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11 Alarming Reasons Why Your Dog Is Restless At Night

Why Is My Dog Restless At Night

The past nights haven’t been restful.

Your dog is restless and it makes you uneasy too.

They’ve been panting and pacing.

You don’t know what to do.

Keep reading to find out:

  • 9 tips on how to calm your dog.
  • 11 reasons why your dog is restless at night.
  • How to know if it’s alarming through behavior signs.
  • And a lot more…

Why is my dog restless and panting at night?

Your dog is restless and panting at night because they’re anxious, lonely, or in pain. Senior dogs are also more restless at night because they can suffer from dementia, allergies, or arthritis. A new environment or a recent life change can also make your canine unable to sleep well.

11 reasons why your dog is restless (and panting) at night

#1: Anxiety

Who can sleep well when they’re anxious? Not me and certainly not our dogs either.

There’s a lot of reasons why our canine friends can get anxious. It can be as basic as loud noises or as serious as medical conditions.

Pacing and repositioning will undoubtedly occur, particularly in senior dogs. 

The arrival of a new baby or the loss of a loved one can induce anxiety for them.

According to studies, noise sensitivity, general and separation anxiety were the most common causes of anxiety in dogs. 

General anxiety can mean unfamiliar persons or animals, new or strange environments, specific scenarios like the vet’s office, or car rides.

As for separation anxiety, around 14% of dogs are thought to suffer from it. 

Dogs sometimes form too strong attachments to their owners, and if you leave them alone, they may grow agitated. 

Aside from being restless, you’ll know if your dog has anxiety when they show the following behavior:

  • Pacing.
  • Barking.
  • Panting.
  • Drooling.
  • Aggression. 
  • Depression.
  • Destructive behavior.
  • Repetitive or compulsive behaviors.
  • Urinating and defecating in the house.

#2: Lack of exercise

Did your dog get enough exercise lately?

A good exercise routine should be at least 30 minutes per day.

If your furry buddy isn’t getting enough activity and stimulation, they’ll be restless at night for sure.

Walking your dog outdoors or playing with them indoors are ways to release their stored energy.

A lot of pent-up energy will make your dog hyperactive. Tired dogs are calmer and more obedient. 

You don’t have to worry about tiring your furry friend because they’ll know when to stop.

How does a canine who lacks exercise act? They tend to do the following:

  • Rough play.
  • Weight gain.
  • Leash pulling.
  • Restlessness.
  • Sluggishness.
  • Excess barking.
  • Destructiveness.

So if you want a peaceful night, get your dog busy during the day.

A tired dog is a happy dog!

#3: Aging

As we age, a lot of uncomfortable things happen. Back and joint pains get more frequent.

The same is true for our furry friends. As they age, they may not be able to see or hear properly.

Physical changes can cause them to be restless. At times, it’s challenging to find a comfy spot due to body aches.

It’s a difficult time for your senior dog, but it’s bound to happen as they grow old. When they reach the age of 7, your adult dog is now a senior.

We need to put in extra effort to make them feel comfortable.

What changes do our dogs experience as they age?

  • Confusion.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • More anxious.
  • Getting cold easily.
  • Not as active as before.
  • Unable to burn calories quickly.

#4: Night noises

The hearing sense of our lovely dogs is four times better compared to the human ear.

They can differentiate the sounds, and they know where the noises are coming from.

Don’t be surprised that they can hear noises from far away that make them restless.

It may be a faint sound for you, but the sounds of crickets, frogs, dogs, or vehicles are more audible for them.

It can be the reason why your doggo is restless at night. The night noises bother them, and they can’t sleep.

Imagine hearing all sorts of noises when all you want to do is rest. 

Too much noise can lead them to be restless and fearful.

Dogs are usually frightened by noises such as baby crying, fireworks, and thunderstorms.

They can even have a noise phobia due to prolonged exposure to these annoying sounds.

How to know if your dog has a noise phobia?

Your canine may show these behaviors:

  • Hiding.
  • Pacing.
  • Panting.
  • Barking.
  • Digging.
  • Drooling.
  • Chewing.
  • Vomiting.
  • Escaping.
  • Trembling.
  • Restlessness.
  • Seeking comfort.
  • Urinating or defecating inside the house.

