Dogs, much like children, need a set routine in order to thrive, know what to expect, and feel secure within the parameters of their lives. This means feeding them their meals at around the same time each day, and generally, keeping to a rough schedule when it comes to the sort of time you put your dog to bed, or when the household naturally settles in for the night.
Part of the timings for your dog’s routine will be dictated by your lifestyle, and also, as a result of other parts of the routine itself-for instance, your dog will usually need to do their business with a certain regular frequency that matches their feeding schedule. However, every dog has slightly different needs, just as people do-in terms of their normal functions, such as how often they need to go to the toilet, and how much sleep they need.
When it comes to puppies, they are still growing and developing, and so their natural sleep patterns and other habits can be quite variable during their first year to 18 months of life, before they settle down into their adult routine. But for adult dogs, changes and fluctuations tend to be minor, or happen over a long period of time, rarely changing for no good reason.
If your adult dog seems to be very active at night, or you wake up in the night aware that your dog is moving about or otherwise not asleep like everyone else, this can be a pain if it keeps waking you up, as well as meaning that your dog’s sleep patterns might be changing, or not in balance.
In this article, we will look at some of the reasons why your dog might seem to spend large portions of the night awake or be active at night-and what to do about them. Read on to learn more.
Different dogs needs different amounts of exercise, and a dog that is very high energy like the Border collie of course needs more walks and exercise than a more sedentary dog breed like the greyhound.
If your dog’s activity levels aren’t well matched with the exercise they get, they will tend to be restless and over excitable, and potentially, have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep.
The first thing to do is up your dog’s daily exercise provision, and make sure that they do not spend so much of the day sleeping or doing nothing that they cannot sleep properly at night.
If your dog is getting enough exercise, their routine in terms of when you provide things like exercise, food and toileting opportunities can potentially lead to sleepless nights if it is not a good match for your dog.
Try to ensure that your dog gets a walk in the evening within a few hours of bedtime, and don’t feed them within a couple of hours of bedtime, to avoid them needing the loo in the middle of the night. Also, don’t forget to give your dog the chance to go outside to do their business just before bed too.
Being uncomfortable makes it hard to sleep, no matter how tired you are-and the same is true for your dog. If your dog’s bed is not comfortable, or if they are in a draught or otherwise too cold-perhaps if your heating goes off at night-your dog won’t sleep properly.
Think about where your dog’s bed is placed and what changes at night, and also, consider if your dog might need a new bed that is more suitable for their needs.
Adult dogs in good health and with a suitable routine generally go through the night for around eight hours without needing to get up to do their business, but there are some exceptions.
Think about when your dog has their meal and their last chance to go out-and if they might be restless at night because they need the toilet. Also, ensure that your dog isn’t expected to hold on for more than eight hours overnight.
Dogs get used to background noise and regular noises fairly quickly, but there are always things that might wake your dog up in the night, and cause them to get up and pace about. Perhaps it will be a car coming if you live on a very quiet road, or the sounds of the heating or boiler coming on at a predetermined time, or other household noises that occur in the night.
If your dog tends to wake up and pace about at around the same time each night, first of all see if they need the toilet, and then think about if there might be something that changes or happens at around that time each night that might wake them up.
If you are in pain or otherwise uncomfortable, it can be very hard to get to sleep and stay asleep. Even if your dog looks fine, they could be in pain or discomfort that you can’t see-potentially exacerbated by lying down or sleeping-so ask your vet to check your dog out.
Finally, as dogs get older, they go through a range of brain changes and a slow degeneration, as occurs in people. This may mean that your dog needs more or less sleep, or that their sleep patterns might become disrupted.
Again, talk to your vet about senior dog sleep changes and potential issues, and find out if there are ways in which you could help and support your dog as they get older.