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How To Prepare a Sleepy Dog To Enter Dreamland

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Is your canine friend having trouble sleeping through the night?

Most dogs have no trouble falling asleep after a long day of playtime. However, if you’ve brought home a new dog, you may discover that it’s difficult to get them to fall asleep. Dogs may struggle to fall asleep when they have anxiety or experience a huge life change.

A puppy may be anxious about being away from its littermates for the first time. As a pet parent, it can be frustrating and worrying to see your sleepy dog not getting enough rest. That’s why we’ve created this guide on helping your dog sleep overnight.

Read on to find out more.

Give Your Pup Enough Exercise and Play

Puppies have the most trouble falling asleep because of their boundless energy. Help them burn energy before bedtime by giving them enough exercise and play. Spend 10-20 minutes playing with your puppy throughout the day, especially before bedtime.

This will also help you get in the exercise your pup needs to keep their bones strong and healthy. For example, you can play fetch with your dog’s favorite ball, frisbee, or tug of war.

This is also the perfect opportunity to get your pup started on training. Mental enrichment is as important as physical exercise. Playing before training can also make training easier, as your puppy will be less distracted.

Start with basic obedience commands, like sit and stay. Once they’ve mastered that, you can move on to more advanced commands.

Create a Comforting Sleeping Environment

It’s normal for a puppy to feel anxious on its first day away from its siblings and mother. The same can happen with shelter and rescue dogs.

As a pet parent, it’s your duty to make them feel at home. That also means giving them a comfortable sleeping environment to simmer down and get their Zs.

Get a Crate

Crate training is the best way to introduce a puppy or adopted dog to a new home. Your puppy may feel nervous and insecure about all the new sights and scents. A crate serves as a safe space that your pup can retreat to.

When getting a crate, ensure it’s big enough for your pup. A dog should be able to stand up and move around the crate without trouble. If you have a wire crate, consider placing a blanket over it to give your dog a sense of privacy.

However, if your dog has separation anxiety or isn’t accustomed to crates, it may get more anxious at night. If this is the case, gradually introduce your dog to the crate and remember to reward them. Always use positive reinforcement; otherwise, your dog will see the crate as punishment.

Get a Comfortable Bed

Give your dog a comfortable place to sleep, like a cushion or dog bed. Always take size, design, and material into consideration when choosing a dog bed. Some owners like to take their dogs to the pet store so they can choose the one they like best!

If you have a senior dog, they might benefit from an orthopedic bed. This type of dog bed is best for dogs with arthritis. It has a dense, firm memory foam mattress that will cradle those sensitive joints.

Check out the best dog beds for your canine friend here!

You can optimize your dog’s sleeping environment by filling it with things they love. It could be their favorite stuffed toy or a used shirt with your scent on it. This can help them feel more comfortable before bed, especially if they’re not used to being away from you.

Let Your Dog Choose Their Sleeping Spot

Like us, some dogs like to move around in their sleep. However, this isn’t limited to tossing and turning. You may send your dog to sleep on their dog bed and find them next to yours in the morning.

If your dog is potty-trained, it shouldn’t be a problem to let them choose where they want to sleep. The important thing is your dog is comfortable and getting enough quality sleep.

Potty-Break Before Bed

Take your pup out before bed to give them one last potty break. If you can, do it right before bed to limit the chances of waking up in the middle of the night. This also helps to reduce accidents if you have a nervous or untrained puppy.

Keep their potty breaks calm, so you don’t risk a sudden burst of adrenaline.

Establish a Bedtime Routine

Establishing a bedtime routine is the easiest way to teach your dog when it’s time to sleep. Routine can also help with anxious puppies who are still nervous about being in a new home. This can also help your dog develop a regular and healthy sleeping pattern.

Don’t wait too long before setting a bedtime routine for you and your dog. If your puppy gets used to running around in the late hours, it can be difficult to break that habit.

The first part of your routine should be their feeding time. If you feed your dog too early, it might get hungry again before bed. On the other hand, if you feed them too late, they may not have the time to digest and get their potty break.

It’s best to give your dog its last meal of the day about three to four hours before bedtime. This gives them enough time to eat, digest, and go potty before lights out. You can also squeeze in some play time to burn off any extra energy.

Use Soothing Scents

Calming scents like dog pheromones can help your puppy settle down. These simulate the pheromones that a mother dog releases when nursing her babies. These pheromones can come in collars, diffusers, or sprays.

However, this may not work for all puppies, so keep an open mind.

Play Calming Music

Did you know that music can help dogs sleep? Many animal shelters use music to reduce stress in dogs. The dog may not understand the lyrics, but it helps to mask outside noises that make them nervous.

Reggae, soft rock, and classical music are the most effective. YouTube has plenty of playlists and compilations of calming music for dogs. Try some white noise or a sound machine if the music isn’t working.

White noise can be great for dogs trying to calm down after being in a stimulating environment. Avoid music with high-frequency sounds. These can startle your pup, and senior dogs are more sensitive to high frequencies.

Give Your Dog a Massage

Some dogs sustain high energy even after a long day of playing and training. A massage is a great way to help your dog transition into a good night’s rest. Start by putting the toys away and placing your dog in a calm and quiet environment.

If you get your dog too excited, they may think it’s playtime again. When your dog has settled down, give them long strokes along the face. Use your thumbs and stroke your dog across their snout to the cheek.

Some dogs may also like circular motions around the temple. Next, softly stroke your dog’s ears, starting from the base. A dog’s ears contain many nerve endings, which can release endorphins that will help your dog feel sleepy.

Don’t forget to give your dog’s back and chest some love too! Pay close attention to your dog’s body language to see what they like and dislike.

Have a Sleepover

Many pet parents sleep with their dogs, and studies show that it can help you and your pup get more quality sleep. Dogs are social creatures and prefer to sleep snuggled up with their favorite person. Some dogs may nestle between your legs or sleep next to you so that you’re within reach.

If your dog is anxious, consider letting your dog sleep with you. You can also opt to put their crate in your room instead if they aren’t potty trained. Your dog may feel more comfortable if they’re next to you.

Even if you don’t plan to let your dog sleep in your room for the long term, this can help them settle into their new environment.

Go to the Vet

If all else fails, take your dog to the vet. Sleeplessness can affect dogs of all ages, and it becomes a huge concern when they start feeling lethargic. Sleep disorders are rare in dogs but aren’t uncommon.

A vet can tell you if your dog has any underlying conditions preventing them from sleeping. They can also prescribe medicine to help your dog get through the night.

Helping a Sleepy Dog Sleep Overnight

As dog owners, we only want the best for our fur babies. It’s normal to feel concerned when your dog isn’t getting enough sleep. Use these tips to help your sleepy dog get the rest they need.

Are you concerned about your dog’s health and well-being? Check out our other blog posts for more great guides.

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