Sleep Aids for Dogs

By Jo Jackson

There could be many reasons why your dog is having trouble sleeping. Young dogs may miss their mother and litter mates, while old dogs, like old people, tend to wake more and have trouble getting back to sleep. Dogs suffer from stress and anxiety if there has been a loss or addition to your family -- two-legged or four-legged. They may feel tension in the household and sometimes they suffer pain. If your dog is having trouble sleeping there are several ways to help him.

Inadequate Exercise and Late Feeding

People and dogs both sleep better if they have had an exercise session. If your dog feels full of energy, he may not be able to settle down for the night and will want to roam around. A visit to a park or a session of ball-throwing can make a world of difference in his ability to sleep well. You should feed him at least two hours before you expect him to sleep, as eating too close to bedtime can cause insomnia.

Sleeping Environment

Make sure his bed is away from drafts and is in a quiet, warm, dry and comfy place to sleep. An orthopedic bed can help dogs with arthritis and joint problems, while fleecy blankets and towels will keep him warm. In cold weather you can wrap a hot water bottle in a blanket for him to snuggle up to. Young dogs and those who have recently lost a sleeping mate may find it easier to sleep if you wrap an old style clock that ticks in a towel, and place it in or near his bed to mimic a heartbeat.

Aromatherapy and Music

Natural calming scents such as lavender and chamomile can help a dog who feels stressed to fall asleep. You can spray essential oils around his bedding or you can use an oil diffuser in the room where he sleeps. Research has shown that dogs find classical music relaxing; choose a playlist that you can enjoy too and play it a low volume near his bed until he falls asleep.

Vet-Prescribed Medication

Dogs with injuries, arthritis or other painful condition may need a little extra help. Talk to your vet to see if she thinks Benadryl might help and at what dosage. Make sure your dog does not have fleas or allergies, both of which could be keeping him awake at night. If Benadryl does not help your dog, check with your vet to see if she thinks a stronger type of medication is required.