Anxiety, fear, noise, lack of exercise, dementia, and age are all things that can affect your dog’s sleep at night. Whilst this guide won’t help you diagnose why your dog has insomnia, it will offer some help if you want to know what to give your dog to sleep at night.
Before I start though, I want to be very clear on something. I do not recommend that you ever give your dog sedative drugs intended for human use, unless you have been advised to do so by a professional vet.
However, there are multiple instances online where pet owners have given advice on how to make a dog sleep instantly at night, and what you can give them. In this guide, I will be compiling a lot of what I’ve other people recommend – but with a main focus on dog friendly drugs.
You might be able to solve your dog’s insomnia with these simple remedies.
What can I give my dog to sleep at night?
If you pet owner, you will know the pains of getting your dog to sleep at night once it gets into a pattern of not sleeping. Puppies howl throughout the night; an anxious dog will pace and whine. Insomnia in dogs and puppies is rare but can also be a sign of anxiety and stress.
If your dog is keeping you up all night, you may be tempted to reach for a bottle of melatonin and call it a day. Technically, yes, you can give your dog melatonin in the correct dosage and with veterinary advisement, but there are other options that have fewer repercussions.
Regardless of the reason for you wanting to make your dog sleep with drugs, there appear to be safer ways to do it than to reach for something in your own bathroom cabinet.
We’ll go through the medicinal routes, the non-medicinal routes, and how to prevent insomnia and anxiety in your dog.
Important note: You should check with your trusted, professional veterinarian before administering any medication to your dog to solve their sleep problems. There could be underlying health issues causing your dog to stay awake that need to be addressed.
Handy Hint: If your dog makes gurgling noises when breathing in his sleep it could be the sign of a health issue.
How to make a dog sleep with drugs?
Giving your dog human drugs is always a cause of nervousness in dog owners. We never know how medicines may interact with their unique biochemistry.
You have every right to be nervous. It is imperative you check with your vet first. That said, let’s dive into some medicinal methods to make a dog sleep with drugs all through the night.
1. Melatonin for dogs
Melatonin has the same sedative effects in dogs as they do in humans. It is often used to help dogs with separation anxiety, hyperactivity, and even epilepsy in some situations. It’s one of the more popular drugs for people wanting to know how to make a dog sleep with drugs.
If your dog is struggling to sleep, melatonin is probably one of the better choices you can give to a dog to get him to sleep at night. With dosage guidance from your veterinarian, melatonin is an effective sedative that helps dogs sleep through the night.
You can acquire melatonin in a variety of forms from tablets to liquid drops, powder to capsules. You can mix it into food to make it easier to digest.
With regards to Melatonin dosage for dogs by weight, Vet Info suggest the following:
- 1 mg for dogs weighing less than 10 pounds.
- 5 mg for dogs weighing between 10 to 25 pounds.
- 3 mg for dogs weighing between 26 to 100 pounds.
- 3 to 6 mg for dogs weighing over 100 pounds.
That said, your dog may have specific sensitivities, so your vet will know best.
If you do decide to try melatonin as something to give your dog to sleep through the night, there are dog-specific melatonin chews on Amazon.
2. Rescue Remedy for pets
This is totally anecdotal, but Rescue Remedy has always worked well for my dogs. This herbal based stress-relieving solution is designed to help to calm your dog and might aid with sleep too.
They have a specific product just for pets with proven anxiety-soothing properties. You can buy it on Amazon.
I used it during a cross-country drive with my then 2-year-old French Bulldog to keep him calm and serene during the entire trip. I have a friend who also gives this to their dog to sleep at night – so recommendations from two owners!
3. CBD oil for dogs
CBD is the latest sensation in the worldwide herbal community. CBD oil has long been used as a calming sedative for humans, so of course, there are now equivalent products for pets.
Are you effectively getting your dog high? A tiny bit yes, but mostly CBD oil just has a tranquilizing effect to help your dog sleep.
