Your dog has always been by your side. Day and night – no exceptions.
Until recently, something changed all of a sudden.
And just like that, your dog decided to sleep alone.
“Did I do something wrong?”,
“Is something going on with my dog?”
are some of the questions you might be asking yourself.
In this article, you’ll discover:
- If it has something to do with their ‘6th sense’.
- 17 reasons why your dog suddenly wants to sleep alone.
- Whether heart disease is a sign for choosing to sleep by themselves.
- And this is just the beginning…
Why does my dog suddenly want to sleep alone?
Your dog suddenly wants to sleep alone either because they’re aging, in pain, have heart problems, anxious, stressed, mourning, not used to you or not in the mood, not tired, they’ve grown, itching, or threatened. Or due to small space, they feel hot, their ‘6th sense’, or security.
17 reasons why your dog suddenly does not want to sleep with you
#1: Your dog is growing old
You may have been used to sleeping next to your pooch on your bed. They too, playfully jump on it as you engage in the ‘this-is-my-space-that’s-yours battle’.
This was all in the past when they were still energetic.
Now, the tables have turned.
Jumping on your bed is causing them trouble.
It is heartbreaking to see your pooch as they age… The once lively and naughty ‘life of the party’ now only has a few activities. Sleeping all day has become their new favorite – next to eating, of course.
What’s making it harder is seeing them feel uncomfortable. But you can’t understand why they are like that since they can’t tell you.
This is why as they grow older, it would be helpful if you pay attention to your pooch and check on them more often.
Signs that your fur baby is aging
- Horrible breath.
- Change in weight.
- Cloudy eyes or difficulty seeing.
- New lumps and bumps emerge.
- Incontinence of difficulty pooping.
- Slowing down or struggling to go around.
- Trouble seeing, hearing, or understanding their surroundings.
Behavioral and mental signs:
- Sleeping a lot.
- Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDDS) – Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDDS) – increased anxiety, increased barking, confusion or disorientation, fear of familiar people or objects, noticeable changes in activity level, house soiling (urinating or pooping inside), forgetting commands or cues that they once knew, changes in sleep-wake cycle (being restless, pacing/walking back and forth at night), repetitive or compulsive behaviors (staring, polydipsia or excessive drinking, sucking, licking, or chewing on objects).
A study was performed among 180 senior dogs (aged 11 to 16 years old) from the University of California, Davis. It identified the occurrence of age-related impairment.
It revealed that visual and hearing dysfunction increases with age. They also found that 68% of 15-16-year-old dogs have lost their sight while 97% have hearing loss.
Another research shows that it’s common for old dogs to suffer from age-related degeneration of muscles. Such as osteoarthritis and sarcopenia.
Osteoarthritis is a joint disorder that often affects the hands, feet, hips, and spine.
While sarcopenia is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function among aging dogs. This physical pain limits their movements and makes them uninterested in play.
#2: Your dog has a heart problem
Your pooch suddenly wants to sleep alone since they are unwell.
One reason for this might be heart disease.
This can affect one or both sides of the heart. In some cases, you won’t notice it as it may take years to progress.
But early detection can prevent your dog from having congestive heart failure. It’s when their heart finds it hard to pump blood to their body.
You might be wondering what its causes are.
Here are the culprits of heart disease in dogs:
- Old age.
- They are born with a heart defect.
Below are the signs that your dog has heart problems.
- Easily tired.
- Breathing difficulty.
- Trouble exercising.
- Coughing more than usual.
- Pacing before bedtime, restless.
- Increased respiratory rate (counted by breaths per minute).
Progressive signs (worsening):
- Swollen belly due to fluid buildup.
- Fainting due to blocked blood flow to the brain.
- Weight loss since your dog loses the ability to store fat.
- Change in tongue or gum color to bluish-gray because of lack of oxygen.
How to manage
If you notice your dog showing the signs mentioned, it is best to take them to a vet. So they
can be properly diagnosed.
The vet will run some tests that may include the following:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) to assess their heart.
- Heartworm antigen test to check for heartworms.
- Blood and urine to check for any other problems.
- Chest x-ray to examine your dog’s internal organs.
- Ultrasound to analyze their heart’s size, shape, and movement.
- A Holter monitor is a device taped to capture their heart rhythms and rate.
Are you alone in your room? Or are you sharing it with someone?
Your fur baby doesn’t like unwanted visitors especially if they have a different smell. Canines are not fans of loud people or noisy surroundings either.
So don’t be surprised if they don’t sleep next to you.
Causes of dog anxiety can come from many reasons like:
- Poor socialization.
