Updated at: 11-01-2022 - By: petstutorial

If your dog has been getting anxious, at night, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes of your dog getting anxious at night and what would make each of them more likely.

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So, why does my dog get anxious at night? Possible reasons why your dog gets anxious, at night, are that it has separation anxiety, it needs to pee, an issue with the room it sleeps in, a diet issue or inadvertently encouraging the behavior.

Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the most likely cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.

Why your dog gets anxious at night

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been getting anxious, at night, and what would make each of them more likely.

Separation anxiety

The cause might be that it has separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and it gets anxious when it is left alone. This would be more likely if it sleeps in a different room than you. It would also be more likely if it starts getting anxious when you would normally leave home or when you are going to bed.

It hears other animals outside

The reason why it does it might be that there are other animals in the backyard and your dog can see or hear them. This would be more likely if you have seen or heard other animals at night or if there are signs of them being in the backyard at night.

Needing to pee

Another possible cause is that it needs to pee. This would be more likely if it is a puppy and if it tends to get anxious more when it does not get to pee in the evenings.

An issue with the room it sleeps in

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It could also be the case that there is a problem with the room it has been sleeping in. It might be too hot, too bright, too noisy or there might not be enough space for it to lay down. This would be more likely if it has started getting anxious, at night, since a change in the layout of the room it sleeps in.

Boredom

Dogs are generally meant to get daily exercise. When they do not get enough exercise, it can cause them to behave abnormally and it might be the case that yours has a lot of extra energy at night.

Fearfulness

The cause could also be that there has been something causing it to be fearful at night. This would be more likely if it tends to get anxious more on certain nights such as when it is raining or very windy outside.

Encouraging the behavior

It could also be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it rewards when it behaves that way. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it gets anxious at night, it will encourage it to do it more.

Instead, it would help to reward it in the mornings when it does not get anxious at night, to avoid giving it attention when it is anxious at night unless necessary and to follow the other tips below.

An issue with its diet

It could also be the case that there is an issue with its diet. It might be the case that it has been eating too late at night, it has been eating too much, not enough, it has not been getting the right nutrients in its diet or it might be eating things it shouldn’t be.

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It would help to make sure that it has been getting the right diet, that no one else has been feeding it without you knowing and it might help to feed it earlier in the evenings.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the most likely cause of it becoming anxious at night.

What else happened when your dog first started being anxious at night

If your dog did not always get anxious, at night, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.

If it started doing it suddenly, it would make it more likely to be due to things such as a change in its diet, a change in its sleeping environment, illness, injury or another change in its lifestyle.

What is different when it is not anxious at night

It would also help to consider if there are some nights when it does not get anxious and what is different on those nights.

For example, if it does not get anxious on nights when it does not eat a certain food, it could be the case that there is an issue with what it has been eating.

Are some breeds more anxious than others?

Different dog breeds are known to have their own unique personalities, and researchers point out that these traits come from their specific DNA patterns[10]. That raises the question, then, as to whether certain breeds are more likely to experience anxiety.

To determine this, a research team asked dog owners to fill out a survey about their dog’s personality. Based on the responses, they found that certain dog breeds are prone to anxious behaviors.

However, they limited their findings to 14 breeds and 200 responses. In total, the team had received over 13,000 responses covering 264 breeds.

They found that Lagotto Romagnolos, Wheaten Terriers, and mixed breed dogs were most sensitive to noises. Secondly, Spanish water dogs, Shetland dogs, and mixed breeds are the most fearful breeds. Lastly, miniature schnauzers were more aggressive and uneasy around strangers.

Furthermore, these findings may not be entirely genetic but rather a combination of DNA and environmental factors. For example, mixed breeds are more likely to experience time in a shelter, which could increase their risk of developing anxiety.

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