence? Think of it as a temporary solution to the issue, as he will eventually grow out of it. If he needs to urinate, make sure you take him out to do so, right before you go to bed. If you’re at work all day and there’s no one at home to entertain him, you could hire a pet sitter or a dog walker to tire him out and provide companionship during the day. If you suspect your dog is suffering from a medical condition, the best thing to do is take him to the vet and have him examined.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Do you think your house is infested with critters? Then you shouldn’t wonder why your pup is up all night long. Dogs have an acute sense of smell and hearing, which is why he might be reacting to noises you cannot sense. He will be barking, whining and pacing because of the frustration of not being able to hunt down the critter.
Make sure you call a pest inspector to come by and check to see if that could be the cause of your dog’s insomnia. With the help of your vet, you can figure out the reason behind his behavior and make changes in your dog's lifestyle, accordingly.
Make sure your dog gets the right amount of sleep he needs during the night by following these simple recommendations. Your vet may also be able to suggest environmental changes to your pup’s daily routine so that both you and your little furry friend can get the best sleep possible. So good night and don’t let the bed bugs…bark.