No one wants to be woken up during the night by their dog barking. However, this can happen to many dog owners, especially if they are very young or in their elderly years. Whatever the reason behind a dog’s barking may be, all dog owners have asked themselves at one time or another: why does my dog bark at night?
Generally, dogs bark at night because they are trying to alert their owner of something or because they are feeling anxious. Occasionally barking during the night can also be a sign of a health condition.
In this article, we will be describing all of the possible causes for your dog’s nighttime barking. We will also be answering some commonly asked questions and providing you with some additional things that you should consider about this topic.
Reasons Your Dog Barks At Night
There are many reasons why dogs bark at night. However, some are much more common than others. For example, a puppy barking at night because he needs to use the bathroom is more common than a dog barking because of being in pain.
Here are the 15 reasons your dog barks at night.
Your Dog Is A Puppy
Puppies are usually still learning how to sleep through the night and wait to go to the bathroom, especially when they are still young. As a result, puppies barking during the night because they need to go outside is extremely common.
In addition, sometimes puppies wake up, and they are just wondering where the heck their family went to, which can cause them a bit of anxiety.
Your Dog Is In His Elderly Years
Like puppies, elderly dogs can have a hard time holding in their pee. This can cause them to bark during the night if they do not have access to outside. In addition, confusion and dementia can cause an elderly dog to bark as well.
Your Dog Needs Something
Dogs will often bark during the night when they need something, such as needing to go outside and when they are hungry or thirsty. As a result, it is essential to have a routine and always ensure that all of your dog’s needs are met before going to bed.
This includes making sure that they are fed, have gone outside to use the bathroom, and have had plenty of water.
Your Dog’s Routine Has Changed
Having a daily routine is very important for most dog owners. However, occasionally things disrupt this routine, such as traveling, changes in the family, and sometimes even just work hours.
This can cause some dogs some stress and anxiety, and sometimes this also means that they aren’t getting as much exercise and mental stimulation that they usually do. All of these factors can lead to dogs barking at night.
Your Dog’s Environment Has Changed
Like changes in routine, changes in the environment can cause some dogs to become anxious or stressed out, and occasionally this can change up a dog’s daily routine. As a result, some dogs may bark due to stress, anxiety, and sleeping in a new place.
Your Dog Is Bored
Boredom and restlessness can trigger a dog to bark, even at inappropriate times such as during the night.
The only way that you can stop this type of barking is to make sure that your dog is receiving enough exercise and mental stimulation during the day for his age, size, and breed. You can provide your dog mental stimulation and exercise by doing things like:
● Going for daily walks and exploring new areas
● Providing a variety of toys
● Playing games like fetch and tug of war
● Providing your dog an outlet for running around and meeting other people and dogs
● Participating in dog sports like agility, lure crossing, etc
Your Dog Didn’t Get Enough Exercise That Day
It is vital that your dog is tired if you want him to sleep throughout the night, and your dog is more likely to become bored and restless at night if he has not received enough exercise that day.
Luckily, this type of nighttime barking can easily be fixed, and it only requires more exercise for your dog during the day.
You Accidentally Rewarded Night-Time Barking
Some dogs learn that barking gets them attention from their owner, and this can quickly become a problem, especially if it is happening at night. If nothing appears to be wrong, all of your dog’s needs are met, and he wants to cuddle with you, then this is likely the cause of your dog’s nighttime barking.
Unfortunately, the only way to reduce this type of barking is always to ignore it consistently. This includes both at night and during the day.
Your Dog Hears Strange Sounds
Dogs sometimes bark as a response to hearing strange sounds. Sometimes these sounds outside make your dog nervous, such as the sound of a wild animal, and other times, these sounds are just fascinating, such as another dog barking.
If you believe that your dog is barking in response to sounds that he hears outside, then putting on some white noise can help drown these sounds out.
Something Is Stressing Your Dog Out
Stress can cause dogs to indulge in some reckless and obsessive behaviors, and, unfortunately, excessive barking is often one of these. This can cause a lot of problems, mainly when it occurs at night.
The best way to reduce night barking caused by stress is to eliminate or reduce the stressful stimuli whenever possible. It also helps to make going to bed a calm experience. You can make a dog feel calmer at bedtime by doing things like:
● Setting up their own sleeping space that is comfortable and familiar
● Turning lights off or having lights dim
● Setting up a white noise machine for dogs who get anxious when hearing strange sounds
● Having a set nighttime routine
● Providing calming objects such as their favorite blanket or stuffed toy
Your Dog Is Trying to Alert You of Something
Sometimes dogs bark because they are trying to alert their owners of something. Although this is most common in guard dogs, this behavior could occur in any dog. If there is no threat present, reassuring your dog and creating a calm sleeping environment is key to managing this behavior.
Night Time Barking Could Be A Sign Of Canine Dementia
Canine dementia is a condition that causes a lot of confusion and memory loss in elderly dogs. As a result, they often forget where they are and what part of the day it is. This naturally causes dogs a lot of stress and a lot of confusion, which can cause barking during the night.
If you suspect that your dog is affected by canine dementia, it is crucial to visit a vet for treatment and tips on managing this nighttime barking.
Your Dog Could Have Separation Anxiety
A common symptom of separation anxiety is excessive barking, which can happen at night and during the day.
