Dog Insomnia: Tips to Help a Restless Dog
If you think insomnia is solely a human issue, then you might be surprised to hear that it is not. Restless dogs can suffer from sleepless nights too, and dog insomnia can be as frustrating for pets as it is for humans. Remarkably, many of the reasons that humans suffer from insomnia are the same reasons that cause dogs to be unable to sleep.
Insomnia typically manifests in dogs as they age or as a result of a behavioral problem like anxiety or stress. The odd sleepless night can be completely normal, especially as dogs seem to spend a large part of the day snoozing. However, if you notice that your dog doesn’t seem to be sleeping properly for days on end, then it is something that you want to address as soon as possible.
Causes of Insomnia in Dogs
Dog insomnia could be triggered many things, including separation anxiety and even depression. Understandably, if your dog is not well or if they’re in pain, then it makes sense that they may be having trouble sleeping. Additionally, as your dog isn’t able to tell you what’s wrong, insomnia in dogs can be an indication of an underlying issue—one of the most common being arthritis or an injury that might not be immediately apparent. Stress and anxiety will also contribute to the lack of sleep in dogs. If your dog seems to be in perfect health physically, then it is likely that there is an emotional issue that is keeping them up at night.
If you have recently moved or you have only just adopted your dog and brought him home, then you need to allow them to settle into their surroundings so they can fully relax. Don’t forget that a dog’s hearing is especially sensitive, so any unfamiliar noise can cause them to remain alert and guarded.
Canine insomnia can also be a result of lack of exercise, particularly in high-energy dogs. Their pent-up energy can easily convert into frustration and anxiety that prevents them from being able to sleep.
How to Help a Restless Dog with Insomnia
Regardless of the cause of your dog’s insomnia, sleep is essential to all living beings, so here are some tips to help a restless dog have a good night’s sleep.
Implement an Exercise Routine
Dogs lead relatively simple lives, and their goals and joys of life are not very complex to learn and understand once we become more ‘in tune’ with our individual dog. They look forward to mealtimes, playtime, and, of course, walks! When you think about how often you walk your dog from this point of view, you can understand just how important exercise is for them and it is something that they will crave all day until it happens.
This is exactly why implementing a daily routine can help you get their insomnia under control. If your dog is suffering from arthritis or is in their senior years, then you could replace physical exercise with less strenuous exercise and mental stimulation, like a game of hide and seek or fetch.
One of the most important things you can do to help your pet is to provide them with a healthy, fresh diet. Most pet parents will agree that feeding their pet high-quality food is important to them, and yet they continue to feed their pets dry kibble, not understanding the harm they’re doing to their pet’s long term health. Regrettably, a lot of pet parents look right past what we’re feeding our pets when health issues arise.
Related: Transitioning to Raw Feeding
Full Spectrum Hemp (CBD)
“Insomnia is often due to some type of chemical imbalance. CBD helps bring it back into balance.”- Dr. Zac Pilossoph
CBD oil for dogs is a natural, safe alternative to sleep aids for dogs. CBD has been shown to manage symptoms like anxiety and stress effectively and will also help with any underlying pain, like arthritis, that could be keeping your dog awake. A case study on “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep” stated that “At the first monthly assessment after the start of CBD, 79.2% (57/72) and 66.7% (48/72) of all patients experienced an improvement in anxiety and sleep, respectively.”
We recommend our CALM: CBD Oil for Dogs for restless dogs, formulated with Full Spectrum Hemp Extract and lavender essential oil, to help manage dog anxiety and stress.
Related: CBD Dosage for Dogs
Provide a Calm Sleep Environment
If you have ever had an argument in front of your dog, then you will know exactly what effect this can have on him. Dogs will always pick up on emotions and they are highly affected by loud noise or tension. If your dog is having trouble sleeping, then you can provide some relief by ensuring that the space they sleep in is calm, quiet and safe.
You could also try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to their bedding to help them relax. Their bed should be inviting and comfortable, so if your dog suffers from arthritis you could consider investing in an orthopedic dog bed to make them more comfortable—and, of course, give them lots of soothing strokes and reassurance in the lead up to bedtime.
Final Thoughts on Dog Insomnia
Usually, dog insomnia isn’t any more serious than it is in humans. However, you should always consult your veterinarian if your dog is exhibiting any unusual behavior that could indicate something more sinister. For example, crying during the night or struggling to stand up or lie down is a clear indication of pain. Symptoms such as bedwetting, excessive panting, and constant pacing should also warrant a trip to the vet. When it comes to your pets, it is always better to be safe than sorry. So, if you are in doubt about the cause of your restless dog’s insomnia, then make sure you get a professional opinion to put your mind at rest. Then, you can move on to other options once you have the medical clearance from your veterinarian.