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Helpful Tips for a Dog’s Bedtime Routine

Every dog has problems with anxiety; after all, they are extremely in tune with their emotions and easily pick up on changes to their environment.  


There are times when a dog’s anxiety intensifies, and one of the most common triggers is bedtime. When everyone is beginning to wind down from a busy day, it’s time for your pooch to hit their basket, bed, corner, or wherever they tend to feel most rested. However, your dog has other ideas and could be particularly excitable, jumpy, or defiant! 


When a dog senses it’s time to sleep, they may get ‘zoomies’, become hard to control, or behave in an agitated manner. Don't worry, because no matter how bedtime-averse your pooch is, we have some great techniques for improving their sleep routine, eventually easing your dog into bed every night without struggle or panic.  


There could be bigger problems at play here, but it’s likely this bedtime issue can be remedied with a few simple changes. Consider the following bedtime techniques, and hopefully, your dog will be sleeping soundly in no time:  


Before bedtime  

To make sure your pooch feels rested and satisfied at bedtime, spend some quality time with them beforehand. This could be cuddling, playing with toys, or just sitting with them for a nice head scratch. The mental stimulation should exert their energy just enough to make them all nice and sleepy. Time spent together can also be a great choice if your pooch suffers from separation anxiety at night, as they’ll feel safe and secure in your proximity.  


Walkies before bed  

There’s no better way to release those powerful sleeping endorphins than a walk. Try a short extra walk with your dog in the evenings. Your furry friend will most likely love the outdoor time – or may refuse and just enjoy some fresh air at the door instead. 

The extra stimulation should wear them out within minutes of getting home, ready for a good night’s sleep. It will help tire you out, too!  


A calming treat  

A small amount of tasty dog-calming treats could be just the ticket if your pooch has a habit of getting angsty before bedtime. Calming treats generally contain naturally soothing ingredients, such as chamomile, hemp, or valerian root, giving your dog a boost of relaxation that should lull them into sleep mode. Treats can come as supplements, calming dental sticks, or dog bedtime biscuits, meaning there are plenty of ways to try and engage their appetite.  


A secure, comfy place to sleep  

A healthy sleep environment is key to deep, restful sleep, and that applies to dogs just as much as humans. If your pooch doesn’t have their own sleep spot, this is essential, whether it be a comfy basket, bed, blanket, or comfy corner they like to retreat to.  

Their sleeping spot should be cool, dry, and quiet, with no chance of sudden interruptions or lights causing them to feel nervous.  


Crate train your dog 

Though it’s easier to train a puppy, you can still train a dog at any age to improve symptoms of anxiety and unease. Dogs are naturally drawn to being in a den-like environment, so a crate should instill in them a sense of safety and security.  

You can always ask one of our team about gradually introducing crate training into your pooch’s night-time routine.  


Toys or comforters  

Ensure your dog has all their favourite self-soothers available, such as familiar blankets, cuddly toys, and comforters to snuggle up to. Sometimes it helps to have a special toy you only bring out at bedtime, so when it does appear, your pooch will know it’s time to be calm and settle down for the night.  


Calming scents and sounds  

Like cuddly toys and comforters, familiar smells show your dog that its bedtime can be a good way to get them into sleep mode. Some use air diffusers or a room spray that emanates special dog-soothing pheromones (a subtle lavender or soft ‘night-time’ scent), while others find putting on some soft, unobtrusive music in their dog’s sleeping area helps.  

On the other hand, just making sure there are no sounds at all in your dog’s sleeping space is another fail-safe route.  


Rule out anything health related 

If your dog usually settles easily at bedtime but suddenly behaves differently when it’s time to sleep, this could be an indicator of a health issue. Keep note of any changed behaviours, along with any other symptoms such as diarrhoea, a sudden loss of appetite, or increased anxiety, and take them to the vet for a check-up.  


Consistency is key 

Dogs thrive on routine, so ensure to keep to it.  

Everyone in the household must be on the same page when it comes to a new bedtime routine, as your pooch will not only expect it to be the same but hopefully look forward to it.  

It is key, and it really works.  


With some changes to your sleep routine, it could significantly improve the quality of life and hopefully improve bedtimes for the whole family. 

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