This type of night barking is especially prevalent in dogs with severe separation anxiety during all times of day and dogs who have normally slept in the same room as their owners and are suddenly sleeping in a room on their own.
If you believe that your dog has separation anxiety, then the best thing to do is visit a vet about this problem. It also helps to seek help from an animal behaviorist or a dog trainer who is qualified to work with dogs with separation anxiety for some training assistance.
Your Dog Could Have General Anxiety About Bedtime
In addition to separation anxiety, general anxieties around bedtime can cause excessive barking in dogs as well. Suppose you suspect that your dog is suffering from anxiety.
In that case, you should visit a vet, and it always helps get training advice from an animal behaviorist or a qualified dog trainer. In addition, creating a calm, safe, and comfortable sleeping environment and having a nighttime routine can help reduce anxiety and excessive nighttime barking in dogs.
Night Barking Could Be A Sign That Something Else Is Wrong
Excessive barking could also be a sign that your dog is feeling sick or is in pain. As a result, night barking should not be ignored if this behavior is unusual or if your dog seems to have other symptoms that would suggest that he is sick or in pain.
If you suspect that your dog is experiencing pain, is feeling ill, or has a medical condition, then you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Why Does My Dog Bark At Night Outside
Dogs that bark during the night and are held outside usually do so because they hear and see things. They could be barking because they are anxious, frustrated, or even excited about something.
Alert barking could also be possible in this situation. If your dog is constantly barking outside throughout the night, then it is probably best to keep him indoors in a quieter area. This will not only reduce your dog’s barking, but it will improve your, and your neighbor’s, sleep as well.
Why Does My Dog Bark At Night When We Go To Bed
If your dog starts barking when you go to bed, then it is likely that he either has separation anxiety or is barking for attention. It is important to note that separation anxiety will usually include other symptoms such as:
● Obsessive behaviors like excessive itching or pacing
● Having accidents
● Destructive behaviors such as chewing and digging
Meanwhile, attention-seeking behavior will not include symptoms like this. Separation anxiety will likely require specialized training to modify their behavior, and attention-seeking barking usually stops after their barking has been consistently ignored for a while.
Should I Ignore My Dog Barking At Night
The only type of barking that should be ignored at night is attention-seeking barking. This is because ignoring this type of barking is the only way that you can get it to stop.
Otherwise, you will likely need to do something to get your dog to stop barking. Here is a table on what you should do about all other types of night barking.
|Cause of Night Barking||What You Should Do|
|Boredom||Increases exercise during the dayIncrease mental stimulation during the day|
|Needs More Daily Exercise||Increases exercise during the day|
|Needs to go Outside||Take them outside (especially for puppies and elderly dogs) Make sure all needs are met before going to bed|
|Routine has changed||Try to go back to the original routine if possible (if not, try to closely match it)|
|Environment has changed||If temporary, just try to make their sleeping environment calm If more permanent keep their sleeping environment calm and try to stick to a nightly routine|
|Alert barking||Put on white noise to drown out soundsPrevent access to windows and other ways they could see things outside|
|Stress||Reduce or eliminate the stressful stimuli Try to keep their sleeping area calm|
|Separation anxiety||Visit a vet Get training from an animal behaviorist or qualified dog trainer|
|Canine dementia||Visit a vet Seeking training from an animal behaviorist or dog trainer could help|
|General anxiety||Visit a vet Seeking training from an animal behaviorist or dog trainer could help|
|Hearing strange sounds||Put on white noise to drown out sounds|
|Seeing things outside||Have them sleep indoorsBlock access to windows and other ways they could see outside|
|Pain, illness, or medical conditions||Visit a vet|
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Barking At Night
For simple things like boredom, increased exercise, the need to go outside, or changes to a dog’s routine or environment usually require some simple changes to stop their nighttime barking. In addition, barking as a result of hearing strange noises, seeing things outside, and stress will also require some changes for it to stop.
Nighttime attention barking and alert barking may require some training, but usually, these stop after training consistently.
However, barking due to separation anxiety, extreme general anxiety, canine dementia, or another medical condition or illness, the first step you should take to stop barking is to visit a vet for treatment.
You may also benefit from some specialized training for dogs with canine dementia, extreme general anxiety, and separation anxiety to reduce barking at night.
There are some other things to consider when it comes to dogs barking at night. Many people have dogs that howl or bark either instead of or in addition to barking at night.
As a result, it is only natural for owners of these dogs to wonder about these vocalizations when they occur at night. Here are what howling and barking usually mean when they happen at night.
What If My Dog Is Howling At Night
Dogs usually have the exact reasons for howling as they do barking. Your dog’s night howling could be caused by:
● Boredom and needing more daily exercise
● Needing to go outside or be fed
● Wanting your attention
● Changes in routine or environment
● Alerting you of strange sights or sounds
● Responding to sounds such as sirens
● Stress and anxiety
● Separation anxiety
● Feeling pain, sick, or experiencing a medical condition
Due to the large variety of causes for howling at night, you will need to analyze the situation to discover the cause for your dog’s howling.
What If my Dog Is Whining At Night
A dog whining at night usually means that he is either not feeling well or is anxious about something. As a result, you should take your dog to the vet if he is consistently whining during the night. This way, you can make sure that your dog does not have a severe medical condition, or you can get your dog treatment if he does have one.