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.
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.