You had a long day.  You just finished a ton of paperwork. You were in three different meetings.  You interviewed countless applicants earlier today. Finally, you’re home. You had your warm shower and just headed off to bed.  Just when you switched off the light, you hear your dog whining, snarling, and scratching. So you start to think. Is your dog punishing you for being away the whole day? Surely not. So, why can’t your dog sleep at night?

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Dogs don’t have late nights.  They do not have deadlines to meet.  No projects to complete. So when you notice that your dog is wide awake at night making all sorts of sounds with unusual behaviors, he probably is letting you know that something is just not right.  Here are the most common reasons why your canine companion is up all night.

First Time Away From Mom Can Be A Reason Why Your Dog Can’t Sleep At Night

Puppies that have been recently adopted are more likely to be heard whining or crying at night.  They will scratch endlessly trying to get out of their crates. This behavior is common but not normal, hence, it should not be ignored.  They have just been taken away from their moms and litter-mates. If you can obtain something that smells like his mom, it will calm him down. Some breeders send a cloth with mom”s smell on it home with puppies they sell.

It is probably their first time alone in a strange environment.  Take this as an opportunity to bond with your pup.  Bring his crate inside your room or keep the door open so he sees you. By doing so, he learns to be comfortable without you having to be always at his side. Fear may be why your dog can’t sleep at night.

golden retriever, dog, puppy
JacLou (CC0), Pixabay

Allergies and Other Skin Problems

Your furry friend just turned two but he starts scratching again.  So you wonder, is that the anxiety again? With the length of time he’s been with you, probably not.  Scratching is the ultimate response of dogs when they have a stinging itch. Unlike humans, they cannot apply soothing creams to relieve the itch.

 This might be because of some allergic reaction. He may have picked up some pollen when he was in the garden or have eaten a piece of chicken meat at your niece’s birthday party.  To avoid the risk of a reaction to an allergen, wash your dog’s bedding regularly and bathe him using dog shampoo that has a moisturizing effect.

Be mindful of his surroundings, too. Maybe the heater is on and he is simply feeling too warm.  If none appears to be helpful, reach out to your vet as his allergic reaction might be something that needs medication. It may be why your dog can’t sleep at night.


Restlessness in dogs might be an indication that they are in pain.  If you notice your dog is unable to find a comfortable position in sleeping, he might be having joint pains.  Arthritis is common especially in senior dogs, especially in larger breeds. Have a talk with your vet about pain management. If his condition is accompanied by labored breathing and coughing specifically at night, he might have congestive heart failure.  No matter what time it is, immediately take your dog to the animal clinic.

sick puppy
Poor puppy does not feel well

Dementia Can Be A Reason Your Dog Can’t Sleep At Night

Like humans, our four-legged friends can also experience confusion and disorientation. Some people call it “dogzheimers” disease. Funny as it may sound, canine dementia which is clinically known as canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) can be a serious health condition.

 The most common sign of CCD is a sudden change in their sleep-wake cycle. Once you notice that your senior dog consistently stays up at night without a known reason why, it’s time to visit the vet. Although medication is not 100% guaranteed to work on all dogs, we still suggest that you discuss it with the vet.  Regardless of why he is not sleeping, it needs to be addressed as sleep is as important to your dog’s health as it is to yours.


tired pup
Sleepy dog needs some rest

Photos Courtesy of Pixabay

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As Wife, Mother of 5, and Nana of many more, I have known and loved many dogs who were treasured members of our family. My education, experiences in showing, breeding, and developing pedigree-based breeding programs for others gives me a strong background upon which to base articles of interest to most dog lovers. However, it is my great love for dogs that gives me the passion to share them with other dog lovers.


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