Below are the signs dog of anxiety:
- Excessive barking.
- Destructive behavior.
- Urinating or pooping in the house.
- Repetitive or compulsive behaviors.
How to manage
In dealing with such complicated behavior, it’s best to consult your vet first. They can rule out any other medical condition and provide you with a treatment plan.
- Counterconditioning – aims to change your dog’s response to the stimuli responsible for anxiety. It replaces anxious behavior with a positive one.
- Desensitization – when you, as their fur parent, slowly introduce them to the source of their anxiety. It should happen one step at a time. At a decreased intensity.
Reading recommendation: Top 10 Reasons Why Dogs Grab Your Arm + 5 Tips To Stop It
#4: Your dog’s frown more independent
“I’m big enough, Mum! I think I can manage on the sofa.”
Some dogs change their habits and try new things. This includes finding their perfect sleeping spot.
Nothing wrong with that. As long as they’re behaving, let them decide on their own.
Just enjoy the bed to yourself for now.
#5: Your dog’s mourning
Your pooch can feel depressed too.
It happens to canines when they’ve experienced a major life change. Like moving to a new home. Or when you bring home another dog as your new baby,
It could also happen if they’ve lost a loved one. It’s typical for your pooch to mourn especially if the one who passed is really close to them.
Here’s a quick way to check if your dog has depression:
- Being inactive.
- Loss of appetite.
- Change in sleeping habits.
- Doesn’t take part in activities that were once enjoyed.
#6: Your dog’s in pain
Have you seen your furry friend limping lately?
This is why they don’t sleep beside you anymore. Even if you have a huge comfy bed, they won’t risk their legs just to sleep there.
Pain is a sign of aging, just like in humans. But some younger dogs experience this too.
How do you know if your dog is in pain?
Here are the signs that they feel something is painful:
- Arched back.
- Shaking or Trembling.
- Tight or twitching muscles.
- Holding their head below their shoulders.
- Excessive licking.
- Excessive vocalization.
- Not wanting to be touched.
Signs of difficulty in moving:
- Walking slower/ refusing to walk.
- Difficulty getting up or lying down.
- Not jumping or walking on the stairs.
At one time, your dog can experience pain. So it’s best to understand where the pain comes from and if you can prevent it.
Causes of pain among dogs:
- Dental disease.
- Back problems.
- Sprains/ strains.
- Soft tissue injuries
- Other kinds of cancer.
- Severe upset stomach.
- Damage to bones or joints.
- Ear, skin, urinary tract infections (UTI).
How to manage the pain your dog feels
- Seek help from your vet.
- Identify all available treatment options – surgery, massage, medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, laser therapy, ice or heat packs, physical rehabilitation, regenerative medicine, supplements and herbal medicines.
- Get a second opinion.
- Record their behavior, signs of discomfort.
- Stop or change your dog’s former physical activities.
#7: Your dog feels comfy on the couch
Sometimes it can be hard to decipher what your dog thinks or feels (unless they begin to talk). Or why do they prefer the couch over a bed?
Don’t you think the bed is softer than the couch? And when they sleep there alone, don’t they get all the space they want?
Like us, dogs have sleep surface preferences too. Some dogs like sleeping on harder surfaces.
#8: There’s not enough room
“Look! I grew so much taller than last year, Mom!”
“Since I’m all grown up, I can now sleep on my own. You can have your bed back.”
Don’t fret if your pooch starts looking for a place outside your room.
Especially if they are fully grown large breeds. You might end up sleeping on the edge while they snooze comfortably in the middle of the bed.
Also, dogs have different sleeping positions. Some curl up like a baby while others completely lay flat on whatever surface is available.
You may want to consider if the space you give them is enough looking at their size and sleeping position.
#9: They’re not used to you yet
Have you taken home a puppy or adopted a new dog?
Your pooch is lonely as they’ve been physically removed from their comfort zone.
They surely miss their mom, siblings, and friends.
For them, you are still a stranger. That’s why you have to earn their trust first.
#10: They’re not yet tired
You come home exhausted from a whole day’s work.
But since you left your pooch, they have a lot of stored energy. They didn’t have any physical exercise or mental stimulation all day.
That’s why don’t expect them to lie down as you sleep.
Your furry friend badly needs a walk in the neighborhood. Or if you can’t, they can also settle for a simple play fetch before you head to your room.
You wonder, “How much exercise does my pooch need?”
The answer – It depends.
Since exercise varies with their age, health status, and breed.
So, choose wisely.
Since your dog’s breed strongly affects the required intensity of their activity.
