How do you help a dog with nightmares?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

As a dog owner, it can be distressing to see your furry friend experiencing frequent nightmares. Just like humans, dogs can have dreams that may be unsettling or frightening for them. If you want to help your dog with nightmares, there are a few strategies you can try to make their sleeping environment more relaxed.

1. Create a calm sleeping environment: It’s important to provide your dog with a safe and comfortable sleeping space. Make sure their bed or sleeping area is in a quiet and peaceful part of your home. Consider using a crate, if your dog is already crate-trained, as it can provide them with a sense of security and make them feel like they have their own den.

2. Use quiet music or white noise: Playing soft, soothing music or white noise can help drown out any external sounds that may be disturbing your dog’s sleep. Choose music specifically designed for dogs or opt for calming nature sounds. This can create a more peaceful atmosphere and help your dog relax.

3. Try a pressure wrap: Some dogs find comfort in wearing a pressure wrap, such as a Thundershirt. These wraps apply gentle, constant pressure to your dog’s body, which can have a calming effect and help alleviate anxiety or stress. It’s similar to the feeling of being swaddled, which can be soothing for dogs.

4. Stick to a routine: Dogs thrive on routine, and having a consistent bedtime routine can help them feel more secure and relaxed before sleep. Establish a regular bedtime, and try to engage in calming activities with your dog before bed, such as a gentle walk or some quiet playtime. This will help them wind down and prepare for a restful sleep.

5. Provide mental and physical stimulation during the day: Ensuring that your dog gets enough mental and physical exercise during the day can help prevent nightmares. A tired dog is more likely to have a deeper and more peaceful sleep. Engage your dog in interactive play, provide puzzle toys, or consider enrolling them in training classes or dog sports to keep their mind stimulated.

6. Consult with a veterinarian: If your dog’s nightmares persist or seem to be causing significant distress, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. They can rule out any underlying medical conditions and provide additional guidance or recommend behavior modification techniques or medication if necessary.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It may take some trial and error to find the best solution for your dog’s nightmares. Be patient and observe how your dog responds to different strategies. With time and a little extra care, you can help your furry friend have more peaceful and restful nights.