Home > Daisy, Dog Behavior, Pet News, Pet Ponderings > Does your dog lose sleep?

Does your dog lose sleep?


IMG_2594The weather has been a little crazy here in Minnesota this past week. Thunderstorms, crazy lightning, high winds, downed trees and power lines, and flooding – you name it, we’ve had it (well except maybe for tornadoes, and trust me, I’m good with that).

As a result, we’ve been a little sleep-deprived here at Casa del Mel. All the storms hit in the middle of the night or in the very early morning hours which meant every deep sleep was interrupted by a dog jumping up on the bed and shaking like a leaf. Daisy.

There are two things that terrify Daisy ore than anything – thunderstorms and fireworks. Usually her Thundershirt calms her and allows all of us to get some sleep, but these storms have been so violent and loud that even it didn’t seem to make a difference. The only other way to calm her was to lie down next to her and rub her belly, but of course that meant I had to be awake to do so. No sleep for me. No sleep for Daisy and no sleep for Cupcake and Jasper either. Their nightly sleep patterns were interrupted so they were out of sorts too.

As it turns out, the sleep deprivation had an effect on all of us. Usually my dogs like to keep to a schedule (up at 5 AM), but this time they slept in. I wasn’t the only one moving slowly the past few mornings. They were too.

Maybe that’s why this piece I saw in Psychology Today (“Do Animals Worry and Lose Sleep When They’re Troubled?”) resonated with me so much. As it turns out, we humans aren’t the only ones who lose sleep when we are worried or stressed. Animals do too.

“There’s plenty of research that shows clearly that nonhuman animals (animals) worry about various events that are happening in their lives and that they lose sleep when they are uneasy, anxious, distressed, troubled, or on edge.”

Dogs who lose sleep can appear to be more groggy in the morning.Certainly, my dogs seemed to demonstrate that. I just thought they appeared so because they were reacting to me. (Watching me stumble around the house in the morning could very easily have exhausted them. It’s not a pretty sight to see.) But, as it turns out, they were just as tired as I was and this became more evident on Sunday when I realized that they were less motivated to go outside every few hours. In fact, they spent a majority of their Sunday just lying around the house, sleeping. Go figure.

This article has me kind of curious if anyone else has witnessed this behavior in their own dogs. Have you ever noticed your dog losing sleep over a stressful or worrying situation? If so, what was the situation and how did you know? And while I am at it, have you noticed your dogs acting more tired the day after a bad storm rolls through town?

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  1. June 23, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    We’ve been fortunate enough that none of our dogs have had fears of storms or fireworks. But we don’t get thunder storms in CA, so lucky us. Tino would get stressed and restless if it rained for too long and he couldn’t go outside for a few days…he loved being outside. Eventually, he’d just go out and fall asleep under the deck or a bush.

    • Mel
      June 24, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      Thank goodness you do not have them. But, of course, you have earthquakes. I’m not sure how my dogs would do with that. I can understand Tino being restless. Jasper has been the same way before.

  2. June 23, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Sissy Jenny (cavalier) and I are not scared of storms but Scooby Doo is. Ma has lost a lot of sleep at night due to Scooby running across her. We have worked with him on his fears and he is really good but we have had some of those types storms that you have spoke of here in Ky where the lightening is bright and the house shakes because of the thunder. It’s hard to prepare him for those type storms. Ma received some Storm Soother from Blogpaws that really seems to help. BUT we can’t give it to him over 2 times in the same day or he starts scratching like there is no tomorrow.

  3. June 23, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Yep, Sherman is a Nervous Nelly, as I like to call him. If things aren’t right in the house, like my husband or me is out of town, or even if the kids are at a sleepover, he is very restless. He gets up throughout the night several times and changes sleeping spots. He usually takes a very good nap the next day when everyone is back home safe and sound. Sherman just recently became fearful of thunder and fireworks too and he will do the same things, very restless, panting and needs to be right next to someone.

    • Mel
      June 24, 2013 at 6:40 AM

      Poor Sherman. That makes for a very rough night. He takes his guarding duties seriously. It sounds like on those nights he suffers from sleep deprivation too. Poor boy. We feel your pain over here at Casa del Mel. Let’s hope you get lots of sleep before the fireworks start Sherman.

  4. June 23, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Donna will usually sleep in the afternoon but if a thunderstorm comes, she tries to climb or just stay down and tremble until she calms down on her own as the rain lightens. But thunderstorms are pretty much common place around here so she’s back to her usual happy self pretty fast. 🙂

    • Mel
      June 24, 2013 at 6:38 AM

      Sorry they are so common there. It sounds like Donna has learned to weather through it with no residual effects. Thank goodness huh?

  5. June 24, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    No fear of storms or fireworks here. Brut is the most obvious when he’s stressed he constantly paces and lays down. Usually when Blaze is in heat, or he’s tense about something like we haven’t had enough alone time together. And yes, there are plenty of days when all they want to do is sleep inside and not go out. Usually during when the barometer is low, the heat or there extra stress around the house.