#5: Dog dementia

Your Dog Is Restless At Night Due To Dementia

Canine cognitive dysfunction or dementia in dogs can happen as they grow old.

The aging brain can have difficulty remembering or responding to stimuli. 

A dog who is suffering from dementia could wake up disoriented. As a result of this, dogs can be scared of their surroundings.

What causes this problematic condition? Dying brain cells don’t recover. This causes the brain to shrink and be unable to perform its usual function.

Dementia in humans is almost the same with canines. Restlessness is one sign.

The symptoms are similar as well such as:

  • Irritability.
  • Confusion.
  • Slow to follow.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Excessive licking.
  • Disinterest in activities.
  • Forgetting usual routes.
  • Disregard previously learned rules.

It can be heartbreaking to see our furry friend go through dementia. According to clinical studies, every 1 in 3 dogs at the age of 11 suffer from it.

When canines turn 16, almost all of them exhibit at least one symptom of dementia.

#6: New environment

Did your dog become restless when you moved into a new home? 

A new place can cause your furry pal to become restless at night. They must adjust to feel safe. 

They also don’t get any warning because they can’t understand what’s happening. 

A restless dog at night could be adjusting to a significant change in its environment. 

They aren’t used to unfamiliar space and sound. 

Whether you are moving to a nearby town or a different country, it can still be stressful for your dog.

The change of environment and routine can make them restless. Dogs thrive on familiarity and schedule.

Are you also feeling the stress of moving? Your dog can sense it as well.

Moving to a new area isn’t always a stress-free occasion. Packing and organizing may take a toll on you.

Your dog can feel your stress as well, and they’ll feel the same way.

You and your furry buddy can help each other cope and get used to the new living setup.

It will be easier for both of you once you settle in.

#7: Pain

Restlessness can be a sign that your dog is in pain. It’s pretty tricky to know if our dogs are feeling pain since they can’t verbalize it.

A wound or an injury might be the reason for their pain. There are times when the damage isn’t visible.

It can be in their paws, belly, tummy, or behind their legs. Internal pain can be a bigger problem because we can’t see it.

If your dog only whines when lying down, they could be suffering from joint pain or another issue related to its position. 

However, if we do our best to observe them closely, we’ll be able to determine if they’re in pain.

Bring your dog to the vet when you see the signs below:

  • Hiding.
  • Yelping.
  • Snappy.
  • Inactive.
  • Limping.
  • Growling.
  • Weakness.
  • Grumpiness.
  • Lack of appetite. 
  • Sensitive to touch.
  • Shallow breathing.

#8: Need to pee

Your Dog Needs To Pee

Have you experienced getting up several times at night to pee?

It’s exhausting, right? Your dog is restless when they’re experiencing a full bladder.

One common situation is not allowing your pooch to pee before bedtime. They may get restless if they’re used to peeing outside.

Another is when it comes to potty training, your dog may be marking his territory in an area where they previously peed and can still smell it. 

Puppies pee or poop more often than adult dogs. It’s because their bladders are tiny and empty more quickly than adult dogs. 

Bladder incontinence or the inability to hold your pee can come with aging. There’s an urge to pee now and then. 

However, some medical conditions may also contribute to your dog’s urgent need to pee.

It can be the following medical issues:

  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Cushing’s disease.
  • Urinary tract infections. 
  • Gastrointestinal problem.

Peeing is frequent during the day but can get worse at night. Aside from restlessness, your canine may exhibit the following signs:

  • Pacing.
  • Yelping.
  • Panting.
  • Whining.
  • Weakness.

Going to the vet should be your next step if you notice your pet urinating more than usual. 

Your vet can conduct blood and urine tests to determine what’s the problem.

#8: Arthritis

According to a study, arthritis or inflamed joints are among the most common causes of pain for humans and canines. 

It’s a degenerative disease. It means that it gets worse over time. Arthritis is common for senior dogs, but puppies can develop it due to abnormal bone growth.

The pain in the joints can make our furry friends restless, especially when they’re trying to sleep.

It’s difficult for your dog to find a comfortable position that won’t heighten the pain. Arthritis pain can also get worse during the night, especially when it’s cold.

