A dog with insomnia? Sounds almost like an oxymoron, right?! While it’s true that most dogs fall asleep any time, any place, insomnia is a surprisingly common issue which can occur due to many different reasons. While one sleepless night isn’t always a cause for alarm, if the problem persists you will need to look into possible reasons why, and ways in which you can combat the issue. A dog left sleepless is not getting the rest its body needs to heal and stay healthy and sleep deprivation can lead to a demotivated and inactive pet.

Why Won’t My Dog Sleep?

The most likely reason your dog isn’t sleeping is because they aren’t able to relax. A very common but overlooked cause for this is a change of surroundings. When you move house or go on a trip where you bring your dog with you, they may find their new surroundings intimidating or feel uncertain about the situation in general.

Tension in the household is another possible reason. Pets tend to be finely tuned into human emotion, and if there’s a lot of bickering, emotionally-charged individuals or strangers in the home, they will likely feel on edge.

Other causes are mainly medical conditions. For example, dogs with injuries, arthritis and other painful problems could be kept awake by the pain, while urinary incontinence could keep your pet awake through constant urges to urinate. If the cause of your dog’s insomnia is a medical condition it’s likely you’ll have to address that issue directly and not try to mask the issue with sleeping medication.

How Can Benadryl Cure My Dog’s Insomnia?

Picture of a sleeping dog
Benadryl is an H1 antagonist which blocks the re-uptake of histamine in the body. The reason it causes drowsiness is because it doesn’t act on the H1 receptors alone, it also blocks the uptake of acetylcholine, a substance related to sleep.

Some owners use Benadryl for dogs with insomnia, as it promotes sleep by causing a sensation of drowsiness. It is often dosed at 1 mg/lb though it’s safer to call the vet first as the medicine is rarely recommended for this purpose. If the sleeping problems are traced to an issue which is likely to last for longer periods of time, you should address that issue instead of resorting to the use of medicine every night.

What If It Doesn’t Work For My Dog?

If Benadryl doesn’t cause your dog to get some well-needed rest, then there’s likely a more serious issue at play, or perhaps the Benadryl doesn’t cause your dog any drowsiness (after all, sleepiness is only an extremely common side effect, not the main mechanism). In any case, you should call the vet for advice. They may recommend that you bring your pet in for an examination in case of underlying medical conditions.

Alternative sleep remedies

In the event of Benadryl failing to provide relief, melatonin is another substance which you could try. It is also thought of as being a little safer than Benadryl (which is already incredibly safe for most dogs).