Crying is a form of communication in dogs, just like whining or squealing. He sends a message, he expresses his discomfort. There is a whole range of cries: from yelps to wolf howls. Does my pet mean the same thing when he talks like this while sleeping?
Discover the reasons why a dog cries when he sleeps.
Cries of the dog in his sleep, it all depends on his age
The first criterion to analyze when your dog cries at night is age. Indeed, if it’s still a puppy, it’s completely normal, it just requires a few adaptations. On the other hand, if he is an adult, you will have to ask yourself some questions.
My puppy cries at night
Your puppy has just left the environment in which he was born and raised, with his brothers and sisters, his mother. He suddenly finds himself with new people, without animal presence, without his bearings or even the human who took care of him on a daily basis…
This can be experienced as a brutal shock, he just needs time to get used to it.
In this case, let him sleep in your room for the first few days (his presence on the master’s bed is controversial). You won’t get him used to it badly or make him “capricious”, you’ll just help him manage the transition.
Then, with education, you can gradually move his basket away if you don’t want to have him with you at night in your room. At first, you will push the basket while keeping your room open, then, little by little, you will move it away and close your door.
During the adoption, ask the breeder or the shelter to leave you some fabrics impregnated with the smell of his environment, sometimes, that reassures certain animals. Smooth acclimatization is less traumatic for a dog.
In no case, if he cries, you should punish him or scold him, especially not shout, as that would cause stress for him. Adoption is being prepared and it does not always go like a letter in the mail, which in no way prejudges the future which can then proceed very well with the appropriate education.
My dog is an adult, but he cries at night
You must then ask yourself several questions: is it suddenly or has he always cried? Did you change anything in your daily life? Are there new noises, new people, and works in the environment?
If the reason is external, as with a puppy, you need to give your pet time to get used to the change. Some are more adaptable than others. Many dogs are afraid of storms, for example, or fireworks.
If you help her with the slightest cry, you may reinforce and reward her behavior. It is therefore better, at first, not to react.
If it lasts, check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog isn’t feeling pain somewhere or suffering from any illness. Once you have checked his physical condition and his health, if all is well on this side, several possibilities are available to you.
When the dog cries at the end of the day, it is sometimes a sign of a lack of physical activity and excess energy. Then try to offer him a walk in the evening, and extend it if he already has one.
The walk is an opportunity to relax him, to de-stress him, but also to allow him to empty the excess energy that he has been able to store.
Also, check the temperature of the room he sleeps in. Indeed, sleeping and remaining inactive makes it more sensitive to cold and draft. In this case, if the room is too cool, consider turning on the heating or turning it up. If the summer is too hot, you can buy him a cooling mat.
Finally, decorate his basket with a few soft cushions or blankets, plaids, or fleece… they will make his sleeping place more welcoming and comfortable.
My dog squeals when he sleeps
When the dog squeals, it is most often in the dream phase. Dogs sleep a lot: 18 to 20 hours a day when they are puppies, then 10 to 15 hours as adults. Their rest time depends on their physical activity. The more they spend, the more they sleep. However, as with humans, their night is divided into cycles.
Deep sleep (about 1 hour 30 minutes) during which their cerebral activity slows down, then paradoxical sleep (about 30 minutes) during which brain activity is intense: they may experience small jolts or spasms, and this is often at this occasion that they squeal or yelps. Researchers have proven that on this occasion, dogs, like humans, dream.
But in their dreams, they can bark, move their legs, run…
Did you know? Small dogs dream more often, but not as long as large dogs. Every 10 minutes for children and every hour for adults.
What happens in a dog’s dreams?
According to the researchers, dogs relive events that happened in their day, just like we humans do. Their dreams, therefore, depend not only on the dog and its personality but also on its environment and activities.
The race also influences their imagination. The companion dog will see himself more in his home while the purebred dog will project himself in pursuit of prey.
When a dog is sleeping, do not wake him up or disturb him, even if he makes small sounds. These are normal and the animal recovers and recharges its energy. If you intervene, your pet may end up confused, and may even show signs of aggression, when it is not in his habits.
If you are still worried about the noises your dog makes while he sleeps, do not hesitate to make a video and then make an appointment with your veterinarian, he will be able to advise you. With age, in dogs as in humans, sleep may become more complicated and disorganized.
