What Can I Give My Dog to Make Him Sleep?

Any dog owner will understand the pain of sleepless nights. Whether you are settling your puppy into their new home or changing where your dog sleeps, you are going to be in for some rough nights.

Why is my dog restless at night all of a sudden?

Perhaps your dog’s insomnia is health-related. There are lots of things you can try to help your dog settle and sleep through the night.

All animals 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. 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

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 can I give my dog to make him sleep all night?

Sedatives should only be considered as a temporary solution until the cause of the 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.

You can speak to your vet about prescription sedatives, which are usually given as a short course for 1-2 weeks in tablet form. Never give a dog human sleep tablets as they can cause toxicity and even death.

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.


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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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