Is your puppy not sleeping? When to worry or not is the question you may be struggling with, especially as puppies are known for their spirited, yet fragile nature. Whether you breed puppies or you simply got your pup from an accredited breeder or pet store, you might start to panic when you notice that your beloved fur baby is not sleeping as much as it needs to.
But should you worry or not? Read on to find out about what you should observe, expect and do.
Reasons Young Pups Become Restless at Night
Before we discuss whether or not you should worry about your beloved animal baby, it is important that we know what causes this issue. Check out the reasons why your furry dog fails to sleep at night.
Just like humans, puppies can also suffer from insomnia. While insomnia in dogs is rare, your furry companion can have such sleep disorder because of various factors. Usually, this issue comes up when your pet experiences a combination of several issues, causing it to lose sleep. Usually, you can treat your pup’s restlessness can go away when these other symptoms are addressed.
However, experts say that insomnia in adult dogs can emerge due to various health problems. For older animals, cognitive dysfunction and brain degeneration are leading causes of this sleep disorder.
Dogs have feelings, too. Because of this, they are also vulnerable to anxious feelings, caused by a wide variety of reasons. As puppies, these animals are used to being near their mothers and other puppies in the litter. When taken away from the pack, your pup may suffer from separation anxiety.
Other sources of anxious feelings can include social interactions, illnesses, stress, trauma and changes in routine. Keep in mind that generalized anxiety also exists in dogs causing them to feel restless.
Too Much Energy
One of the most common activities fur parents do is walking their animal babies at designated times within the day. This helps keep your pet fit, while also giving you the exercise you need. Aside from being a great form of exercise, going on a walk with your dog also helps use up excess energy.
When your dog fails to release its pent-up energy, it ends up getting hyper, leading to destructive behaviors. Excess energy also causes it to lose sleep. If you are worried that your pooch will run amok during your exercise, take it as a great opportunity to train it to walk on a dog lead or leash. For over energetic dog, you can use a dog training collar to get control over them.
You also need to consider your dog’s diet. These animals have a huge appetite. If your animal companion has been eating too much sugar and carbohydrates, its primary source of energy, then it is likely to have a lot of excess energy.
Aches, Pains and Itches
As mentioned, your canine can suffer from restlessness because of health problems. Pups are developing dogs, making them more fragile than adult ones. Because they are still maturing, they may experience various pains due to teething. Such discomforts can also be caused by an acquired or even a genetic disease such as hip dysplasia.
Besides aches and pains, your pooch may be having trouble sleeping because of itches due to flees and skin conditions including allergies, yeast infections, impetigo and ringworms.
Aside from physical problems, your puppy’s sleep may also be disturbed by various external factors. One such issue is a noisy environment. If your neighbourhood is near streets where roadworks occur or vehicle pass by at night, then this may be a reason why your canine fails to get a good night’s sleep.
Another issue you may want to address is the presence of night-time insects, bothering your dog. Remember that these animals can clearly hear soft noises made by insects. These critters may also bite your furry companion.
Symptoms You Should Look Out For
Aside from restlessness at night, your pooch will exhibit other signs that it is having trouble sleeping. Here are just some of the tell-tale signs that your puppy may be suffering from lack of sleep and its effects:
Lack of Energy During the Day
Perhaps the most obvious sign of night-time restlessness is your pup’s lethargy during the day. Usually, baby dogs have high energy levels, especially after a restful slumber. They are naturally playful and perky, especially Shih Tzu puppies. However, no matter what breed your canine is, its fatigue and weakness during daytime can be worrisome to fur parents.
This is especially concerning if your pooch has not displayed such kind of behavior in the past. So, if you observe your dog showing signs of slowness and sleepiness at times when it is usually energetic, then it may not be getting enough sleep.
Poor Motor Skills
One of the most common effects of sleep deprivation in dogs is the lack of control over motor skills. As the brain fails to recharge and refresh, your dog will react to stimuli slowly because of confusion and lethargy. This is because of the brain’s reduced coordination with the body.
So, if you suspect that your pooch has not been getting the slumber it needs, keep an eye on its movement. Lack of balance, clumsiness and poor focus are just some of the symptoms of sleep issues.
Changes in Appetite and Behavior
Puppies who have not been getting enough sleep may also exhibit changes in eating habits and disposition. In humans, sleep deprivation results in low levels of ghrelin, the hormone that tells the brain that the body is hungry. When a person lacks sleep, the body produces less ghrelin, resulting in a lack of appetite and even hypoglycemia. The same mechanism applies to dogs.
If you notice your dog eating less or that it has stopped eating entirely, it can be a result of lack of sleep. Aside from failing to consume its usually diet sleep-deprived canines also show changes in their behavior. Your once affectionate and charming pup suddenly become moody and withdrawn. It can act irritable and even aggressive when it does not get enough rest.
