We all know that a good night’s sleep can help how we feel throughout the day. So, just like us, ensuring our dogs get the right amount of sleep can benefit both their physical and mental health. Helping to regenerate cells, support cognition and keep the immune system strong, sleep is just as vital as diet in keeping your pet happy and healthy.
Does your dog struggle to settle and keep you up at night? Well, there could be some simple solutions to eradicate your dog’s unease during the night and give both of you the vital twenty winks you need when the sun goes down. So, with pet health at the forefront of our ethos, here’s our top ten sleeping tips that every dog owner should know.
Stick to a Routine
For all parents out there, establishing a routine in the first few years of your child’s life is key to ensuring bedtime is calm, relaxed and as stress-free as possible. Just like their tiny human counterparts, dogs require the same level of routine during their development and training to establish a calm and cosy bedtime. Creatures of habit, dogs thrive on routine so establish a bedtime and wakeup time and stick to it – even on the weekends.
Could you imagine falling asleep without a comfortable bed and blankets? Creating a cosy and comfortable sleeping area for your dogs is vital to giving them a safe and secure sanctuary where they can unwind after a hard day of play and stimulation. Keep your dog’s sleeping area clean, draft and dust-free as an unkept sleeping area can attract unwanted pests like bed bugs and dust mites – nasty for your dog’s skin and fur. If your dog doesn’t sleep with you, place their bed and sleeping area in a cool, quiet and dark room where they can settle without any distractions or disturbance.
Regular exercise and stimulation are vital to calming your dog in the evening. Dogs who do not go out on regular walks and are unexercised throughout the day are more likely to exhibit attention-seeking or even destructive behaviours to get their owner’s attention for playtime. If your dog is left at home during the day whilst you are at work, try and exercise your dog before you go to work but give them a longer and more cardio-intense workout in the evening such as a run or game of fetch.
However, what is really important is that you exercise your dog either prior or a minimum of 1-2 hours after their evening meal. For intense exercises like fetch, dogs who have just eaten can accidentally twist their stomachs when play is introduced after food – an irreversible and often fatal health issue and one that is easily avoided.
Exercising your dog for the right amount each day can help reduce their activity at night keeping them calm, relaxed and ready for bed.
Limit Food & Water Throughout the Night
A dog’s digestive system works much quicker than ours and they tend to digest food at a faster rate than us humans. Therefore, avoiding feeding your pet just before bedtime reduces the likelihood, they will need the bathroom or have digestive discomfort whilst they are attempting to sleep. Provide water during the day and during the night but encourage drinking and hydration throughout the day. Increased thirst and water intake can indicate health issues, so it is always best to discuss any changes in your dog’s drinking with their veterinarian. Reducing their water intake at night can help alleviate any accidents or need to go to the bathroom disturbing both us and them in the process.
Keep Your Dog Cool
With warmer weather just around the corner, creating a cosy and cool sleeping environment can help reduce the likelihood of your dog overheating at night. Dogs are unable to regulate their body temperatures so provide a cool space for your dog to sleep. Provide them with a fan, cool mat or a small damp towel to help keep them cool and calm. However, ensure your dog isn’t exposed to extremely cold temperatures as this can have a negative impact and leave your dog vulnerable to coughs and colds.
Use Soothing Sounds
For those who choose for their dogs to sleep in an alternative room to their own, creating a safe and stress-free environment is easier than you think. Adding a radio or sound system to play soothing sounds like classical music or even white noise machines designed specifically for dogs can help alleviate any stress and help your furry friend drop into a deep and dreamful sleep.
Supporting your dog’s mental health can help contribute to a healthier and happier pup. Anxiety is one of the primary reasons dogs suffer from disturbances during the night so helping to keep them calm and anxiety-free can help support their health more than ever. Try adding calming sprays to their sheets and blankets before bedtime or adding calming supplements and treats to their daily diet to relax both their brains and bodies when the sun goes down.
Address Medical Issues
Any changes to your dog’s behaviour, even at night, should be discussed with their vet. If you notice your dog visiting the bathroom more or having accidents during the night could be a sign of an undiagnosed issue such as diabetes which will need to be addressed with their veterinarian as soon as possible. Dogs with flat faces or known as brachycephalic breeds are more susceptible to respiratory problems due to a narrowed windpipe reducing the amount of oxygen, they intake. Monitor your dog during the night if they are a flat-faced breed and consult your vet if you have any concerns.
Consider a Crate
Is your dog destructive during the night? Do you know more accidents during the night? Well, investing in a crate could be the solution to destructive and attention-seeking behaviour. Providing your dog with a create can reduce the likelihood of your pooch wandering around at night and keep them calm, safe and secure when the lights go out.
Our final tip for helping to ensure your dog sleeps better each and every night is the power of patience. Throughout any episodes of training or establishing a routine, it is vital for you to stay positive and patient with your dog. Dogs will always respond more effectively to positive reinforcement than negative punishment so if your dog is taking a little longer to stick to their new bedtime routine – be patient and realise that it will take time but when the time is right your dog will master exactly what you want them to do.
So, with our top tips to help to give both you and your dog the night sleep you deserve, make some simple changes to their daily routine and before you know it you will both get the twenty winks and the rest and relaxation each and every night.