How to know if your dog has arthritis? Aside from being restless, your furry friend will be showing the symptoms:

  • Stiffness.
  • Irritability.
  • Lameness.
  • Slow-moving.
  • Grumpiness.
  • Disinterest in activities.

Suffering from arthritis is distressing. Make sure to bring your furry buddy to the vet when you notice that they suffer from joint pains.

#9: Skin problems

“Scratch, scratch, scratch.”

Is that the only thing you hear when you’re about to doze off? 

Itching from allergies or dry skin is another reason your dog is up at night, scratching persistently. 

Allergy is quite common in dogs, especially when they reach 6 months of age. Dogs that are 1 to 2 years old are the most affected.

Your canine can inherit allergies. If your dog’s ancestors have allergies to pollen or a type of food, your furry buddy will most likely develop it as well.

Allergens are substances that can cause your dog to have skin problems.

These common allergens may be affecting your dog: 

  • Eggs.
  • Wheat.
  • Pollens.
  • Insects.
  • Chicken.
  • Dust mites.
  • Flea saliva.
  • Mold spores.
  • Dairy products.

The allergens mentioned might be the reason for your pup’s restless behavior. 

You’ll know your canine is suffering from allergies when they experience the following:

  • Itching.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dull coat.
  • Coughing.
  • Sneezing.
  • Wheezing.
  • Patchy fur.
  • Runny nose.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Inflamed skin.

#10: Loneliness

Do you have a puppy? 

There are a few things you should take note of. Taking care of pups requires patience and a lot of love.

Puppies miss their mother and littermates. Also, the puppy might not yet have formed a bond with you yet. That is why they end up being lonely. 

Young puppies in new homes are going through a lot of changes. We have to understand that everything is new for them.

They’re living with new people in unexpected surroundings for the first time, away from their mothers and littermates. 

Furthermore, putting the puppy in a crate will make them feel lonely. 

It’s no surprise that they cry, whine, and scrape to get out of their crates.

Dogs are, after all, sociable animals. They’ll be afraid if there’s no one else in the room with them. 

Nighttime is ideal for connecting with your pup. But, this doesn’t mean they should sleep in your bed with you. 

Even if you both like it, a young puppy is too young to sleep with you. 

A puppy needs to have some independence while still relying on you for comfort.  

Here is a video on how to crate train your pup: 

Do you have an adult dog?

If you think your matured dog won’t have sad spells anymore, think again.

Your adult dog can still get lonely when left alone for an extended period.

Your dog’s ancestors in the wild lived in packs. Though our dogs are domesticated, they’re still sociable animals that need companions.

We can’t be with our canine friends all the time. Leaving them alone without something to get busy at can make them lonely.

Being around them but rarely spending time bonding can also make them sad creatures.

What are the signs of a lonely dog?

  • Hiding.
  • Pacing.
  • Barking.
  • Howling.
  • Chewing.
  • Potty accidents.
  • Reduced appetite.
  • Destructive behavior.

#11: Life change

Life changes aren’t always magical. It can be a cause of stress as well.

Dogs are very similar to humans when it comes to what causes them stress. 

Any major life changes could have a significant impact on your dog. 

What significant life change has occurred in your life recently?

It can be changing residences, partners, the death or birth of a family member, getting a new dog, and so on. 

A significant change in your pet’s environment or life is bound to be upsetting. 

Did you adopt an adult dog? 

Rehoming an adult dog can provide them with a second chance, but it can also be stressful.

Having someone new around every day, living somewhere new, and living a different life can be too much for your adopted canine to handle. 

It could be another reason for your dog’s restlessness at night.  

Family members leaving can also cause your dog to be restless.

When I had to go away for college, our family dog was quite sad for some time.

My doggie bestie didn’t like to go out and was uninterested in doing activities. 

We missed each other a lot, but my younger siblings were able to take my place in spending time with them.

It was easy for them to recover since other family members took the time to bond with them.

How to calm a restless dog at night? 9 tips

#1: Exercise 

The best thing you can do for your dog to be calm at night is to exercise them during the day.

These differ according to age, size, and personality. However, your pooch should’ve at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. 

