Dog Whining at Night: 6 Causes Plus Tips to Stop the Behavior

Learn how to stop a dog whining at night and sleep more peacefully with these tips. Understand the common reasons why dogs whine at night, such as anxiety, boredom, or pain, and how you can help meet their needs.

Dog Whining at Night: 6 Causes Plus Tips to Stop the Behavior
Learn how to stop your dog from whining at night with these tips.

Photo by Jan Kopczyński

Many dog owners struggle with their dogs' nocturnal noises, whining and crying for no apparent reason. It can be tricky to distinguish what dogs want: are they unhappy; lonely; sick; scared? I'll help you get to the bottom of the cause. But the biggest question you might ask is how to stop a dog from whining at night. Thankfully, there are easy ways to correct this behavior and help our dogs sleep better. Below, I'll share some tips that have worked for me and many others.

Why Do Dogs Whine at Night?

By understanding what our dogs are asking for by whining, we can fill their needs and help them (and us) sleep more soundly. There are many potential causes for the behavior, but some typical ones are listed below.

1. Medical Issues

Is your dog in pain or feeling ill? If so, he may be communicating his distress and seeking your attention.

  • Take your dog to the vet for a thorough examination to address any medical concerns.
  • Please follow their advice and treatment plan if your vet needs to correct anything.

Senior dogs may whine excessively due to discomfort, anxiety, mental health issues, hearing loss, or other medical conditions. Older dogs tend to be more vocal at all times—whining, barking, or howling.

2. Boredom or Excess Energy

Does your dog receive enough mental and physical exercise throughout the day? If not, he may become restless and frustrated at night and whine to release his pent-up energy or to ask for more activity.

You can avoid this by ensuring your dog gets enough physical and mental exercise.

  • Depending on your dog's breed, age, and temperament, they might need 30 minutes to 2 hours of daily exercise.
  • Walk, run, play fetch, tug-of-war, or any other games your dog enjoys.
  • Provide interactive toys, puzzles, or chew toys that entertain your pet.

You'll help your dog burn off his energy and calm his mind by providing more exercise and mental stimulation.

Address boredom and exercise your dog physically and mentally to prevent nighttime whining and frustration.

Image by Frank from Pixabay

3. Confusion or Anxiety

Does your dog have a consistent routine or know what to expect from you? If not, he may feel insecure or anxious and whimper to seek your reassurance or guidance.

  • Establish a daily routine for your dog, including regular feeding times, potty breaks, playtime, training sessions, and bedtime.
  • Stick to this routine as much as possible and avoid sudden changes that may confuse or stress your dog.

Your dog will benefit from a routine because it will increase his sense of comfort and self-assurance in his surroundings. A sense of security lessens worry and the need to whimper or whine all night.

4. Discomfort or Dissatisfaction

Is your dog comfortable in his sleeping area? Does it suit his preferences and needs? If not, he may feel too hot or cold, and whines to express his displeasure.

  • Create a comfortable area for your dog to sleep that makes him happy. The sleeping space could be a crate, a bed, or a comfy blanket.
  • Make sure it's clean, cozy, soft, and spacious enough for him to stretch and turn around comfortably.
  • Add items that make him feel more relaxed and safe in his bed, such as a piece of your clothing that smells like you or his favorite toys.

Your dog will feel more comfortable and content in his space if you provide a pleasant environment. A relaxed dog is usually a quiet and sleepy one!

When your dog whines at night, he's trying to tell you something. Learn what and how to stop it.

Photo by Jacob Curtis on Unsplash

5. Dependence or Separation Anxiety

Does your dog hate time away from you or being alone in general? If so, he may experience separation anxiety and whimpers during the night to get your attention or to ask for your company.

  • Teach your dog to be independent and confident on his own. You might do this by gradually increasing the distance and time you leave him alone in his sleeping area.
  • Reward him for being quiet and calm in his sleeping area. Please give him a treat, praise, or a pat when he settles down and stops whining.
  • Ignore him when he cries; only give him attention when he is quiet. Doing this will teach him that whining doesn't get him what he wants, but quiet behavior does.

By teaching your dog to be independent, you'll help him cope with being alone and reduce his separation anxiety. These steps will help your dog become less needy and more self-assured.

6. Learned Behavior

Has your dog learned that whining works to get what he wants from you? If so, he may continue to repeat the behavior, hoping you'll do the same thing.

  • Avoid reinforcing your dog's bad habits. Please don't give in to his whining or reward it.
  • Instead, ignore him completely or give him a firm "no" or "quiet" command. Only give him attention or affection when he's quiet and calm.

By breaking bad habits, you'll help stop the night-time whining behavior while learning how to make your dog go to sleep calmly with a re-trained mind.

How Pheromones Can Calm Dogs and Prevent Whining

Animals use pheromones, which are organic chemical signals, to communicate with one another. They can affect their behavior, emotions, and physiology. So you may consider using a dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) as a natural and effective way to stop a dog from whining at night and help them sleep better.

  • Mother dogs release this this type of pheromone to their puppies to calm them and make them feel secure and comforted
  • DAP can also help adult dogs cope with stressful situations and feel more relaxed and confident.

For nighttime use, an Adaptil diffuser is best. Just put it in an open area where your dog spends the most time. Using synthetic DAP products mimics the effects of natural DAP and helps your dog feel less nervous, clingy, and whiny. As a result, everyone in the household rests much better.

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When to Talk to a Professional

You may need to speak with a qualified dog trainer or behaviorist if you need help with the above tips or your dog's excessive or persistent whining. They can offer a tailored solution that fits your dog's requirements and personality and assist with relevant problems like aggression, fear, phobias, or trauma.

You can better communicate with your dog by learning to interpret his signals and body language. A professional can provide knowledgeable advice and direction on improving your dog's behavior and sleep quality.

Final Thoughts

These tips have helped many dog owners find a way to stop a dog from whining at night and help them sleep peacefully. Solving this problem is straightforward when you combine knowledge with patience, love, and consistency. Remember, your dog is not behaving this way to ruin your sleep purposefully. He's just trying to tell you something or get something he needs. By understanding and meeting your dog's needs, you can stop his nighttime whining and strengthen your bond.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2023 Louise Fiolek


(Excluding for the Headline, this article ("story") has not been edited by MiBiz News and is published from a web feed or sourced from the Internet.)