How to Make a Dog Sleep (Quick Guide)

By Britt Kascjak

Does your dog struggle to fall asleep at night? Are you tired of your dog waking you up before your alarm by pacing or being restless?

Just like people, some dogs struggle with sleep.

Luckily, there are some great options, both medical and natural, to help your dog get a good night’s rest. Here are a few options that you may want to consider.

Why Does My Dog Fight Sleep?

The first step is to try to identify the reason your dog is having a hard time sleeping.

Allergies or Skin Problems

For some dogs, this could be the result of allergies or skin problems. These conditions cause intense itching which leaves your dog feeling incredibly uncomfortable.

Some potential triggers to consider include:

  • Food and treats
  • Environmental allergies (seasonal allergies)
  • Laundry detergent used to clean his bedding
  • Cleaning chemicals used in the area
  • Dry skin conditions

Many of these issues can be addressed directly. For example, you can try washing your dog’s bedding with a natural solution to see if that helps over time.

Choose one possible solution and give it time. If your chosen solution doesn’t work, move on to the next option.

Anxiety or Stress

Has something recently changed in your dog’s life that could be causing anxiety?

Big life changes can add stress to your dog’s life. This includes the loss of another pet, the addition of a new baby, or moving, among other things.

Just like people, an anxious dog may struggle to calm his mind enough to fall asleep.

Excess Energy

Is your dog a young puppy or a high-energy breed? If so, you simply may not be providing enough exercise during the day to meet your dog’s needs.

Herding breeds and working breeds, for example, were bred for endurance and stamina.

They need to be provided with a safe outlet for this energy. Otherwise, this pent-up energy can lead to a list of behavioral issues including insomnia.

Medical Concerns

There are some medical explanations for insomnia. This includes any condition that could cause pain or discomfort.

Consider making an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out these options.

How Can I Help My Dog Sleep at Night

Exercise Before Bed

Does your dog have a lot of pent-up energy regardless of how much your exercise during the day?

Try scheduling one last walk or game of fetch just before bed.

Immediately after being physically active, your dog will feel tired and in need of rest. This may be exactly what he needs to settle in for the night.

Create a Routine (and Stick to It)

Dogs thrive on routine. If your dog knows and can predict bedtime, he will start to wind down in anticipation.

Pay attention to the things you usually do right before going to bed.

Do you wash your face? Do you always have a hot tea before getting changed into your pajamas and retiring for the night?

These activities serve as cues for your dog. Create a routine that includes everything you need and stick to it closely night after night.

Designate a Sleeping Spot

Whether you are crate training your dog or simply using a bed as his place to sleep, decide on a sleeping spot. Whenever your dog is at this location, he is to be calm and relaxed.

You can set the environment with a warm blanket or his favorite cuddly plush toy.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. One dog may be struggling with more than one trigger. Be patient, make small changes, and you will benefit long-term.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.