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Sleep Guide for Dogs

A puppy sleeps nestled in covers clutching a teddy bear.

Sleep Guide for Dogs

A puppy sleeps nestled in covers clutching a teddy bear.

Like humans, dogs need sleep for optimum health. According to, most dogs clock about 12 hours (or more!) each day. Growing puppies—like human babies—will require even more sleep.

Many factors could keep your furry friend from getting that much needed rest. PetMD reports that too much excitement, a new environment, stress and health issues can all contribute to canine insomnia. Here is a quick sleep guide for dogs that addresses a few common issues that may keep your dog awake at night (or during the day!).

A dog hides under furniture to escape the noise of a storm.


Many dogs hate the sound of thunder. The booming noise terrifies them. Dogs have sensitive hearing, so noises that are annoying to us may just be terrifying to them. According to WebMD, there are theories that dogs may be shocked during storms as they are more sensitive to the electricity in the air that comes with storms.

What do you do when you notice your friend not sleeping during a storm? One of the tips from WebMD is to provide a cozy and secure hideaway for your pet. Your bed, under a chair, a crate or another favorite place may help soothe your friend’s fear. Add blankets and a favorite toy to help provide comfort.

You also can drown out the noise of the thunder with white noise. Play music, a calming sound or turn on a fan to try and hide the booming thunder.

Anxiety garments (vests, shirts, etc.) for stressful situations may help calm your friend, too. These are sold under various names and can be purchased at a pet store, on Amazon or just ask your vet. Vests or shirts use pressure to provide soothing support to your dog.

A New Environment

If you took your dog on vacation or moved to a new home, perhaps your friend just hasn’t adjusted to the new environment. Create a familiar environment by providing a place that feels like home. Be sure to take your dog’s bed, a favorite blanket and toy to help acclimate to new situations.

Exploring the new digs also may help your dog become acclimated to his/her new environment.  You also can try keeping your dog in your bedroom (in a crate or on a blanket on the floor) to soothe nerves. Some owners even let the dog sleep in their bed, but this could cause bad habits…so beware.

Life Changes

An owner on a business trip may leave a dog sad and longing for the missing friend. Any major change—or minor change, depending on the sensitivity of your dog—can mess with their world. Your vet may have some great suggestions on how to best adjust dogs during times of change, and don’t be surprised if the sleep cycles are a bit of a mess.

Again, try to provide a safe area where the dog feels comforted and secure. Reward good behaviors, and take your friend for extra walks or provide more attention. Dogs are a bit like us; they get sad when they miss their friends.

Too Much Energy

Uh oh. Did your dog miss the daily walk? Have you been gone longer than usual? Restlessness could just be a sign that your dog needs to exercise or play a bit more. Running out the energy could help them sleep. If you can’t go for a walk, you can play a game of indoor fetch. Just don’t break anything!

Petful suggests engaging your dog’s sniffer for a way to release energy. Hide treats or stimulate their sense of smell to help them get our their curiosity and their energy.

Pain Hurts Sleep

Unfortunately, your furry friend might not be able to rest because of discomfort. Are you noticing your dog chewing paws, scratching excessively or licking a wound? There could be physical culprits making your dog miserable and unable to sleep.

Itching could be fleas or skin allergies, but, regardless, red irritated skin needs to be treated. Your vet may suggest medication to help soothe those itchy areas.

Pain may be caused by an underlying condition or an injury. If you notice your dog whining, licking a wound, limping or exhibiting any signs of pain, you need to seek treatment. You don’t want your friend in pain and unable to rest.

When Sleep Issues Plague Your Pet

Dogs can have other sleep issues, too, including narcolepsy. This condition will leave your pooch falling asleep at random and unpredictable times. According to PetMD, narcolepsy cannot be cured but it can be treated.  If your furry friend is having severe sleep issues (too much or too little), the best advice is to call the vet. Your animal’s doctor can help pinpoint any underlying conditions and suggest remedies.

Dogs, like humans, need plenty of sleep to stay healthy. If your dog isn’t sleeping or sleeping too much, there could be a problem. If there isn’t an underlying medical condition, stress, environment changes or other issues may be the cause. Loud noises from storms or fireworks can be eased with white noise or dogs can be soothed with a pressure vest. In instances of anxiety or a new environment, providing a safe area with favorite toys also may put your dog at ease. If you’re at a loss for how to help your furry friend, call your vet for help and advice.

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