Is your dog whining at night? We all know how frustrating it can be when our dogs are not feeling 100%. If you have tried everything to get them to stop, but nothing is working, then there may be some underlying issues that need attention. We have some tips that will help ensure that they feel less stressed at home so that both of you can get a sound night’s sleep.
Why Is My Dog Whining at Night?
Here are some of the most common reasons that your dog may be whining and crying at night;
Separation or Generalized Anxiety
Some dogs struggle with anxiety when their owners are not around. If your dog sleeps in another room or even at the foot of the bed, it may feel too far away for it.
They will start feeling stressed that they cannot see you, which can lead to whining or barking.
Dogs with generalized anxiety won’t only whine and stress out when they are away from you. They may do it throughout the whole night, without any trigger.
This is because a dog with generalized anxiety struggles to relax, and it may even become even more agitated in a silent and dark environment.
Your dog may feel bloated, gassy, or in pain in its abdomen. They may try to deal with the discomfort by whining or barking all night long.
If they have a sensitive stomach, it can be quite challenging when trying to sleep through this type of noise without being woken up by them moving around frantically on your bed.
Going out for a potty break may help, but if the root cause of the digestive problem is deeper, they may need to take supplements or even change their diets.
It Needs a Bathroom Break
If you have a new puppy or are just getting to know your dog’s sleeping habits, then it may be that they need to go out for a potty break.
Since puppies can’t control their bladders as well as adults can, this is more likely the case with them if the whining only occurs at nighttime.
However, if your dog is older and has never had this problem before, then it may be something else.
There are some health problems that can make dogs whine at night. These include things like pain, a urinary tract infection, or even cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).
If your dog is regularly whining during the night and you have ruled out all of the other potential reasons, then make sure to take them to a vet for an examination.
It is Bored
If you have just moved into a new home, or your dog has become more bored in its environment due to lack of exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day, then it may whine all night long.
Late in the night, your dog may feel particularly stressed and agitated from this lack of stimulation.
They may try to get your attention by whining or barking, as this is what you do when they need something. Ignoring or scolding your dog could make this worse, since they will likely only want more attention, so it’s important to find a more sustainable and compassionate solution.
It’s a Young Pup
If this is your first dog, or you have just gotten a new puppy recently, then it may be that they are not used to sleeping through the night on their own.
Young pups need more sleep than adults do in order to grow and develop at optimal rates. If they don’t get adequate rest during the daytime, then they may whine and bark at night as a way of getting your attention.
They may also need to use the bathroom more frequently before they are fully house-trained, so be mindful that you may need to take your pup out overnight for the first few nights.
You can also place a pee pad or litter box in your dog’s sleeping area so that they have an appropriate substitute if they need to go potty at night.
Your Dog Wants to Sleep in Bed With You
If your dog is whining at night, it may simply be because it wants to sleep in bed with you.
This isn’t always a bad thing – many dogs enjoy sleeping next to their humans and feel safer and more relaxed that way.
However, if the constant whining is keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep, then you may need to consider if your dog sleeping with you is more important than your personal comfort.
Why Is My Dog Suddenly Whining at Night?
If your dog is whining at night and this is a sudden and unusual occurrence, there may be a physical or medical problem that needs to be addressed quickly. Some common problems associated with nighttime whining can include:
- Ear infection
- Allergies or asthma
- Coughing, gagging, or choking
- Pain from injury or arthritis
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms, please take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog is having trouble breathing, walking, or standing, then please go to the emergency room immediately.
If the situation doesn’t seem acute or life-threatening, you can wait until the following day to take your dog to the veterinarian. Even if it is not life-threatening, there may be some underlying conditions that can cause discomfort or pain and should still be addressed by a professional.
Another reason your dog may suddenly start whining at night is that something has happened in the environment.
Dogs have a fantastic sense of hearing, and they can pick up on things that we cannot. If there is a change in the way your home sounds (a new baby crying, construction going on outside, etc.), or if something else has changed in their routine (someone moving in or out of the house, a change in work schedule for one of the pet parents), this can cause a dog to feel stressed and anxious.
If someone has unexpectedly entered your home or if there is a stranger outside, your dog may start to whine. Dogs will also bark or growl as a way of warning us about potential danger.
Don’t completely dismiss this behavior, because it could be the difference between life and death for you and your dog in the most extreme cases.
