Dog Waking In Middle Of Night

by Jim

Reader Question: Why Is My Dog Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night?

Our 5 month old jack, Sibble has started to wake up in the night recently and it is getting worse. It started about a week ago when a vixen was howling in the woods. That night she whined all night and we ignored it. Since then she has started earlier each night. We thought we may have needed out so have been letting her out with no praise or chat. Just out for a pee etc and back to bed but it all seems to be getting worse. Has anyone got any tips for us?



Vet Answers Reader Question Regarding Canine Waking In Middle of Night

Hi Jim,

Whenever a pet undergoes a sudden change in behavior, the first think I like to do is to rule out potential medical causes. Your dog may not be feeling well for some reason – perhaps she has some GI issues, a urinary tract infection, etc. – and that could explain her whining and difficulties sleeping. In your case, I would start with a physical exam, and unless the problem was obvious at that point, move on to a general blood chemistry panel, complete cell count, urinalysis, and fecal examination.

If the work up results in a clean bill of health, then you can move on to behavioral modification. You may have inadvertently reinforced your dog’s behavior by letting her out – she did get some attention even though you didn’t praise her or interact with her much. A good rule of thumb is to ignore behaviors you don’t like and praise behaviors you do like. Any type of reaction will generally make a behavior more rather than less likely to continue. If your dog continues to whine at night, a veterinary behaviorist could help by putting together a behavioral modification protocol specific to your dog’s case and maybe even prescribing medications that would increase its effectiveness.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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