As man’s best friend, there’s no denying that dogs are loyal creatures. But if their need for attention stems into the night, it isn’t particularly helpful to your sleeping pattern. We all know a good night’s sleep can be difficult enough without the incessant sound of your dog crying into the early hours. So, for a quiet night, here are a couple of tips and tricks you can try to help your dog sleep.
Understanding your dog’s sleeping cycle
Like most animals, dogs follow a polyphasic sleep cycle. What this means is that they sleep multiple times around the clock, as you’ll have noticed after the many daytime naps. According to Petful, adult dogs sleep 12-14 hours a day on average, so if you find they’re kipping for the duration of the day, it’s unlikely they’ll remain asleep overnight for the 8 hours you do. While you can’t control your dog’s napping while you’re away at work, there are some measures you can take to make them more likely to doze during bedtime.
1. Set up a routine
Keeping things consistent day to day helps your dog to recognise when it’s time for bed. Try to take them on walk at around the same time each day, preferably before and after you go to work. The same applies with meals, feeding your dog a few hours before bed will help him or her digest the food comfortably. While it may be a bit more difficult to get timings right on weekends, try and stick to your routine as closely as possible.
Just before you and your pet hit the hay, keep the hour before bedtime as relaxed as possible. Avoid excessive treats or exciting activity. Most importantly, ensure your dog does his business just before bed, so he won’t be needing the toilet again come 3am.
2. Give your dog plenty of exercise
Similarly to tiring out energetic children, exercising your dog throughout the day can lead to a night of uninterrupted rest. Depending on their breed or size, your dog should spend a minimum of half an hour to 2 hours a day exercising. Generally, the bigger the dog, the more exercise they’ll need. A long walk a few hours before bed is a great way to ensure a good night’s sleep for the two of you.
3. Don’t share your bed
Like consistency with dinner time, it’s helpful for your dog to go to the same bed every night. So that he can recognise when it’s time to sleep. While it may be tempting to take your furry friend to bed with you, sharing your bed with your pet can have a negative impact on your sleep quality.
Studies show that 63% of pet owners who share their bed with their four-legged friend experience poor sleep. Despite the obvious sleep disruptions through movement and possible barking, sharing your bed with your dog increases the risk of skin infections and has terrible effects for those with asthma or allergies. It’s also more difficult for your dog to sleep, if you’re tossing and turning throughout the night, he or she most likely will be as well.
Related: Why Do Some Dogs Snore So Badly?
4. Consider their sleeping environment
As well as ensuring they’re not snoozing on your sheets, it’s helpful to make sure they’ve got a comfortable place to sleep. A good quality dog’s bed accompanied with a warm blanket will help your dog sleep in no time. It may also help to have a low sound nearby to help your dog drift off. For example, a clock that can offer a rhythmic ticking sound, or white noise from the radio. Also, do your best to reduce loud outside noise or excess lighting in the room they’re sleeping in.
5. Check out any medical conditions
If your dog is still struggling to snooze, it might be worth considering any underlying medial conditions. This might be the case if it’s an older dog that hasn’t usually had problems with sleeping. Take your dog to the vet and discuss any changes in their behaviour, appetite, movement and sleeping pattern. Some medication may then be in order to help your dog sleep.
How do you help your dog sleep at night? Let us know any additional tips in the comments!