If you live an active lifestyle, it’s better to get dog breeds that have high energy. Examples of these dog breeds are Border Collies and Belgian Malinois.
While if you have a sedentary lifestyle, caring for low-energy dog breeds is good for you. Examples of these dog breeds are Bulldogs or Basset Hounds.
For pups who have more energy than older dogs, it’s better to have several short regular exercises with them in a day.
This is safer than going for one long walk or too much play since their bodies are still developing.
So what are the types of exercise that you can do with your furry friend?
Here’s a list of outdoor exercise options that we’ve summarized for you:
- Dog sports.
- Playing fetch.
- Joining skaters.
- Obedience training.
- Draft work or dogsledding.
- Walking or running as you cycle.
If you want to know more about dog sports, here’s an emerging sport in Germany and the US called ‘ball herding’. Check this video for more information:
“But it’s raining or snowing or too hot outside!”
Well, we also have some indoor exercises ready for you.
Get ready for these indoor exercise options that you can engage with your pooch:
- Using the treadmill.
- Playing hide-and-seek.
- Playing with tug or games of tug.
- Running or walking on the stairs.
- Building agility through available household items.
All dogs need exercise in their daily routine no matter if it’s a high or low-energy breed. The key is to be consistent with your dog once you’ve introduced a habit to them.
It will not only be good for your pooch but it will also support you to stay active and healthy.
You might also ask: Why does my dog go crazy at night?
#11: Your dog’s ‘6th sense’ is activated
At night, when most people are preparing to sleep… To your pooch, a whole new world opens.
When almost everything’s quiet, that’s when your dog’s senses are activated.
Hearing the sounds of other dogs barking, cats, raccoons, and bullfrogs. Paired with their strong sense of smell. Dogs are sensitive to even the slightest sound anyone could make.
Though our furry friends have keen senses, we still have an edge over them when it comes to recognizing colors.
As humans, we have more color detectors compared with our dogs, that’s why they don’t identify colors the way we do.
But canines use their visual advantage since they can see better in the dark.
Compared to humans, dogs have bigger pupils which allow more light to come in.
They also have more light-sensitive cells known as cones, found in the center of their retina.
These physical attributes make them see better in dim light.
That’s why our furry friends are the best protectors!
But wait… There’s more!
Fun fact: Research reveals that dogs’ hearing ability is much better than humans. Since dogs can hear the sound of mice and even insects. Humans can pick up sound up to 20,000 Hz frequency, mice can hear up to 40,000 Hz, and dogs can catch a noise up to 60,000 Hz.
#12: Your dog is stressed
Think you’re the only one who’s stressed?
Well, your pooch can feel it too!
There are many sources of emotional stress for our fur babies. It may be their new surroundings – if they’re newly adopted. Or if they’ve recently lost a loved one – may it be a friend or a fur parent.
So if they suddenly choose to sleep alone, just give them ‘space’. Let them relieve their bursting emotions.
#13: Your dog is itching
Your dog wants to be away from you so they scratch, lick, and chew on themselves endlessly throughout the night.
Itching due to allergies or other health issues can be uncomfortable and it can keep them up all night.
Is it normal for dogs to lick their paws?
The answer is yes. It’s normal to occasionally see them do that since this is their way of self-grooming.
But if you often see your fur baby licking their paws. Something’s not right.
Better check below if this is ordinary or if you already need a vet intervention.
Here are the reasons why your dog licks their paws:
Arthritic joints, ligament sprains, bony growths, or fractures cause dogs to lick their paws; the affected area appears swollen.
Can be managed by: joint supplements.
Occurs when dogs walk on hot surfaces like pavements. Or from chemicals like cleaning products; red or cracked dog paws that have blisters or peels can be seen.
Cysts on the feet cause dogs to lick their paws; it gradually gets bigger when left untreated.
Caused by damaged skin that allows the yeast to grow; apart from itchiness, there’s a foul odor and leaves a greasy feel on the skin
Can be managed by: using antifungal shampoos.
Live on dog’s skin causing hair loss, scabbing, inflammation, and itchiness that encourages licking.
Can be managed by: topical or oral medications.
Found in areas of friction (between toes); painful so dogs lick their paws.
Can be managed by: oral medications.
Local areas of inflammation due to continuous licking on an area; it is due to the extreme itchiness they feel that usually occurs at night.
Fungal infection from infected soil or animals; usually detected on their head, ears, and limbs; sometimes, signs of redness or hair loss are seen. But bear in mind that some animals who also have ringworms don’t show signs.
