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Not Sleeping

Poodle is Not Sleeping Well

Poodle Question: 

 Hi, I have a toy Poodle named Charles who is almost 3 years old. He is in great shape and has no health conditions, his last vet checkup was just about 4 months ago. 

The problem is that he is not sleeping like he used to. He lays in his dog bed for hours before his eyes close and he keeps waking up during the night, and its not because he needs to go to the bathroom. 

My question is, can Poodles have insomnia? And if so, what can I do to help him? 

~ Jessica 
Answer:  Hi Jessica. Yes, Poodles and all other dog breeds can have insomnia. While this is not common for Poodles, it is not unheard of. There are several reasons why this is happening and most can be resolved. The most common reasons for a dog having insomnia are:
  • The dog is upset/ Can sense that his owner is upset
  • A lack of exercise
  • Changes in the weather
  • The dog is uncomfortable
  • There is a medical problem
Let's look at each one to get a better idea of what could be causing your Poodle to have trouble sleeping. 

1st, being upset. Some Poodles are very sensitive to their owner's moods. If there is arguing in the home or a general feeling of unrest, your Poodle could be picking up on that. If your Poodle just recently had a canine friend move away or has not received visits from a well-liked family member, this could be causing Charles to feel sad and could be affecting his sleep. 

Think about any changes in the home environment that could be causing your Poodle to feel restless. If it is something you can resolve, do so. 

For example, if a neighbor's dog is no longer available for your dog to play with, try bringing your Poodle to a dog park for some canine playtime, etc. If it is something that you have no control over, the best way to help a dog feel better about something that is causing distress is to offer a new activity that has not been done before. Poodles do great with at-home agility courses; but even something like working on a new command can work since it makes a dog focus on something new and then receive reward.

2nd, a lack of exercise. Has something changed that has changed how often Charles is exercising? Perhaps a change in your work schedule? For example, if Charles is used to 1 good walk per day for 30 minutes, lowering that to a 20 minute walk every other day could be causing sleep disruption. 

A Poodle can have a lot of pent up energy if they do not receive enough exercise. A good walk for at least a 1/2 hour is the minimum...and any extra exercise such as a 2nd walk or play time in the yard can be very helpful.

Even if you have been walking your Poodle the same as before, it could be that his requirements have changed due to changes in metabolism, etc. Adding a nice brisk walk about 2 hours before bedtime can help. Finally, in regard to activity, having too much close to bedtime can make it hard for a dog to fall asleep. Their bodies get revved up and it can make it hard to relax enough to sleep well. So, be sure to have a good 1 to 1.5 hours before bed at which time the environment is calm, lights are dimmed, etc. to prep your Poodle for sleep.

3rd, a change in the weather. Dogs, and we have found this to be particularly true with the Poodle breed, are very sensitive to weather changes. If you live in an area which has been experiencing a lot of storms, it could be as simple as that. In addition, increased heat can affect a Poodle. When the weather is hot, a Poodle can eat up to 20% less. It can also affect their sleep.

If the room in which Charles normally sleeps is colder or hotter than usual, do try to maintain temperature control which will greatly help if this is the case.

4th, being comfortable. Could it be that your Poodle's doggie bed is getting old and not as comfortable as usual? Even quality beds need to be replaced every 4 to 5 years. Or have you recently gotten a new bed for Charles that perhaps is not offering the same type of support that he is used to? Accessing his bed would be a good idea.

5th, a medical problem. This is not likely, since you did just bring your Poodle for a check up a few months ago. However, just to be on the safe side, we would recommend another checkup. Be sure to mention the insomnia issue to your Poodle's veterinarian. Since a health issue can develop at any time, it is always possible that something started effecting him soon after the last visit. 
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