How to Stop a Dog From Whining at Night?
Assuming that there is not an underlying medical condition, here are a few things you can do to help stop your dog from whining at night:
Invest in a Comfortable Dog Bed
Dogs are den animals, so they will naturally be drawn to your bed if you allow them.
This can create issues when it comes time for them to sleep through the night without human contact. It may seem like a good idea at first because you want your pup to feel safe and secure next to its owner, but this behavior can quickly become a nuisance.
A good way to combat this is to provide your dog with its own comfortable bed that it can retreat to when they want some peace and quiet.
This may take some time for them to get used to, but eventually, they will learn that this is their designated sleeping area and will not bother you at night anymore.
Put their toys in bed and give them an occasional treat for lying in it to help reinforce their behavior.
Stick to a Routine
Dogs thrive on routine, and one way to help stop them from whining at night is to create a set bedtime routine for your pup.
This can include things like taking them outside for a bathroom break before bed, providing them with a toy or chew bone to keep them occupied and giving them a final belly rub before saying goodnight.
If you stick to the same routine every night, your dog will eventually learn that this is when it’s time to sleep and will stop trying to get your attention at odd hours.
Create a Calming Environment
Some dogs may start whining if they hear or smell something that is unfamiliar to them.
If there have been any changes in your home (a new pet, a baby, etc.), try to create a calm and soothing environment for your dog at night.
You can do this by playing classical music or nature sounds near their bed, using an aromatherapy diffuser, or providing them with a soft blanket to lay on. Using white noise such as a fan or an audio clip can help to create a more soothing environment as well.
Exercise During the Day
One way to help stop your dog from whining at night is by ensuring that they are getting enough exercise during the day.
If their energy levels are starting to get low, then it may cause them to act out in undesirable ways like barking or howling, and this can include waking you up in the middle of the night.
Take Your Dog Out to Potty Right Before Bed
Another way to help stop your dog from whining at night is by taking them outside to potty right before bed.
This will hopefully cut down on the number of times they need to go during the night and help them to develop a sense of consistency.
Reward Good Behavior
As with any training, rewarding your dog for good behavior is a must.
You can do this by giving them several belly rubs throughout the day and providing their favorite treat right before bedtime.
Use training techniques to positively reinforce their behavior and set your pup up for small wins so that they feel satisfied, accomplished, and accepted.
Ignore the Whining
Sometimes, by responding to your dog’s whines, you are actually reinforcing the behavior.
In order to break this habit, you will need to completely ignore them when they start whining and only pay attention to them when they are quiet.
This may be hard at first, but with time and patience, it will work. Be consistent with your responses so that your dog knows what is expected of them.
Crate Your Dog
If all else fails, you may need to crate your dog at night.
This can be a last resort measure, but if done correctly, it can help your pup to learn how to sleep through the night without disturbing you.
Make sure that their crate is big enough for them to stand up and turn around in and put some comfortable bedding inside so that they will be more likely to sleep in it.
Once your dog is comfortable with the crate, start by putting it in it for short periods of time (15-20 minutes) and gradually increase the amount of time they spend in there each night.
Eventually, they will be used to sleeping in the crate and will stop whining altogether.
The small protective crate may even make them feel more comfortable and secure at night in the long run!
How to Stop a Dog From Whining at Night in a Crate?
Crates are meant to help with potty training and can be a safe place for your dog to sleep, but you may find that your pup starts whining in the crate at night.
If this is happening, there are a few things you can do to help stop the behavior:
Make Sure You Have the Right Size Crate
Make sure the crate is big enough for them to move around in comfortably and for them to stand up and turn around. If it’s too small, then they will whine as a way of expressing this discomfort.
Make the Crate as Comfortable as Possible
Provide comfortable bedding inside the crate so that your pup has something nice and soft to lie on while sleeping there. Make sure not to put any small toys or food bowls inside, because these can cause choking hazards.
Large plush toys and a little bit of water are ok if your dog can be trusted with them at night.
Use Exposure Therapy
Start by putting your dog in the crate for short periods of time (15-20 minutes) and gradually increase the amount of time it spends in there each night. This will help them to get used to sleeping in the crate and stop whining.
Let Your Dog Get Used to the Crate
Leave the door open so that your dog can come and go as it pleases. This will help your dog to feel more in control and less pressured to spend time in the crate, making it more likely that they will relax at night.