How to Help Your Senior Dog Sleep Better?

April 21, 2024 4 min read

Typically, adult dogs need about 10 hours of sleep per day, including short naps during the day. Senior dogs require even more sleep. Inadequate sleep may lead to irritability, forgetfulness, disorientation, and disobedience. Then how to help older dogs sleep better? Before this, should find the reasons why senior dogs not sleep well at night first.

Why Senior Dogs Do Not Sleep Well At Night?

  1. Decline in Physical Functions

    As dogs age, their physical functions gradually decline, including the quality of their sleep. Older dogs tend to have shorter sleep duration and may wake up more frequently during the night. This is because their bodies are no longer as efficient at repair and restoration as they were when they were younger, thus requiring less sleep.

  2. Psychological Stress

    Dogs, like humans, can also be affected by psychological stress. When dogs feel lonely, anxious, or unsettled, they may struggle to fall asleep or wake up frequently during the night. Factors such as the loss of a companion, changes in their living environment, or fear of death can contribute to increased psychological stress in senior dogs.

  3. Pain or Discomfort

    Older dogs may experience various health issues such as arthritis, kidney disease, or cardiovascular diseases. These conditions can cause pain or discomfort during the night, affecting their sleep quality.

  4. Lifestyle Habits

    Some dogs may not develop good sleep habits when they are young, such as playing at night or sleeping during the day. As they age, these habits can be difficult to change, leading to nighttime sleep disturbances.

6 Methods of Helping Your Senior Dog Sleep Better

Despite being prone to fatigue, dogs can also be easily awakened, especially with various disturbances during their rest. To ensure your senior dog's comfort during rest, consider the following methods:

1. Adjusting Daily Routines

The daily routines of older dogs may become more irregular compared to when they were younger, so owners need to adjust their own schedules to align with their dogs'. During the day, increasing the dog's activity levels can help them maintain vitality. In the evening, reducing the dog's activity levels can make them more likely to feel tired.

2. Ensure Adequate Exercise

Although senior dogs may be less willing to exercise, regular physical activity is essential for their overall health and sleep quality. Take your dog for gentle walks lasting half an hour to an hour to prevent obesity and various health issues.

3. Create a Quiet and Comfortable Environment

Creating a quiet sleeping environment for older dogs is crucial. Place the dog bed in a relatively quiet and comfortable area, away from noise sources like the kitchen or doorways. If placing the bed indoors, close doors and curtains to block out noise. Additionally, consider placing the bed where your dog can see you for added security. You can also try placing soothing music or white noise in the dog's sleeping area to help them relax. Additionally, maintaining suitable temperature and humidity levels indoors is also essential.

4. Establishing Good Bedtime Habits Before Bedtime

You can prepare a quiet and comfortable space for your dog to relax. Placing some of their favorite toys or treats by their bed can increase their sense of security and comfort. Additionally, engaging in relaxing activities such as a walk or massage before bedtime can help your dog unwind.

5. Choose an Appropriate Dog Bed

Supportive Dog Beds:

When it comes to comfortable beds, we often think of softness. However, beds that are too soft can cause a dog's joints to press against the floor, which is a disadvantage for senior dogs with joint issues. Beds with some firmness provide better support for a dog's joints. Additionally, if a dog lies on a bed that is too soft, the filling inside may be pushed aside, causing discomfort. Opting for orthopedic dog beds is ideal for senior dogs, as they are designed to support the dog's back and joints with memory foam filling, offering both softness and sufficient firmness. When selecting a dog bed, you can test its support by placing your hand in the middle of the bed. If your hand can touch the floor, it indicates that the bed may not adequately support the dog.

Avoiding Excessive Height in Dog Beds:

Some owners may choose elevated dog beds to prevent their dog's joints from pressing against the floor. However, after a night's sleep, a senior dog's joints may become stiff, and jumping down from a high bed can cause severe pain and even joint damage. To prevent this, it's advisable to lower the height of the dog bed and avoid placing it in elevated locations. Additionally, it's best to opt for beds without rails to facilitate easy access for the dog.

Balancing Warmth in Dog Beds:

While some owners prioritize warmth in dog beds, overly warm beds can make dogs uncomfortable and disrupt their sleep. Since many senior dogs experience incontinence, owners can choose bed covers that are removable and washable. Furthermore, to accommodate seasonal changes, owners can invest in two types of dog beds: a cooler one for summer and a warmer one for winter.

6. Seeking Professional Help

If the above methods fail to alleviate the problem of an older dog not sleeping at night, it is advisable to seek professional help promptly. A veterinarian can tailor a treatment plan based on the dog's specific health condition to help alleviate pain or discomfort. Additionally, the veterinarian can prescribe effective sleep aids for the dog to improve sleep quality.

Ensuring a comfortable sleeping environment for your senior dog is essential for their overall well-being. With proper rest, your furry friend will wake up refreshed and ready for new adventures.

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