It could help your pet deal with stress and anxiety, and it could also help him get rid of any excess energy. 

Physical exercise is good for your dog’s overall health and keeps him in good shape.

Make an effort to exercise your dog daily. Walking is already a good form of exercise.

However, in addition to physical exercise, you should also consider mental training for your canine. 

Exercise shouldn’t be boring and repetitive. 

Here are some of the things you can buy for your doggo…

Food dispensing toy 

So, if you want to add more mental stimulation to your dog’s routine, start by changing their feeding schedule. 

Instead of simply handing over their food a few times a day, you can turn it into a fun game for your pooch. 

You can look for treat dispensers such as the Kong-Wobbler. This toy encourages play and slow feeding. 

And, yes, it can be a little noisy, but it’s worth it when you see how happy your pup is. 

Puzzle toys

Puzzle toys are a fun and simple way to keep your dog busy. 

Puzzles like Dog Treat Puzzle engage your dog to stay focused and practice their problem-solving skills.  

It gives them something to concentrate on and has more meaning in their day, and aids in the reduction of behavioral problems.

Make a DIY obstacle course.

It’s an excellent mental workout for your dog to teach them how to navigate an obstacle course. 

Don’t worry if you don’t have any agility jumps or poles at home; you can make your own or use items from around the house. 

You can teach your dog to: 

  • Go to their bed.
  • Go up the ramp. 
  • Jump over a broomstick.
  • Climb up and down the stairs.
  • Weave through poles in the backyard.

#2: Calming treats

You may have several questions before deciding on using calming treats.

What exactly is a calming treat?

Calming treats are like nutritional supplements for us. It’s non-medical and contains herbs and vitamins.

Most calming aids contain tryptophan or melatonin. Tryptophan helps to regulate moods and appetite, while melatonin functions as a sleep inducer.

Is it safe to use calming aids for our dogs?

A good source of tryptophan is milk, tuna, turkey, and chicken. Melatonin can be found in milk, eggs, nuts, fish, and goji berries.

Some calming aids contain chamomile for a calming effect. These are safe, non-chemical ingredients. 

However, it’s always best to consult your vet first about the best calming treat for your furry friend.

Calming aids also come in the form of oils.

Ask your veterinarian if it’s possible to give your dog Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and what kind of oil might be suitable for treating their anxiety. 

Consult them for some possible side effects of the oil.

#3: A comfortable bed

Each dog has their unique variety of sleeping positions.

And it can describe or tell of their personality through the way they sleep.

A comfortable bed may help them to sleep properly at night.

Dogs typically have an average sleep of 8 to 13 hours a day.

It’s essential to choose a suitable bed for your dog and is spacious for their size as they lay down in it.

It can help them to sleep in a position they like.

Plus, the position or amount of sleep they have each day may tell us how they feel mentally and physically.

If you have a dog with Orthopedic problems, it’s best to have an Orthopedic bed. 

This bed is designed to relieve pressure when your dog lies down when they suffer from joint or muscle pain.

Getting an orthopedic bed for your dog, even if they’re still a puppy, can help them prolong healthy joints and prevent future problems such as arthritis or joint pains.

It’s also best for our senior dogs.

#4: Livable space

Aside from a comfy bed, your dog deserves a pleasant space to live in.

If you notice your dog itching, especially at night, you might have to wash their beddings or blankets.

They sleep the best when they’re in their usual sleeping spot.

Make sure to keep their resting place safe and secure. 

It will keep them feeling secure. They’ll have a good night’s sleep.

You’ll enjoy a deep and restful sleep too.

It’s our duty as their fur parents to keep them safe and comfy and spend the rest of their night in their rollercoaster dreamland.

Pay attention to what’s going on around you.

Is it cold or warm? Is it messy or tidy?

It helps your dog not to be distracted when your surroundings are calm and neat.

Here’s some tips on how to create a comfortable area for your doggo:

  • Leave a variety of toys.
  • Access to food and water.
  • Free from insects and pests.
  • Safe from harmful chemicals.
  • Provide clean and cozy blankets.

If none of these suggestions work, consult your veterinarian to figure out what’s causing your dog to be restless.