Dogs lick their paw to soothe the itch and swelling.
Can be managed by: oral antihistamines or topical steroids.
Seen when your dog only licks one paw; either an injured toenail or a nail that is partially torn.
Can be managed by: carefully removing the torn portion.
Causes discomfort when your dog walks that leads to excessive licking.
Can be managed by: regular trimming of the nails.
Flakes or dandruff
Indicates dry skin; it can happen in a particular season or in certain spots on their body.
Caused by damaged skin that allows the bacteria to grow; there are scabs that may be combined with redness, flaky skin, and hair loss.
Dog paw allergies
Caused by the environment, food, or other irritants that come in contact with your dog; there’s redness, dark pigmentation, or brown staining on their paws due to constant licking.
Can be managed by: bathing your pooch or wiping their paws after their trip outside.
Object stuck in paw
Like a thorn or pebble stuck in the toes or toe pads causes your dog to lick the area to remove pain.
Snow and ice melts
Caused by winter snow and salt used for de-icing; extreme cold irritation from the salt causes redness on affected areas
Can be managed by: giving your dog booties when walking in winter.
Ticks and parasites
Ticks hide in between the dog’s toes and footpads; the discomfort results in the dog licking their paws.
Can be managed by: removing the ticks; giving your dog flea and tick preventives.
Anxiety and boredom
Repetitive licking is soothing for dogs; areas may show hair loss with thickened skin.
#14: They feel hot
Your pooch couldn’t handle the heat anymore.
You may sleep comfortably under several blankets but not your fur baby.
This is common during the summer months which is why dogs even prefer hardwood floors over cozy beds.
Since they have a higher temperature than you. Your canine’s average normal body temperature ranges from 101.0 to 102.5ºF (38.3 to 39.2ºC).
#15: They’re not in the mood
Don’t put meaning to everything that your pooch does.
Maybe they just want some “alone time”. It could be that they didn’t get enough sleep last night. So that made them cranky.
We can’t really tell why they suddenly needed that but let’s give them what they want for now.
#16: You’re encouraging it
You encourage their behavior of not sleeping on your bed. It’s by rewarding them with attention. Regardless if negative or positive.
Say you got worried they’re not sleeping with you anymore. So you went to them while in their dog bed. You started petting them, gave them some treats.
#17: Security alert
Your pooch knows their role as your protector.
They have to be alert at all times, especially when you’re least powerful. And that is when you’re sleeping or resting.
This is where they take on their role. They often get the best spot to guard your door even if that means not sleeping cozily.
They make sure none will break in.
BONUS: They feel threatened
Sometimes as a fur parent, you treat your pooch as how you treat a child. Especially when they did something wrong.
How you discipline your pooch can affect them in a negative way. Since they get scared when they’re shouted at, especially when someone uses force on them.
In turn, your pooch loses their trust in you and becomes scared of you. (In reality, they don’t understand why you’re shouting at them or why you hit them).
This is why it’s better to use positive reinforcement in correcting our fur babies. You know it’d be sad if they begin to be scared of you and avoid you.
People also ask:
Why do dogs suddenly change where they sleep?
Dogs suddenly change where they sleep either because they feel comfortable somewhere else. Other reasons include being stressed, itching, or being restless due to a heart condition. Or their ‘6th sense’ is activated, they feel hot, for security, and there’s no more space.
Why does my senior dog doesn’t want to sleep with me anymore?
Your senior dog doesn’t want to sleep with you anymore because they are growing old and are in pain. Or they feel comfortable somewhere else, there’s not enough room for them on your bed, they’re itching, they feel hot, to protect you, or you encouraged them not to sleep with you.
Senior dogs often have problems with their muscles and joints so it’s hard for them to move from one place to another, especially if moving up or down.
Experts also say elderly dogs and puppies can’t adjust their body temperatures well with their surroundings, that’s why they find it hard to cope with the heat.
Why is my dog suddenly sleeping downstairs?
Your dog is suddenly sleeping downstairs because they’re in pain and it hurts to go up. Or they want to protect you, it’s too hot or cold upstairs. They might want peace and quiet, it’s comfier downstairs, they’ve fully grown and independent, or they’re feeling unwell.
Why does my dog leave my bed in the middle of the night?
Your dog leaves your bed in the middle of the night because it’s either too hot or too cold, they feel restless or anxious, they find it comfier somewhere else, they’ve heard something, or they’re having a nighttime walk.
Night-time walking is typical among elderly dogs and the most common cause for this is due to cognitive dysfunction (like dementia in humans). There’s no cure for this illness yet.