    Sorry to hear about the lack of sleep around your house. That’s got to be hard on everyone. Hope the storms past so Casa del Mel can rest. 🙂

    • Mel
      June 24, 2013 at 6:36 AM

      THank you! So glad your dogs don’t have storm or firework phobias there. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have 6 dogs nervous and scared! My dogs pace when they are nervous too Brut. It’s hard ins’t it?

      Thank you. We are hoping that after tonight’s storm we can take a break, but of course, fireworks are next. 😦

  6. June 24, 2013 at 6:20 AM

    Since we live somewhere near you, we have had the same experience and can say that last night was wonderful for a change with no rain or storms. I sleep through it all but my sister and the cats have been up a lot during the last few nights and mom too…we were all really tired out by Sunday and really needed a good snooze!They say maybe storms again later tonight…we hope not. Gramma is at our house too because she hasn’t had power since Friday, at least she has a place to stay!

    • Mel
      June 24, 2013 at 6:34 AM

      Emmadog – we also had a good night’s sleep. It was heavenly wasn’t it?
      Like your sister and mom and Gramma, we were really tired out on Sunday too. We slept in really, really late. I am not looking forward to tonight’s storm at all. You got any control over that Emma? Can you ask Mother Nature to back off?

      Hoping your Gramma gets her power back soon. It’s been a rough go for a lot of people this past week.

  7. June 24, 2013 at 6:25 AM

    Yes, Mel…Our girl Penny is also frightened of thunder and fireworks. The fireworks have started early this year (kids) and Penny shakes like a leaf every night. We hardly get any sleep and you can see that Penny is also very tired the next day.
    She also senses when a thunderstorm is arriving. She starts shaking even before the thunder starts.

    • Mel
      June 24, 2013 at 6:28 AM

      Oh Alex and Trish – Poor Penny. I feel so bad for her because I know exactly what it’s like, Daisy is the same way too. Makes me so sad for her when she is so afraid. I am sure you feel the same way. It’s tough on everyone.

      Daisy also senses a storm before it arrives. I have been known to confuse that with her sudden late night need for a potty break only to discover it was really an oncoming storm.

      I hope the fireworks stop soon and everyone can get some sleep. Poor baby girl.

      • June 29, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        Thanks Mel…:-)

  8. June 24, 2013 at 6:26 AM

    By the way, I think that photo of Daisy is very adorable…:-)

    • Mel
      June 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

      Awww! Thank you!

  9. June 24, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Daisy looks so sweet in that photo! Have you ever tried a thundershirt or weighted blanket to try to comfort her? I have heard good things.

  10. June 24, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Titan is afraid of storms as well, if you missed my post a few weeks ago, I actually stayed home cause I knew it was going to be bad. The biggest comfort he has, other than his safe spots in the house, is the help from melatonin (which is safe) which allows him to relax enough to bear the storm. It’s a horrible feeling and a helpless one imo. I hope you can find some relief.

    • Mel
      June 24, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      I am so sorry I missed your post Bren. Yes, we can definitely relate. I have actually left work early before because of a bad storm heading my way. I will have to check out melatonin. Thank you for sharing.

      • June 25, 2013 at 4:33 AM

        Good luck with the melatonin. Not sure how much your baby weighs but at 83 lbs, Titan gets a 3 mg.

      • Mel
        June 25, 2013 at 6:37 AM

        Daisy weighs 65 lbs, so probably a little less than that. We have another storm coming tonight. 😦

      • June 25, 2013 at 6:55 AM

        Poor Daisy. I feel your pain. We only get storms during the warmer months in the east so by the time Titan gets used to them, winter is coming :/ Good luck if you try melatonin!

      • Mel
        June 25, 2013 at 9:38 PM

        Thanks Bren!

  11. June 24, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    I am very lucky in that Gizmo is not afraid of thunder or fireworks since we have plenty of both around here…But we’ve both lost sleep this week…I blame it on the full moon keeping us awake

    • Mel
      June 24, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      Thank goodness he isn’t too. It’s a rough go when you have a dog that is afraid.
      I am so sorry you still lost sleep. I hope you got to sleep in over the weekend. It could have been the moon too. 🙂

  12. June 24, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Wow, that’s interesting. We rarely have thunderstorms here although we have fireworks every night in the summer, so all our dogs have been used to that. I’ve really only known my pups to lose sleep when they are sick – which is stressful and then I worry and lose sleep too!

    Your crew gets up at 5am? Man, I love that Rita sleeps in! She hates Monday mornings. She loves to sleep in on the weekends! She’ll sleep til 9 or even later. It’s pawesome!

  13. June 28, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    I understand the early morning thing. Husband gets up at 5:00, and Vlad & Barkly are raring to go by 6:00–washing my face for me if I don’t.

    I’ve noticed them dragging around when we stay up late. They don’t seem to think it’s okay to sleep until we are. Barkly’s afraid of gunshots, fireworks, and loud storms too. We’ve had quite a bit of success with a Calming Collar, but have yet to try it on the fireworks part. We’ll see in a few days.

    Here in TN when we have those kinds of storms, I stay up with them so I’ll have plenty of warning to wake DH up and drag everyone down to the storm room. So yes, they drag around the next day.

    After reading this though, I think I’ll try harder to keep an earlier bedtime schedule so they’re not affected as much. Thank you!

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