It is important to note that this is a relatively new treatment, so there isn’t much research into dosage and long-term health effects of CBD oil for dogs. Consult your vet to get a better idea of how much you should use, or if you should use it at all.
Other things you can give your dog to help him sleep
Medicating your dog may seem a bit extreme, so what other options do you have?
Here are some alternative ways of helping your dog sleep at all through the night.
Every dog loves a nice tummy massage, but even more so if they are anxious and restless. A gentle rub down in the evening can really help your dog to relax.
Use your hands with gentle pressure sweeping across their body. Dogs love to be massaged around their back, stomach, neck, and head.
Stay away from any areas your dog feels uncomfortable being touched.
Play calming music
A study conducted in the UK showed that dogs find classical music relaxing! It evens their heart rate, keeping them mellow after having been stressed in an animal shelter.
Your doggy clearly has great taste. Turn up your lo-fi beats and Mozart to settle your dog in for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Handy Hint: Anxious dogs will often find it hard to sleep at night. I’ve put together some tips on how to calm your dog down at night which will help.
Sometimes your dog is restless because they feel lonely. If your dog doesn’t sleep with you, which is around two-thirds of Americans, then they may be feeling separation anxiety when you turn in for the night.
This is particularly common if your dog is quite young. Puppies often whine when their owners are away.
That is not to say that you should let your dog sleep with you. There are pros and cons to both and this is a very personal decision.
However, an evening cuddle and bonding session can help your dog to feel calm before bedtime.
Handy Hint: Keep your dog’s sleeping area warm during cold winter nights as this will help them sleep better through the night.
Prevention is the best way to get a dog to sleep at night
Establishing a routine
As with human babies, dogs thrive off of routine. Consistency helps your dog feel settled in your home.
To get your dog into a healthy routine, first, start with your typical daily routine and work backward. When is most convenient to walk your dog?
If you feed your dog twice a day, when are these mealtimes? The time you feed your dog can affect their sleep at night.
After establishing mealtimes, you can work out bathroom breaks which should be around 30mins after eating.
Bedtime for your dog depends on how late their final meal is and when they typically feel tired.
As an example, this is the daily routine for my dogs:
- 30AM – Breakfast
- 8AM – Daily walk
- 12PM – Dental biscuit
- 30PM – Dinner
- 8PM – Back door closes for the night
- 9PM – Bedtime
If you have a tired puppy, they will sleep a lot better. Just like toddlers!
Crate training really helps your puppy or dog to establish a bedtime routine.
For effective crate training at night, you need to make the crate as appealing, comfortable, and cozy as possible. It needs to be a safe space that your dog wants to shelter in.
The more positive the associations with the crate, the better.
Once your dog feels secure and safe in the crate, you can turn it into a dedicated sleeping spot at night. They will know that when you put them in the crate at nighttime, it is time for sleep. That should hopefully help to regular their sleep patterns.
My dog became so used to this routine, she started putting herself in her crate whenever she wanted to nap during the day and go to sleep at night. It was just her sleeping cave! That is the level of comfort and security you want.
Top tip here is not to force it. If post puppyhood, your dog doesn’t love the sheltered life, don’t force it upon them. Crates are not for every dog into adulthood. Rescue dogs in particular may struggle if they already have negative associations with crates or cages.
The importance of exercise
A hyperactive dog can be difficult to settle at bedtime. This is amplified if they are not well exercised during the day.
Of course, this very much depends on your dog’s personality and breed. For example, Jack Russel Terriers are known for being super high energy and needing long, active walks.
Whereas Shih Tzus are much more relaxed on the whole.
Your dog’s temperament and required exercise level are definitely important. Ensure that as part of your regular routine, your dog is getting the stimulation they need to be nice and tired by the end of the day.
There are many drugs in your own bathroom cabinet that will make a dog sleep instantly, but to administer them would be extremely dangerous. Only ever use sleeping drugs designed for dogs or that have been approved and recommended by vets.
Whilst we would all love a magic want to make our dog sleep all through the night, it doesn’t exist. Drugs can be a short-term solution, so talk with your vet about any behavioral issues.
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