Our Blog

sleeping dog

What do you do when your sweet puppy is keeping you awake?  Well, like any good mom, you investigate the problem and then take serious action!

You already know that dogs and cats have the same needs as any other mammal…food, water, shelter, exercise and companionship.  So if you have a fed, walked, well-loved and played-out puppy that simply won’t settle down and go to bed, you have a problem.

Rowdiness and playfulness in a puppy are normal. But taken to the extreme, it can cause all kinds of problems for his human parents.  And yes, some would say, “Oh, it’s just puppyhood.  He’ll outgrow it.”  But the problem may be deeper than that.

Even cute little puppies and kitties have a circadian rhythm – the cycle that tells your body when to get up and when to go to bed.  It’s controlled by light and when that natural rhythm gets out of whack, your puppy can’t settle down, because his body is telling him not to.  Think of it in the same way you’d think about insomnia in yourself.  You’re restless, wakeful and looking for any distraction.  Your puppy is in the same predicament.

The primary culprit is probably your light bulbs. Standard light bulbs – and especially CFL (curly) bulbs – emit a lot of Blue Light, which is  the same color spectrum as the sun, which have told animals and humans that it’s time to be awake. Dogs were never designed to live in artificial lighting, and the blue light is wreaking havoc on their poor little body clocks.

Before we get to the lighting changes you need to make, here are a few other tips you may or may not have tried to get your fur-baby to calm down and go to bed.

Create a bedtime ritual.

Just as with your human kids, routine is everything.  Set a bedtime and stick to it.  Create cues like dimming lights, giving a special treat only at bedtime and vocalizing your intentions to your puppy.  He may not understand the words just yet, but he will understand your inflection, and follow your lead.

Get a little extra exercise.

Puppies have a lot of energy.  And even though you think a 30-minute walk is enough for your pug, she might not think so!  So if she’s having trouble settling down in the evening, add a bit more exercise to help her burn off that extra energy.

Work in a little training.

Teaching your dog basic obedience is good for both of you.  Take this opportunity to teach a command such as “lay down” or “bed”.  Both of these can help divert your pup’s brain from play to obedience.  If puppy is on his bed, still and quiet, calmness will likely follow.

Remove unnecessary distractions.

Pick up toys and bones, speak calmly and state it is bedtime and let puppy know you are ready for bed.

Don’t be too harsh.

Yes, an over-excited puppy is frustrating and infuriating, but remember, he’s a little guy, just trying to understand his new world.  He doesn’t speak the language and there are so many interesting things to play with, smell, and taste.

Still not getting your pup to go to bed?

Your dog’s overall health will be improved if you change the light bulbs you use before going to bed.  A recently released study from Harvard University concludes that Blue Light – a type of UV light that is produced by artificial lighting like CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) – is detrimental to the circadian rhythm of animals, including humans and dogs.

Too much Blue Light at bedtime can cause insomnia by suppressing melatonin production in the body.  Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your (and your puppy’s) natural sleep cycle.  So too little melatonin at night can cause insomnia and restlessness.  Address it by turning out CFL bulbs for at least 2 hours before sleep-time.  Or, replace your CFLs with biologically-corrected LED lights, like these from Definity Digital. Both you and your pup will sleep better and be healthier.

Sebrina Smith

Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.

Comments are closed.