How to Put a Dog to Sleep Fast

All dogs need sleep to rest their brain and muscles. If your dog is not sleeping through the night, you need to identify the reason before you can fix the problem.

My dog won’t sleep through the night anymore

Many dogs suffer from some form of insomnia or another. It can be caused by a variety of factors including anxiety, stress, illness, and lack of exercise. Dogs that suffer from insomnia will often lack the ability to sleep peacefully for several hours each night and will instead find themselves awake and restless.

Here are the most common causes of canine insomnia:

  • High energy/not getting enough exercise
  • Separation anxiety
  • Change in routine
  • House move
  • Pain or illness

What to give a dog to help them sleep?

There are several herbs, supplements and medications available which can help dogs get the deep sleep they need to regain their energy levels and maintain good health.

1. Herbs

The herbs valerian, chamomile, and passionflower are all known to help dogs sleep better. When taken in proper dosage they have mild sedative effects on dogs, which allow them to sleep more soundly.

2. Melatonin

Melatonin is another supplement used by pet owners with dogs that suffer from insomnia. It helps regulate their circadian rhythm and get their internal clock back on track when it has been disrupted by stress or irregular sleeping patterns due to travel or other factors.

3. Sedatives

You can speak to your vet about prescription sedatives, which are usually given as a short course for 1-2 weeks in tablet form.

Sedatives should only be considered as a temporary solution until the cause of restless sleep is found and treated. A healthy dog will not need to be sedated to sleep. They should be tired at the end of the day and go through several sleep cycles during the night.

Can I give my dog Benadryl to make him sleep?

Some dog owners have been known to give their dog Benadryl as it causes drowsiness, but given long-term it can have serious and long-term health implications for your dog.

What is a natural sedative for dogs?

Effective natural solutions include playing calming music 30-45 minutes before bedtime, giving your dog a gentle massage, or trying a thunder jacket. This is a specially designed jacket for dogs that helps to relieve stress.

Some foods have been suggested as good remedies but there is no proof of them being effective and many human foods are not safe for dogs to eat.

How do I make my dog sleep?

If your dog is keeping you awake by running about or playing during the night, this suggests he is not getting enough exercise during the day. Dogs need at least an hour of off-lead exercise, with high-energy breeds requiring 2 hours.

Barking or howling during the night indicates separation anxiety. This means your dog is feeling nervous because they are not close to you. This can be easily fixed with some simple training to show your dog that being alone is not scary.

Dogs sharing the bed with you can lead to disturbed sleep. Maybe your dog is a large breed and takes up all the room or they wake you up during the night due to their scratching or fidgeting. If your dog is large, it is best to teach them to sleep in a dog basket beside your bed so you can get a good night’s rest.

If your dog is a frequent scratcher but does not have fleas, it is possible that they have a skin complaint or allergies. Addressing this will go a long way towards helping them sleep peacefully.

What’s the secret to getting your dog to sleep at night?

From my own experience, I can tell you that dogs just don’t like to sleep. They love to lay around, be a nuisance and drive you crazy. So the best thing you can do is give them something to chew on.

I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t that what they are doing when they are sleeping? Chewing on their pillow?” No, that’s not it. That’s what they’re doing when they wake up from a nap.

If you give your dog a chew at bedtime, he will slowly work on it as he prepares for his nightly slumber. You may hear him chomping at it or working it in his jaw as he prepares himself for a long night of snoozing.

He will probably be ready for a nap in about an hour or so, so if you want him to go right to sleep the moment he lays down, do not give him a chew until right before bedtime.

Chewing also offers a distraction from other environmental stresses or anxiety about the time of day. It calms dogs down enough that they’ll often curl up in a little ball and take a nap once they’re done chewing — sometimes right where they were standing when they got their chew.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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