#5: Counterconditioning 

The Counterconditioning goal is to change your dog’s behavior and responses to stimuli from negative to positive that cause their fear or anxiety.

Study shows that counterconditioning reduces fear in canines.

Training a restless dog is never easy. It takes a lot of patience for you to understand and succeed in helping your dog.

If all else fails to train them, don’t hesitate to ask for professional help.

An experienced trainer can help you develop a program that addresses your dog’s needs on positive training exercises and techniques.

Observe and study how they train your dog for you to be able to practice or use what you’ve learned.

An excellent example of counterconditioning is when your dog is afraid of noises at night.

It’s something we can’t control. Determine first what noise your dog is afraid of.

If they fear firework sounds or loud machinery, play a recording of that noise in low volume.

If your canine friend doesn’t react negatively, praise them, give treats, or play with them.

Slowly increase the volume from time to time. When you see any hint of anxiousness, turn the volume down again.

Repeat the process until your furry friend gets used to it.

#6: Take them to the bathroom before going to bed

If your dog needs to go to the bathroom before bed, this could cause restlessness.

If your dog’s still a puppy, it would be more likely that they pee more often that’s why they’re restless at night.

Train them to pee or poo on a pee pooping sheet that you can buy in any pet shop, or provide a piece of rag or mat where they can do it.

Before they go to bed, take them for a quick trip to the bathroom.

This should help them feel more relaxed and allow them to sleep more quickly.

These are the signs that your furry friend wants to wee:

  • Pacing.
  • Sniffing.
  • Whining.
  • Fidgeting.
  • Circling before squatting.

Frequent bathroom breaks or any changes from their usual may indicate underlying medical issues.

It’s best to take a test as soon as possible to prevent any major illnesses and take appropriate treatment and actions to it.

Your vet can do necessary tests to determine if your canine needs intervention.

Make sure to have their regular checkups. As the famous quote says, prevention is better than cure.

#7: Keep them close to you

Dogs feel safe when they sleep near you.

It gives them a sense of security and comfort.

It’s one of the most effective methods for getting them to relax before going to sleep.

If they’re too far from you, it may increase their anxiety which makes them restless.

You can have a quiet interaction that you both enjoy, like rubbing, kissing their cheeks, and having a doggie conversation with them.

This bedtime interaction can help them ease any anxieties they feel and help them to have a sweet doggie sleep.

A relaxing massage before bedtime can calm them. 

If they could only talk, they’ll probably tell you this. “Yeah, hooman! Massage it like that, and this part, and that part. Oh! That’s tickly, tickly good hooman!”.

Grooming time like brushing their fur can also be your nightly routine.

Bonding time with your dog before bedtime boosts their trust and confidence in their surroundings.

You don’t have to force them to sleep next to you in your bed. You just have to keep them close to you.

#8: Music therapy

Music can also help with noise sensitivity by blocking out annoying or frightening noises that can cause anxiety in some dogs.

Research conducted shows some types and effects of music that help calm your dog.

The dogs readily joined into the beat of the music. Most of them relaxed and laid down comfortably.

Play random music to help you find your dog’s jam and observe which kind of music they love to hear.

Once you find their preferred jam, it will be easier to keep them calm.

Who knows, you might have similar tastes in the music genre. It would be a terrific way to bond.

#9: Create a calm environment 

Keeping your dog in a calm environment is one way to help them sleep through the night.

It can significantly reduce their stress and anxiety, allowing them to get a better night’s sleep.

They can go to their safe space if they’re tired or anxious.

When they’re overly anxious, this should provide them with a friendly, calming environment.

Having a cool and not too bright place for them can help them lie down comfortably.

A calm and cool environment can help your dog relax, and even us humans will benefit from it.

Having a good daily routine can create a positive environment for your dogs.

Maintain a healthy routine for your pups. Routine establishes expectations, and every dog enjoys them.

Dogs are used to habits. They enjoy following a set pattern.

Be soothing and consistent in your routine to ensure a positive outcome.

Dogs can also sense when we’re anxious. When you talk or handle them calmly, they also respond in a relaxed way.

Having a routine for their food, play, and strolls outside can help them feel safer and secure.