How to Get Some Sleep When Your Pet Keeps You Up at Night
No matter how much you adore your pet, you may get irritated when your beloved companion constantly wakes you up at night. Your hungry cat may scratch at the bedroom door until you get up to feed it. The dog may whine, whimper, or even howl until you let it inside your room.
Sleepless nights are a common complaint among owners with indoor pets. How can you enjoy a peaceful night's sleep and keep your dog or cat quiet until the morning? Here are nine tips that will give you and your pets a peaceful nights sleep.
9 Nighttime Sleep Tips for Pet Owners
Cats are nocturnal. They typically sleep 16 to 20 hours per day. Felines spend two-thirds of their lives asleep. Domesticated cats become active during the night like their ancestor, the African wildcat. During those periods, your pet may try to wake you up because it wants to play or eat, or it just wants affection.
Younger cats can often wake their owners up in the middle of the night. When they get older, they learn to allow their pet parents to sleep at night.
Canines sleep 12 to 14 hours every day. Big dogs need more nap time than their smaller companions. Puppies sleep 18 to 19 hours each day. They stay awake an hour for every three hours they sleep.
Owners should follow these two steps before they address any pet-related sleep issues.
- Get a health check-up for your pet. Dogs or cats who wake up their owners at night may suffer from a physical illness. These can include incontinence, a urinary tract infection, or dementia. If you bring them to South Boston Animal Hospital for a checkup, we'll run several scans to identify any medical problems and prescribe appropriate treatments.
- Identify your pet's sleep schedule. Pet owners should pay attention to when their furry friends sleep. Learn what activities tire out your pet and causes them to fall asleep.
"Pet-related #sleep issues can be a thing of the past if you follow several easy tips." TWEET THIS
Here are nine tips to keep your pet from waking you up at night:
- Exercise your pet to expend its energy. Playtime is a great way to help your cat or dog to sleep through the night. Use toys that mimic prey. Allow your pet to catch items like toy mice, birds, and other animals. Play with your pet until it becomes tired.
- Engage your pet with enrichment activities during the daytime. These tasks will engage your pet's mind and make them tired. He or she will sleep through the night.
- Feed your fur babies during the evening. Dogs and cats will sleep after a big meal. You can buy a feeder with a timer to dispense food throughout the night. Your pet will learn to wait by the feeder rather than waking you up at night. Serve the last meal several hours before bedtime to make sure your pet doesn't wake up for a potty break at night.
- Take your dog out for a late bathroom break. Before you fall asleep, allow your dog to use the bathroom before bedtime. Younger dogs may make it through the night without using the bathroom. Older canines may have weaker bladders, so you'll need to wake up earlier to give them a bathroom break. Puppies also tend to use the bathroom more. Set a nighttime feeding schedule to reduce the need for potty breaks.
- Adjust your pet's sleep area in your bedroom. The Mayo Clinic conducted a study in 2015 that analyzed the sleep quality of people that slept in the same rooms as their pets. Researchers followed 40 people without sleep disorders. They attached an accelerometer to every dog and pet owner to measure their sleep quality. Scientists discovered the dog's sleep position affected owners the most. Canines who slept with their owners were more likely to wake them up. Pets who stayed in a separate bed in the room were less likely to wake up their owners.
- Create a sleep-friendly paradise in your room. You'll need to make your room as quiet as possible before bedtime. Put away your pet's favorite toys. Dim the lights or use shades that darken the room.
- Lock playful pets out of the bedroom at night. Change the area where your pet sleeps to get more sleep at night. Awakened pets may swat at their owners' faces or bodies during the night. If your cat or dog bothers you at night, place your cat or dog outside of your bedroom. Keep toys and other objects by the door to keep it from scratching at the door.
- Get a second dog or cat to keep your furry friend busy. If your pet loves socializing, get a second animal to keep it busy when evening approaches, but make sure they get along well.
- Don't reward your pet's bad behavior at night. Owners should ignore any whining, barking, scratching, or meowing from their pets at night. Unless they are sick, don't pay attention to these actions. Pet parents that focus on bad behaviors will only encourage their dog or cat to act out more. They'll repeat bad behavior that will keep you awake at night.
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About Dr. Natalie Waggener
Dr. Natalie Waggener has 17 years of experience in emergency work and general practice in Rhode Island, Florida and Massachusetts. She has a special interest in dentistry, wellness care and rehabilitation therapy. She is currently licensed in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island.