We all understand the importance of a good night’s sleep, but did you know that a lack of sleep can affect your dog’s physical and mental health? From puppies to Golden Oldies, sleep is vital for keeping your pet’s body in tip-top shape helping to manage the immune system, muscle repair and cognition.
Whether you have a new set of furry paws or have spent your life caring for four-legged friends, there are many ways we can learn to relax our dogs, helping them stay calm and anxiety-free and help them rest better when the night draws in. From increased exercise in the day to amazing aromatherapy, here’s the ways you can support your dog to a better night’s sleep.
Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
Creating a comfortable sleeping environment is one of the best ways to calm your dog and help them sleep better. Just like us humans, a comfy bed and snuggly blankets can help relax our bodies and help us sink so easily into a good night’s sleep. For those with new puppies and deciding to crate them during bedtime, ensure the crate is full of soft furnishings like a soft bed, a blanket and their favourite toy to reduce the anxiety of separation.
a room that is dark, quiet and separated from the main areas of the house can help prevent any excessive stress caused by strangers in the room, door knocks or even if you have little humans around the home. Controlling temperature can also help aid relaxation. Rooms that are too hot pose a problem for our pooches as dogs cannot regulate their body temperature often overheating. If you notice your dog excessively panting during bedtime, open a window, move their bed away from any direct heating and move into a cooler and more aerated room.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
From their puppy years, dogs are healthier and happier when set routines and schedules each day. Whether that be food times or bedtimes repeated each night, this helps ease dogs’ anxiety keeping them calm and relaxed. During training and their development, set specific times for food, exercise and bedtime to help alleviate attention-seeking behaviour such as:
- Excessive barking
- Destructive chewing
- Urination in the house
One of the best ways to establish a healthy bedtime routine is to encourage your dog to sleep when you do. No matter, if your dog sleeps next to you or in their own separate room, ensuring your dog echoes your bedtime, will help keep them calmer, more relaxed and healthier than before.
To give your dog a little extra TLC during their bedtime routine, using essential oils can help relax your dog making them more likely to fall asleep when you do. Essential oils like lavender and chamomile are not only key to relaxation but they are super dog-friendly too! From shampoos to blanket sprays, adding aromatherapy to your dog’s nightly routine can help them fall into slumber with ease.
Reduce Their Anxiety
As mentioned above, essential oils and aromatherapy can significantly benefit your dog’s mental health, but you can also give your dog a little extra TLC in its diet. Calming treats with active ingredients like lavender and chamomile can help start the wind-down process during digestion after their evening meal. Spend quality time with your four-legged friend like an evening stroll or a quick play can help ease their anxiety and relax them when you all pop off to bed!
Consider Crate Training
If you have recently brought a new set of paws into your home, thoughts of bedtime training may be filling you with terror. No fear as many opt for crate training their pups to ease bad behaviours during the night. Adding a crate to your own bedroom or a quiet space can relax your furry friend into knowing that their sleeping space is secure and stress-free. What is important to remember is to buy a create significantly larger than your dog, so they have the space to move around and be comfortable without feeling constricted and claustrophobic.
Use Soothing Sounds
We all know that ocean waves, whale noises and sounds of the Amazon leave us feeling calm and relaxed. Well…did you know that music has the same effect on our dogs? A study conducted by Queen’s University, Belfast, researched showed the positive effect classical music had on dogs to aid with anxiety and stress. So, next time you are struggling to get your furry friend to settle when the sun goes down, try a bit of Mozart for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Address Medical Issues
If you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour such as increased urination, restlessness or respiratory struggles, it is always recommended to speak to your vet to rule out any significant medical issues. Diabetes in dogs may present as symptoms such as increased urination which might be most common during the night creating unease for your dog during bedtime. Keeping an eye on your dog’s behaviour and being aware of any changes can help decrease the development of medical issues before they become too problematic for your pooch.
There is no better tool to support your dog’s mental and physical health than patience. When it comes to our furry friends, it takes time to establish routines and behaviours so be patient and avoid frustration with bedtime routines. Avoid becoming frustrated and using negative reinforcement if your dog shows signs of attention-seeking behaviour during the night. This can reverse any hard work done and will increase the likelihood of bad behaviour later in life. Ensure you spend a little extra quality time with your dog during periods of training to strengthen your bond.
Sleep a Little Easier
Following the above tips can help work towards a healthy routine between you and your four-legged friend. Increasing physical stimulation during the day and creating a cosy corner are some of the wonderful ways you can all help to keep your dog relaxed and stress-free when night-time approaches. Adding calming treats to their daily diets can also aid their stress and allow your dog to slowly wind down after a hard day’s play. So, with some calming changes to your daily routine, you can have your dog catching those zzzs in no time.
Read more: 10 Sleeping Tips Every Dog Owner Should Know