The whining, the crying, the pacing around the house at the wee hours of morning. No, we're not talking about life with a newborn—we're talking about dealing with dogs who don't sleep through the night. Yes, it's a thing, just ask the pet parents with bags under their eyes and espresso IV drips in their arms. We turned to our favorite trainer, Rachel Cohen Maso CPDT-KA, of Brooklyn Dogtime, for five tips to get better sleep. For dogs and humans.
Location, location, location
Many dogs sleep better closer to their pack (that would be you). Sometimes simply moving the dog bed into the same room as someone in the family remedies those middle-of-the-night whines.
Take the temperature
Is it possible your pup is either too hot or too cold? Moving the dog bed away from vents and windows will make for a more consistent temperature through the night and likely a better night's sleep. You can also provide a blanket that your dog can crawl under or on top of to adjust her own temp as needed.
Remember that your dog has sensitive hearing and may not be able to dismiss ambient noise the way you do—or don't, for that matter. Sounds around the house (like a chiming clock or loud refrigerator) or noises outside the window (like cars driving down the street or dogs barking far away) could be disrupting her. Try closing the windows and using a white noise machine or a fan to muffle sounds.
Rework your walk
That long walk around the neighborhood before bed might be working against you. Some dogs get energized by a stroll instead of tired out. Try switching up your walking time to earlier in the day. It may be the key to a good night's sleep.
Some dogs—especially those who suffer from anxiety—benefit from a pheromone spray or diffuser, which emits an odorless natural chemical that mimics the soothing pheromones of lactating dogs. Alternately, there are effective natural pastilles and drops you can add to your dog's water bowl. Or create your own relaxing spray using a few drops of essential oil (lavender or chamomile have calming properties) mixed with a little vodka and distilled water. Spray a fine mist on your dog's bed at night to help her wind down—conveniently, this works on your pillow, too.
When all else fails
If your pup still struggles to sleep through the night, you can step things up with melatonin chews. (Yes, the same natural sleep aid humans use, but look specifically for products and dosages geared toward dogs.) You might also consult your vet about prescription possibilities, although this should be a last resort since meds can be both costly and have side effects. But always try to assess potential stressors that are interrupting your dog's sleep first. Most of the time you can figure out a solution and put the problem to bed once and for all.