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Establishing a Calm Bedtime Routine for Dogs

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Establishing a Calm Bedtime Routine for Dogs

Just like you, your dog needs to get enough sleep to be happy and healthy. As a pet parent, there's a lot you can do to help your fur baby reap all the benefits of adequate rest. Establishing and sticking to a consistent bedtime routine is one small thing that you can do to make a big impact, and in this post, we'll share tips on how to do it and discuss ways to overcome common sleep problems in dogs. 


Importance of Sleep for Dogs 


During the day, your dog's brain is constantly working to take in and process sensory input. Sleep provides a break from all those external stimuli and allows dogs' minds to reorganize information. Getting adequate rest helps support many facets of brain health, including memory and learning. The immune system also activates while your pup sleeps, so dogs who don't rest enough may be more prone to infections. 

Most dogs spend about 50% of their days sleeping. However, the specific amount of sleep that dogs need varies by breed, age, health history and other factors. Your veterinarian can help you determine how much sleep your pooch requires to maintain overall health and well-being. 


What if My Dog Is Restless and Has Trouble Sleeping? 


If your dog seems to be struggling to get a good night's rest, a number of things could be the cause. Let's take a look at some of the most common sleep concerns. 

  • Dog barking in their sleep: A dog howling in their sleep or barking in their sleep is often just a sign that they are having a vivid dream or a nightmare. Unless your dog is exhibiting similar behaviors when they're awake, it's likely not a cause for concern or an indication that your dog isn't sleeping well. 
  • Dog sleeps with eyes open: A dog sleeping with their eyes open may not indicate any sleep problems. Occasionally, dogs, and some people, do manage to sleep with their eyes open. Also, the third eyelid that dogs possess can sometimes make it look like their eyes are open even when they're not. In rarer cases, sleeping with eyes open could indicate a medical condition like epilepsy, so it's best to mention the problem to the vet just in case. 
  • Dog wakes me up to go outside: If your dog consistently wakes up to be let outside during the night, try giving them less water close to bedtime. Letting them out right before you go to sleep may also address this problem. 
  • Dog doesn't sleep:Insomnia in dogs can have a variety of causes from anxiety to discomfort due to an infection or chronic condition. Discuss insomnia with your vet so they can diagnose the likely cause. 
  • Dog snores loudly: Occasional snoring may not be cause for concern, but when it happens regularly or is very loud, it may indicate sinus problems, respiratory issues or sleep apnea. Talk to your vet about the symptom. 


Building a Sleep Routine 


Dogs thrive when given a consistent schedule to follow. Not only does a regular routine help to keep their sleep-wake cycle normalized, but it can also reduce anxiety and stress by allowing pups to anticipate what will come next in their day. 

The key to developing a good sleep routine for your pet is to tailor it to their individual needs and your own lifestyle. Make sure that whatever you adopt is something that you'll be able to commit to long term, even as your own schedule changes. An example of a sleep routine may include: 

  • Going outside one final time 
  • Snuggling in a comfortable spot for 10 to 20 minutes 
  • Escorting your dog to their bed 
  • Petting them once they settle in 
  • Putting on some soft dog sleep music, such as classical or easy listening 
  • Saying good night 
  • Turning off the lights 
  • Completing your own PM routine 
  • Going to bed yourself 

Strive to complete the steps of your routine at the same time every evening, and modify your routine as you see how your dog responds. 


Tips for a Calm Bedtime 


To set your dog up for a calm bedtime and a simpler segue into sleep, follow these tips: 

  • Let them out before bedtime: We've already mentioned this in the sections above, but it's worth repeating. Make sure that your dog gets to go outside to go to the bathroom before you settle in for the night to set them up for a comfortable rest. 
  • Create a calming space: Give your dog a quiet, comfortable place to sleep. You can make the area more soothing with aromatherapy, white noise, soothing music and stuffed toys, and don't forget about having a comfortable bed that's reserved just for them. 
  • Avoid too much PM excitement: Active play and exercise can help your dog sleep, but keep these activities confined to the earlier hours of the day. Too much excitement close to bed can leave your dog energized and make it more difficult for them to rest. 
  • Keep your own routine consistent: Dogs are highly sensitive to their owner's behaviors and will be more likely to relax and rest if they know you're going to bed, too. Conversely, if you're up performing different activities, your dog may become curious and seek you out to see what you're up to. 


Sleep Aids for Dogs 


If your pooch still struggles to rest even with a consistent PM routine, they may benefit from a sleep aid for dogs. Sleep aids include things like prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs like diphenhydramine. 

There are also natural sleep aids for dogs like melatonin and valerian root. Some products contain a combination of ingredients. For example, Kradle Sleepy CleanZzz features our proprietary BotaniTek blend and melatonin, which work together to help calm the nerves. We also offer Kradle Sleepy CleanZzz with CBD, which provides the added benefits of broad-spectrum CBD oil. 

While sleep aids can be beneficial for dogs that struggle with sleep issues due to anxiousness and other problems, it's important that you choose the right one for your pet. There is no single best sleep aid for dogs. 

What supplement or natural product will be most beneficial for them depends on a number of factors, such as their health history, the cause of their sleep issues and their breed. Age is also a key consideration, as the best sleep aid for senior dogs may not be the same as the ideal one for a puppy. 

Your veterinarian can help you determine what type of sleep aid is the right choice for your pet. In some cases, you may need to experiment with different products before you find one that works consistently. 


Set Them Up for a Good Night's Rest 

Good sleep hygiene is important for your dog's physical, mental and emotional health. By establishing a consistent routine, discussing sleep problems with your vet and using sleep aids as needed, you can help your pooch get all the restful sleep they need and reduce nighttime issues that may be keeping you awake. Put the above tips into action and set your whole family up for a good night's rest. 





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