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Getting your dog to sleep will be good for everyone around so it wouldn’t be strange to ask, “What can I give my dog to sleep at night?” If your dog isn’t sleeping at night then you’re probably not sleeping too. Either they’ll keep climbing up on your bed and trying to get you to stay awake with them. If you lock them in another room, they’ll most likely just start barking and then that’ll wake everyone and probably even the neighbors.
Why Isn’t My Dog Sleeping at Night?
First, we have to understand why they’re awake because sometimes it can be fixed without having to give them anything to make them sleep. Your dog’s inability to fall asleep could be caused by any of the following reasons:
Changes in Environment: Drastic environmental changes will introduce new sights, sounds, and smells and these changes can be overwhelming for them. Even if you didn’t move to a new house, a lot of unusual sounds or smells can lead to them being unable to sleep. If you’ve just adopted a dog, they’re very likely to have this problem but they’ll get used to the environment after a while.
Sadness: Dogs can feel grief as much as us and something like the loss of a family member or a toy they really like can make them really sad.
Changes in their Routine: Dogs like routines and schedules and sudden changes can leave them confused and unhappy. Very small changes won’t have any major effects but If you’ve not been around as much lately and you’re now feeding them later than usual, it might lead to strange behavioral responses from them. If there are any major changes in your schedule it directly affects them and you have to deal with them carefully.
Age: When dogs get older, they start developing pains in their joints and these can keep them awake and can even lead to late-night barking. Illnesses like Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) that affect older dogs can lead to disruption in their sleeping patterns or make it difficult to fall asleep at all. If they start showing signs of discomfort and pains you should take them to the veterinarian for treatment to help manage their condition.
Illness: If your dog is feeling ill, the pains and discomfort will usually keep them awake. There’s no way for them to tell you what’s wrong directly so they might also end up barking at night and might become restless. If you notice any signs of illness you should take them to see the veterinarian.
Anxiety: If they feel stressed, they’ll find it hard to go to sleep. They might become restless and will end up exhibiting other strange behaviors like pacing, hiding, licking the floor or other surfaces excessively. It could be caused by a lot of issues that usually involve schedule or environment changes but it could be that they aren’t comfortable with people that come around usually or the presence of new pets.
Nightmares: Dogs can have nightmares and these are usually triggered by some sort of trauma like a loss or anxiety.
Lack of Exercise: Not getting enough exercise can make them sad and it will also leave them with a lot of energy and they won’t be able to sleep at night. They’ll just end up running around and might start barking in an attempt to use up all that energy.
Loneliness: If you don’t spend enough time with them during the day the loneliness can really get to them and feeling neglected will also trigger strange behaviors like staying up at night and barking excessively at night too.
Sleep Apnea: For breeds with smaller noses like Bulldogs and Pugs, the airflow might be restricted while they’re sleeping. When they stop breathing, they’ll usually wake up immediately as a natural response. This can also happen when your dog is obese because fatty tissue might collapse and block their airways while they’re sleeping. This is really severe and symptoms like very loud snoring accompany it. If you notice this visit your veterinarian immediately.
What Can I Give My Dog to Sleep at Night?
Melatonin can serve as a sedative to help calm your dogs. This helps to improve the mood of your dogs and help in relieving anxiety. If they’re restless and hyperactive it can help to calm them down. Unlike a lot of supplements used to treat humans, melatonin is safe for dogs but it should be given in the right amounts. If your dog has any medical conditions you should talk to your veterinarian first before giving them melatonin.
What is The Proper Dosage of Melatonin for Dogs?
It’s recommended that you introduce melatonin gradually and then you can increase their dosage if the need arises. The dosage depends on the size of your dog. Any dog less than 10 lbs (4.54 kg) should not take more than 1 mg. Dogs above 10 lbs but less than 25 lbs (11.34 kg) should take 1.5 mg and then dogs more than 25 lbs but less than 100 lbs (45.36 kg) should take 3 mg. Any dog over 100 lbs can take 3 to 6 mg. It comes in the form of liquid, powder, tablets or capsules and they don’t need to eat first before taking them.
You should not give them melatonin more than three times every day and it usually starts taking effect within the first 10 minutes. The effects will last for about 8 hours if you give them the right dosage so most people will give it to their dogs just before they go to bed. You should talk to your veterinarian so they can make sure melatonin won’t cause any harm and they can give you more advice.
Does Melatonin Have Any Side Effects?
Dogs might have some side effects if given excess melatonin. However, the lack of common side effects makes it the best choice for calming your dogs. Some side effects that might show up are gastrointestinal upsets, itching, confusion, and an increased heart rate (tachycardia). If you notice any of these side effects even if you’ve been giving your dogs the proper dosage, make sure you contact your veterinarian immediately.
You should also make sure there are no added ingredients like xylitol that are toxic to them or any other harmful ingredients. Some other medications can lead to harmful side effects when combined with melatonin and it might make some medical conditions worse. You should ask your veterinarian for advice on when and how to give melatonin to your dogs. Also, puppies and pregnant dogs should not be given melatonin.
How Else Can I Get My Dog to Sleep at Night?
Most of the issues mentioned above can be fixed by things as simple as setting up schedules that they can get used to and spending more time with them and letting them get more exercise. If they just like playing at midnight you shouldn’t encourage them with attention. Just ignore them and if they try to disturb you, you should discipline them and soon they’ll learn that you don’t like it when they disturb you at night.
Playing with them a little or giving them massages before bed can also help to release some of that energy and calm their nerves. You could also try moving them to a room away from the road or introducing a white noise machine to try to drown out external noise so no sounds from outside will wake them when they fall asleep.
You could also play slow and calm music but make sure the volume isn’t too high and darkening the room can also help. If it’s an illness that’s causing it then you should speak to your veterinarian so they can help. For cases like extreme anxiety or a mental issue like CCD, they’ll be in the best position to recommend medication and treatment methods and if it isn’t that serious, they can recommend supplements to calm them and help them sleep.
If your dog isn’t sleeping it could be a result of underlying issues that can be easily fixed but if it’s a result of an illness then you should see your veterinarian for help and it’s best if they’re the one that recommend the use of melatonin or any other supplement to help your dog sleep.