Dogs require plenty of sleep in order to remain healthy and active, yet can become easily distracted by noises, changes to their routine, or an unfamiliar sleeping area.
To help your pup relax and rest easier at night, use some easy techniques to create the ideal sleep environment.
Let’s find out how to make a dog sleep better!
Establish a Bedtime Routine
As with you, your dog needs restful nights’ rest too. A consistent bedtime schedule will help them know when it is time for restful slumber. Adjustments may need to be made at first as your pup adjusts, but over time this routine will become second nature for both of you.
Feed your dog at the same time every night before placing him/her into their bed to help teach them it’s time for sleep and make both you and them easier to doze off faster. Also give your pup time outside prior to bedtime so their bladder and bowels can empty naturally – this way your pup won’t wake you up during the night needing relief!
If your dog is continually waking during the night, it’s essential to identify why. In most cases, it could be related to lack of exercise and pent-up energy; if they get enough physical activity during their daily walk and you restrict their food consumption before bed, they should be exhausted enough to sleep through the night without issue.
Puppies burn up a lot of energy as young animals, and need proper rest and sleep in order to grow properly. If your pup is awake at night, consult your veterinarian who can identify what may be causing the issue and suggest treatments to resolve it.
Help your dog sleep sounder by providing them with their own space to rest at night, such as a comfortable crate or dog bed. Although it’s natural for dogs to want to share your bed when sleeping alone, doing so will only disturb your own REM cycle and can even promote undesirable behaviors like excessive scratching and licking.
Give Your Dog a Massage
Have you experienced the soothing and relaxing benefits of professional massage? While finding one for your dog might not always be feasible, a bit of self-massage may go a long way toward helping him or her relax and settle into sleep more easily.
Before initiating a massage session with your dog, make sure they are calm and prepared. Otherwise, the experience may not be as beneficial – or may even backfire and have adverse reactions. If they appear anxious or restless before trying a massage session, try taking them on a walk or engaging them in other activities to calm them before beginning massage therapy sessions.
Once your dog is relaxed, begin by gently petting and stroking him all over to accustom them to being touched and relaxed. Next, use gentle circular motions on their body – starting from their chest (where it won’t feel invasive), working up their neck area until reaching their ears – many dogs love this touch and lean into being petted here! Finally, gently stroke their legs and paws while being careful not to put too much pressure on bones or joints.
As you progress with the massage, be mindful of any areas that appear more sensitive or painful than usual and adjust accordingly. Any signs that your dog seems sick could indicate illness or an injury is present – an unusual response could indicate something serious is going on with them.
Ruthig suggests consulting your vet for tips and techniques that may make massaging your dog more comfortable, with some offering in-office pet massage services that allow your canine to become familiar with this sensation.
Massage sessions for dogs aren’t only relaxing; they also allow you to gain insight into their bodies and how they react, giving you an idea of what’s normal for their individual dog and enabling you to detect changes more quickly should something arise that requires medical attention.
Create a Quiet Environment
Dogs can be highly sensitive creatures, so it is essential that you provide them with a soothing environment in which to sleep. Offering them an appropriate bed with soft bedding such as blankets or towels to cuddle up in will make them feel at home, while adding some low lighting in the room may help set a relaxing ambiance and may aid in soothing them down. Avoid loud music or other forms of distractions in their bedroom and keep their door shut as much as possible to reduce noise or movement outside if your pup suffers from fear of the outside world!
Many people find a white noise machine helpful for masking any distracting sounds, which may be especially beneficial if your dog suffers from noise phobia or sleep issues.
Dogs, as pack animals, tend to seek comfort from feeling connected with their owners while sleeping. Some will even reach out their paw and touch them during the night if needed; if your pup seems anxious or stressed out and trying to climb into bed with you at nighttime this could be a telltale sign that more attention from you may be necessary.
Senior dogs tend to struggle sleeping through the night due to sore muscles and joint pain, while younger dogs can often become restless after active days playing and exercising. Both these factors can contribute to decreased quality sleep for both humans and pets alike.
Massages offer a relaxing environment to ease sore muscles that prevent your dog from sleeping through the night, increasing energy levels and improving mobility in subsequent days.
While extra attention from you may be rewarding for your pup, too much affection could prevent him or her from sleeping well at night. Try keeping cuddle sessions to a minimum in the hours leading up to bedtime and keep cuddling sessions brief.
Give Your Dog a Treat
Many dogs gain much of their energy from play and exercise throughout the day, which means when bedtime rolls around they may need a helping hand to relax into restful slumber. Try playing an energetic game of tug or tossing a Frisbee multiple times throughout the evening before your pup settles in for bed – this will tire them out, providing energy-sapping sleepiness!
An environment conducive to sleep for your pup is also key in helping him or her rest soundly. Aim to keep the lights dimmed in their sleeping area, avoid TV and other distracting screens such as smartphones, and create an environment free of white noise machines and radio stations with lower volumes – such as white noise machines or radio stations on low volumes – can all contribute towards creating an ideal sleeping spot for their pet.
Give your pup a treat before bedtime to associate this ritual with sleep, encouraging calmness and reminding them they’ll soon receive something in exchange for all their efforts of the evening. Many dogs also enjoy chewing on calming snacks like those made from Acetyl L-Carnitine, Magnolia Flower Oil, St John’s Wart or Barberry plus CBD to relax them as part of their bedtime snack ritual.
If your dog sleeps all day while you’re at work and then seems unable to settle at night, they could be exhausted from too much play or exercise during the day, poor diet, illness or stress, aging or just plain old boredom. In such an instance, speaking with your veterinarian could help relax them more and improve the quality of their restful slumber.
if you have tried everything possible to put your dog to bed at night and are still being awakened by its loud whimpers, perhaps crating them during the night may help them feel safer and secure; most dogs sleep soundly once their stomachs have been full and bladders emptied out.