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What Can I Give My Dog to Sleep at Night? 7 Common Sleep Aids

Key Takeaways

  • Dog owners have many options when it comes to effective sleep aids for dogs. Visiting a vet is the only true way to know which sleep aid will work best for your pup. 
  • Multiple factors go into determining the best treatment for sleeplessness, such as your pup’s age, breed, weight, symptoms, and current health status.
  • While melatonin or other drugs might be right for one dog breed, it may not be the ideal treatment for another dog breed. The same is true for the many other sleep aids on the market. 

Sleep is crucial to a dog’s health, so if your dog isn’t sleeping throughout the night, it’s understandable that you’re a little concerned. According to several experts, many dogs who don’t get enough sleep every night may be at risk for infections due to a severely weakened immune system. Although these are fairly uncommon, there’s still a decent probability for it — I myself have seen this to be the reason behind sleeplessness in a few of my friends’ dogs. In these cases, it’s common for vets to prescribe melatonin supplements, same as with us humans.

But you may not have to treat dogs with drugs just to get them to sleep at night. Often, I find that all it takes to make a dog sleep is to alleviate anxiety, or address any other unusual behaviors and underlying issues that can be causing the sleep disorders.

How Much Sleep Should Your Dog Get?

Before giving your dog sleep aids, you should know how much sleep your dog actually needs. In general, dogs sleep a lot more than humans. According to many experts, most dogs require between 12 and 18 hours of the day. And puppies need even more sleep than older dogs.

An adult dog sleeps the least out of all life stages; senior dogs tend to need as much sleep at night as puppies — about 18 to 20 hours — and they usually want to sleep earlier too. A few medical conditions like epilepsy and narcolepsy could also affect your dog’s sleeping habits.

Do Certain Dog Breeds Sleep More Than Others?

Many studies suggest that bigger dog breeds generally get more beauty sleep than smaller dog breeds.

Sleeping French Bulldog.

The dogs that tend to sleep all day are considered the laziest dog breeds. A few of the laziest dog breeds include French Bulldog, Japanese Chin, Bullmastiff, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Why Does Your Dog Have Trouble Sleeping?

Good dog sleep is a necessity, but why can’t your furry pal get some rest? If your dog is usually unable to fall asleep peacefully, you may be wondering why. These are some reasons why your dog may be struggling with sleep. 

Pre-existing Factors


Dogs who suffer from this condition often have trouble sleeping because they’re unable to simply settle down. Clear indicators of anxiety include constantly pacing at night, chew toys licking, and other forms of restlessness. Anxious dogs could be specifically experiencing separation anxiety, or it could stem from another factor.

Canine Allergies

More than likely, your dog may be up all night if it has encountered a food allergy or flea infestation. One of the primary symptoms of these canine allergies is excessive itching, making it almost impossible for your dog to sleep. 

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions such as kidney disease, upset stomach, and sleep apnea could result in restlessness.  Mental and neural issues such as canine cognitive dysfunction can also be a significant contributing factor to insomnia.

Skin Conditions

Whether your pup is battling allergic dermatitis, hot spots, or another common skin condition, skin problems are often unbearable for dogs. A skin condition might just be the thing keeping your dog up at night.


Does your dog whine excessively or breathe heavily at night? Many dog owners are unaware that these are the most common signs of pain. A dog who constantly experiences pain is definitely not a happy dog.

When your dog experiences discomfort because of arthritis or another condition, it may have trouble laying down comfortably. If your dog’s bed isn’t comfortable, the pain could be greatly exacerbated. Make sure to give them plenty of anti-inflammatory foods in their diet — going with a homemade recipe for arthritis may be best for this.

Brown dog on bed with plushie.


If you have an older dog, your best pal may not be able to sleep due to the various health conditions that come with age. On the other hand, puppies may have trouble sleeping because of their high energy levels. 

External Changes

A New Routine

A predictable routine makes your dog feel safe and secure, but disruption to this daily routine and sleep schedule can bring about a restless and anxious dog. Fortunately, this should clear up in a few days to a few weeks if you’re consistent with this routine change.

A Change In Environment

Did you and your pup just move recently? A recent relocation could explain why your dog’s sleep isn’t the best. The new environment could greatly overwhelm your dog because it’s adapting to many new things. In my experience, frequent walks help alleviate this quickly.

Night Terrors

Did you know that dogs can also experience nightmares? The signs that your dog is experiencing a nightmare include yelping, crying, panting, sleepwalking, and twitching paws during sleep.  

The Addition Or Loss Of A Family Member

When the dynamics in a family change, your dog could feel uncertain and confused. If you have added or lost a household member, your dog could be staying up all night worrying and pacing. 

Lack Of Physical Activity

For most dogs, exercise supports a more peaceful sleep. When you take your dog on a daily walk, you help release your dog’s excess energy. As nighttime approaches, your dog will begin to feel sleepy. If your dog isn’t getting enough physical activity, you may notice that it is restless at night.

