Why is it important to know? Because a change in sleep patterns may signal something else. Scientific research as well as feedback from our users point to a few typical reasons why a dog may be having problems sleeping.

1. He’s sick or in pain

Typical medical problems that determine an increase in the number of points at rest include muscle aches, joint problems or arthritis, fleas or skin conditions, ear infections, bladder control, sleep apnea, or cancer. Like humans, dogs in pain continue to change their position in search of relief. Work with your veterinarian to seek a qualified diagnosis and use your FitBark to monitor quality of sleep as a proxy to monitor if your dog’s medical issue is getting resolved.

2. He’s anxious

Maybe he feels he needs more attention and cuddles, or maybe he’s just young and not used to a routine yet. Consider working with your trainer to establish a routine, an ideal schedule and optimal environmental conditions. In certain cases, crate training has proved helpful.

3. He has a sleep disorder

Like humans, dogs are subject to insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, REM sleep behavior disorders and more. If you notice a consistently low quality of sleep, please seek help from your veterinarian.

4. He did’t get enough exercise

This is a common cause of restless sleep, but it’s also easy to address. Use an activity monitor to motivate and gradually incorporate more exercise into your dog’s daily activities so he can feel tired and get a good night’s sleep. And in case you’re still wondering: no! A fenced-in backyard is not enough.

How to monitor quality of nocturnal sleep

Look for your dog’s sleep score in the FitBark daily view or in the historical views.


This metric (also referred to as “sleep efficiency”) identifies how long your dog spends resting at night (between 1-5am by default – we’re working on customizing this range). For example, a dog whose sleep score is 75% is spending three hours resting and one hour changing position or moving around. As you can see from FitBark Explore below, puppies and smaller sized dogs tend to get worse sleep at night (the chart will display only if you access this page from a desktop computer).

If you’d like to take a deeper look, go to the hourly view. For instance, your dog may typically get anywhere between 15-30 BarkPoints per hour during the night or at rest. If you notice the hourly number of points has been higher, something may be off. Either someone woke him up or he’s been in discomfort.

We don't talk about it much but FitBark monitors sleep too. And a big change in sleeping habits is nearly always an indicator of illness. Last year, it was noticing the uptick in sleeping hours, that got our pup to the vet sooner rather than later. For most of us there's a huge chunk of time when we're not with our furry friends. FitBark helps fill in that missing information.

David B.

His FitBark is a great way of measuring how well he feels, because he's more active when he doesn't have pain! I've noticed a gradual increase in his activity in the last week! I can also see that he is sleeping better, again probably because of a lack of discomfort!

Helen O.

When I got up this morning, I opened the FitBark app and noticed that Ruby was up in the night as her sleep score was low. I checked her ears and what do you know? Her chronic ear infection was back.

Brian Kirkwood

You have questions. Your FitBark has answers.

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