My dog howls like a wolf when he sleeps
Nothing is more disturbing than a wolf howling in the middle of the night! It sends some of us back to ancestral fears, fears of a bad omen or an accident. Yet it is a form of canine communication, used in some dogs.
It is generally a message which is addressed to the pack, in particular when a wolf is lost, in order to indicate to the other members where it is. In this case, the other wolves answer him with the same howl. These howls also signal to other animals in the pack that rivals have invaded their territory, it is a warning.
When the dog makes this type of sound, it can either indicate that it feels lost and disoriented due to a rude awakening, for example or is dreaming that its territory is being invaded.
It can also be a response to a sound the animal heard while sleeping or waking up that it takes for a call from a fellow animal (it can actually be the sound of a musical instrument, a police siren, etc.).
As for the small high-pitched cries, it is communication-related to what he experiences while he sleeps or when he wakes up.
This type of cry concerns certain so-called lupoid breeds, that is to say, those which bring together the Husky, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, the Alaskan Malamute, etc.
My dog moans when he lies down
If your dog moans when he sleeps, you don’t need to worry. On the other hand, if he does it when he goes to bed or when he gets out of his basket, it may be due to a disease or joint or even muscle pain. Moving from standing to lying down (and vice versa) can cause pain.
If your dog is older it could be a sign of osteoarthritis, if he is younger he may have injured himself. In this case, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to check that your dog is not moaning in pain. It deserves your attention all the more if he did not do it before.
My dog is having nightmares, how should I react?
We all wondered if it was possible for a dog to have nightmares… the answer is yes! How to detect them and what to do?
How do you know if they are nightmares?
Nightmares result in growling, barking, moaning, and all kinds of crying.
Often their breathing quickens due to the stress these bad dreams cause. They may even wake up suddenly. Just like in humans!
Nightmares are difficult to distinguish from REM sleep or a beautiful dream in which your pet sees himself active, running, or barking. You must therefore observe all the signs he sends back, and make sure that his cries are associated with anxiety.
In general, dog nightmares refer to past situations. Indeed, our companions do not have as much imagination as humans, which is why their dreams are related to lived events.
A dog with a painful past has more reason to have nightmares than a furry ball that has spent its life surrounded by love and cuddles.
4 Legs who suffer from separation anxiety are also prone to nightmares. They are afraid of loneliness and this impacts their night.
How do I deal with my dog’s nightmares?
Under no circumstances should you wake your dog up as this can disorient him. Indeed, the nightmare occurs during deep sleep, a delicate period that should not be abruptly exited. Rest assured, nightmares rarely last longer than a minute.
However, it is possible to act upstream to limit or appease them. First, find the cause and if possible, eliminate it. It can be, for example, the regular encounter with another dog who is unfriendly, or a child who does not respect dogs.
Then exercise it as the effect is soothing. Walks, games, meeting friendly congeners…
Create a cocoon around his basket. Quiet place, soft cushions, possibly soft music. Limit noise and movement around your pet when it sleeps.
Do night terrors exist in dogs?
We often compare the behavior of the dog with that of a child who has night terrors. Nightmares are not night terrors. As a child, he seems awake and present, he cries, but is unaware of his condition. Despite appearances, the child remained asleep. It affects deep sleep.
The dog may either have nightmares or experience REM sleep behavior disorder that does not occur in the same cycle. So they are not night terrors. In this case, it leads to physical activity that can be violent while he sleeps.
The dog can then bump into walls or attack objects. He then wakes up normally, as if nothing had happened. In this case, the veterinarian can prescribe a treatment that reduces this activity.
What should I do if my dog barks at night?
When the dog does not just cry, but barks, it can be very complicated with regard to the neighbors. Indeed, nocturnal noise is sanctioned.
To prevent a dog from barking at night, it is, therefore, necessary to put in place several actions:
- Visit the health professional to make sure he does not suffer from back pain, arthritis, or other health problems.
- Place the dog in a quiet environment, away from noise and movement, with windows, curtains, and doors closed.
- Prepare a comfortable, soft basket adapted to the ambient temperature. For older dogs, memory foam baskets are cozier.
- Allow access to your room if your dog is anxious away from you, or, at least, leave him, at night, an item of clothing or fabric with your scent.
- Make sure your dog gets his daily dose of exercise and a balanced diet.
- Give your dog all the attention he needs, play with him, and offer him a context in which he feels calm and loved.
If nothing has any effect, contact a behaviorist or a dog trainer, he will be able to advise you according to your situation.