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What Can You Give Your Dog To Sleep At Night?

Do you spend countless hours of the day wondering how you can get your dog to sleep? Don’t worry. Many owners feel the same way as you do right now. Discovering the best sleep aids for your dog isn’t necessarily easy. In many cases, it’s trial and error. Always work with a vet to determine the best sleep aids for your pup’s bedtime routine. The following are some great sleep aids to ensure that your dog starts getting a good night’s rest sooner rather than later. 

Calming Chews

Have you heard of calming chews yet? There are several different calming chews on the market that serve as excellent sleep aids for dogs. The top calming chews are made of high-quality ingredients, and they are great at easing restlessness to make your dog sleep. Many dogs love calming chews because they come in several different flavors. Calming chews can be purchased online and at the pet store.  


Recognized as a natural sleep aid, melatonin has been shown over and over again that it’s a really great supplement to help dogs get better sleep at night. The drug is generally safe for dogs of various weights. Just avoid giving this drug to nursing/pregnant dogs and puppies. Many vets will recommend melatonin for treatment of sleep cycle disorders in dogs.

CBD Supplements

CBD oil in bottle.

Many pet owners swear by CBD supplements to help their dogs get a good sleep at night. CBD supplements work by easing your dog’s anxiety. These excellent supplements are currently available in treat and oil form. Many vets would say that CBD supplements are great at improving your dog’s sleep.  

Injectable Dog Sedatives

A vet may recommend injectable dog sedatives for your furry friend because they can work quickly. The most common injectable dog sedatives include Telazol, Diazepam, Acepromazine, and Butorphanol. 


Most pet owners I’ve told this have had trouble believing it at first, but Benadryl is actually a great treatment for improving your dog’s sleep at night. This over-the-counter product is formulated with diphenhydramine, the most common ingredient found in sleep aids for dogs. While this is an over-the-counter drug, you’ll want to ask your vet if it’s appropriate for your dog. 

Organic Over-The-Counter Sleeping Pills

If you go to a pet store or shop at one online, you’ll like to find several, relatively new organic over-the-counter sleeping pills for dogs. These organic sleeping aids may be formulated with key ingredients such as passionflower, chamomile, lemon balm, and many more.

If you want your furry friend to relax a little bit before getting a good night’s sleep, talk with a vet about whether or not you should give this product to your dog.

Prescription Medication

In order to treat severe anxiety that’s causing restlessness, a vet may prescribe your dog medication. The most commonly prescribed medications that are used to treat a dog’s restlessness include Acepromazine, Temazepam and Trazodone for dogs. A vet may choose to treat this condition with prescription hypnotic medications such as Eszopiclone, Zaleplon, and Zolpidem.

Valerian Root: Derived from the plant Valeriana Officinalis, valerian root may be able to calm down your dog so that it can sleep better at night. Make sure to ask a couple of vets if they recommend this herbal supplement for your dog.

As a reminder, always double-check with an experienced vet before giving any of these medications to your dog. A vet will know the most appropriate sleep aid for your dog. Be sure to tell your vet your dog’s current symptoms, weight, and age. 

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1. What can I give my dog to sleep through the night?

The best way to decide what to give your dog to sleep throughout the night is to talk with an experienced vet. Based on your dog’s symptoms, current health status, and age, a vet may suggest calming chews, melatonin, or organic over-the-counter medications. A vet may also recommend prescription medications such as Acepromazine, Eszopiclone, and Temazepam. If you run across a promising sleep aid, make sure to run it by the vet before giving it to your dog. After giving your dog a vet-approved sleep aid, it should be getting a good night’s rest without any problems. 

2. Is there a natural sleep aid for dogs?

For dog owners who do not want to rely on prescription medications, there are several great natural sleep sides for dogs. Melatonin is always a popular choice because it’s typically safe for a wide variety of dogs. Organic over-the-counter sleeping pills can also be a great natural choice. While they aren’t known just as a medication for sleep, CBD oils and supplements can also be a great natural sleep aid. Make sure to ask your doctor if Valerian Root is a good natural sleep aid for your dog too.

3. Is there a sleeping pill for dogs?

Sleeping pills are usually great for a dog to help it sleep better. Depending on your dog’s symptoms, age, and condition, a vet may prescribe sleeping pills for your dog. Melatonin is a popular sleeping pill that many dog owners have given their dogs. In more recent years, many companies have also created organic over-the-counter sleeping pills. 

4. Can I give my dog Benadryl to help him sleep?

Many vets would suggest trying Benadryl to help your dog sleep. The product could reduce your dog’s anxiety, ensuring that it goes to sleep almost instantly. Just make sure you adhere to the exact guidelines. Avoid giving Benadryl to really small puppies. Benadryl is currently available over-the-counter.

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