Signs of Pain
While your pooch may have the best appetite, another reason your fur friend is having restless nights may be because it is suffering from aches and pains. Because of this, you need to look out for signs that it is injured or experiencing pains. As your pup feels pain when it moves, it will be less active and playful. When it does move, it is likely to walk with a limp. It may even vocalize its pain by whimpering, whining and crying out when moving or being picked up.
What to Do to Restore Your Dog’s Health
Now that you know what may cause night-time restlessness in your pup and what symptoms you should look for, you might be wondering how you can nurse it back to health. Below are some of the best practices when treating a pooch with health problems.
Seek Professional Veterinary Care
Number one in our list is what every pet owner should do when they think that there is something wrong with their fur baby: consult a veterinarian. Whether you are concerned about your puppy not eating or that it is being fidgety at night, a professional veterinary care provider is the best person to tell whether you should worry or not.
These individuals spent years studying the physiology of animals, making them qualified to make medical opinions about your pooch. Moreover, their conclusions will not be based on assumptions but based on observations and tests. Depending on the vet’s diagnosis why your dog isn’t eating and sleeping, your pup will be prescribed the right medications, treatments and diet to restore its circadian rhythm and appetite.
Give Your Pet Enough Exercise
After you go to the veterinarian and your canine has been cleared to go home, you need to make sure that you monitor your dog’s activities and behavior. If sleep deprivation is the main problem, then one of the things you should do is to ensure that it gets the exercise it needs. Walking and playing with your pets are just some of the best ways to guarantee that it burns off fat, energy and stress.
By giving it enough workout, you can prevent a whole lot of health issues including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and appetite problems. Moreover, it helps burn off excess energy, making it less destructive and well-behaved at home.
Keep Track of Your Pet’s Food Intake
In line with exercising, you want to guarantee that you have been feeding your animal companion with the right food. While feeding your pooch energy-giving dog food is a good thing, keep in mind that a balanced diet should be your top priority. This way, you can prevent overloading it with energy, while ensuring that it gets the vitamins and minerals its body needs.
If your puppy was separated from its mother at an early stage of its life (first four weeks of its life), then it failed to nurse from its mother. This deprives your fur baby the puppy milk to make sure that it gets the nutrients it needs to grow healthy. Combined with the right dog food, your canine is bound to develop an appetite for the replacer, allowing it to get the right sustenance.
You may be thinking of giving your furry friend alternatives such as cow’s milk, but it is important to know that this will give your pooch diarrhea. Don’t lose hope though. Your vet can point you to a good milk replacer that is readily available in the market.
Remember, there is food that humans eat that are harmful to your pet. Need some help? Here is a puppy feeding guide to help you determine whether or not you should feed your dog specific kinds of food:
What to Feed
Your dog will have an appetite for human food, giving you a variety of options to choose from.
- Plain yogurt
- Lean meat
- Apple slices
- White Rice
- Canned food
What Not to Feed
While your dog’s appetite for human food can be a good thing, your pooch is not aware of what items are harmful to its body. Some fruits and vegetables unsafe for them, as they induce vomiting and diarrhea, and accelerates the development of disease. To protect your pup, keep the following away from your fur friend:
- Macadamia nuts
- Grapes and raisins
- Raw meat and fish
- Apple core and seeds
- Garlic and onions
- Dairy products such as cow’s milk
- Alcoholic products
Appetite-related sleep problems can be difficult to address. You need to be careful of feeding your puppy in large amounts after it stopped eating for a while, as this can cause stress to its stomach. You can gently coax your pet to start eating again by giving it training treats. Moreover, make sure that it drinks water for hydration. If you think that your beloved animal is not taking as much water as needed, then consider feeding your dog wet food.
Let Your Dog Meet New Friends
As mentioned, your pooch may be suffering from anxiety-induced insomnia. Being away from its siblings and its mother affects its feelings, behavior, activities and health. If reuniting your puppy with the litter is not an option, then a good alternative is socializing it with other dogs. After all, meeting friends of its kind is good for dogs’ health. Going to the dog park or simply setting play dates with fur babies of your friends and family can definitely boost your pup’s mood and appetite, which can lead to a happier and healthier life.
Set Up a Doggy Camera
Lastly, you might want to install a doggy camera to help you keep a close eye on your pet. This way, you can monitor your dog’s activity even when you are at work. If you are worried about your puppy not eating, you can leave a bowl of food before leaving for the grocery to get dog food or to do some short errands. With this, you can take a peek on how your fur baby’s appetite is while making sure that you get things done. Just remember that dog food should not remain in the bowl for more than 3 hours.
This also allows you to monitor if your dog has been able to sleep soundly after following the vet’s instructions. Plus, you will have the ability to play the footage, allowing you to see what your pup has been up to while you are sleeping!
As the saying goes, dogs are man’s best friend. However, when our pups suffer from health issues, we step up to show that they can rely on us, as well. Being a fur parent may not be easy, but you want to make sure that your pooch will have the best life. By following this guide, you can give your dog the healthiest, happiest and most comfortable life you can offer.