If you’ve ever had a puppy, you know the struggle of sleep training them all-too-well. Puppies need frequent bathroom breaks day or night, and can take time – anywhere from 8 – 10 months – to develop a solid sleep-through-the-night schedule.
But what if your dog never adjusts? If your dog is over 10 months old and a restless sleeper (or gets you up frequently for 3 am bathroom breaks), you may feel as though you’ll never get to sleep through the night again. But have no fear – with a little sleep training and a lot of patience in developing a strong routine, your pup (and you!) will be sleeping soundly through the night in no time.
How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?
Dogs have a very different sleeping pattern than that of humans, given that they fall asleep easily but wake up much more often. While puppies and more senior dogs can sleep for up to 18 – 20 hours per day, the average adult dog (those one year of age and older) usually only require about 8 – 12 hours of sleep per day. Anything more and your dog may actually be sleeping too much, along with losing out on their required daily exercise to keep them active and healthy.
However, if your adult dog seems extra sluggish, or you’ve noticed they’ve been sleeping more than usual, there may be an underlying health condition – like dehydration, depression, or even dementia – that needs checking out. Always consult your veterinarian to rule out or address any potential health problems.
How to Help Your Dog Sleep Through The Night
Keep Them Active Throughout the Day
In between snoozing, dogs need to exercise regularly, which means regular physical and mental stimulation. If your dog isn’t getting enough physical exercise, they can become bored and end up sleeping more often during the day. The more a dog sleeps during the day, the more likely they are to wake you up in the middle of the night, since they’re daily routine is packed with sleep sessions.
To ensure your dog is getting the recommended amount of mental and physical exercise, aim for at least 30 minutes of walking and 30 minutes of playing per day to help tire them out while evening out their sleeping schedule.
Limit Before-Bed Food and Water
Take away any food and water dishes about two hours before bedtime to ensure your dog heads to bed with any empty bladder, thus avoiding a midnight wake up call to let them out.
Set a Before-Bedtime Potty Break
Speaking of an empty bladder, get in the routine of heading outside for a bathroom break before bedtime. That way, if your dog gets up in the middle of the night, you can rule out the need for a bathroom break and focus on getting them comfortable and back to sleep.
Up the Cozy Factor
Help your dog wind down and relax by upping the cozy factor at night time. Whether they’re in a crate or in bed with you, set the tone with some calming music to help them drift off to sleep, and provide them with plenty of cozy blankets to help them sleep and stay content through to the morning.
Get the Help of an Herbal Remedy
If your dog is otherwise healthy but just can’t seem to settle in at night, consider offering an herbal sleeping aid. Administer a dose of CBD oil, or a melatonin chew, before bed to help your dog relax and drift off into a peaceful night’s rest.
Remember, dogs thrive on routine, so the more regular your night-time routines become, the more they’ll settle in and learn to adjust their sleeping schedule to doze off along with you. With proper exercise, a set routine, and even the help of some herbal supplements, you and your pup will be snoozing through the night in no time!