When the day is done, and you are trying to rest or drift off to sleep, the last thing you want is for your dog to start barking continuously all through the night. Sleeping becomes impossible not only for you, but for your neighbors too.
What is even worse is if your dog is older, not a puppy, and has never barked through the night before, as this change in behavior can become a bit of a shock to you, and to your sleeping schedule.
At first, you may think that your dog is alerting you to an intruder, or is barking because of something they have seen or heard outside.
You may have gotten up to check, to find that there is absolutely nothing there to be worried about. So, why is your dog barking at night for no reason? Why all the sudden barks at night? We are here to find out.
With this guide, we will go through all of the different reasons why your dog may start barking at night, and what you can do to prevent this from becoming a recurring habit!
Why is my dog barking at night all of a sudden?
If you are wondering: why is my dog barking at night all of a sudden, then it could be one of three different reasons.
These are typically either a behavioral issue, a medical reason, or environmental factors that are disturbing your furry friend, who in turn disturbs your sleep.
It may seem like your dog is barking at nothing, but there will always be a reason for this behavior, you just have to figure out which one it is!
Your dog cannot communicate with you and tell you what exactly is bothering them, so barking is a way of telling you that something is wrong.
Luckily, you will not have to become a mind reader or a dog whisperer to figure it out, as we have our guide of reasons your dog is barking at night all of a sudden.
Reasons Your Dog is Barking at Night
There are a few reasons why your dog is barking at night, which could be because of things that they can hear, that you cannot, or because of separation anxiety and other behavioral issues.
One of the more common reasons that your dog is barking at night is because of environmental factors. It may seem to you that your dog is barking at nothing, but they can hear so much more than we can.
Your dog may be able to smell, see and hear things in the night, and they are trying to alarm and alert you to their presence.
For instance, if there are noises outside from neighbors, roads, or just from other people, then your dog will have heard it. Even if it sounds like nothing to you, your dog may feel alarmed, and will inform you by barking.
Other dogs nearby
In addition to neighbors, your dog may be able to hear other dogs barking in the distance or nearby. If a dog is singing the songs of its ancestors down the street, you can guarantee that your dog is going to try and join in!
Pipes/ noises in the night
Your dog may also notice bumps and noises in the night coming from your house, such as the heating, or the pipes, or even a creaking floorboard. Your dog will try to protect your home, and so any noises it hears, it will be on high alert, and will start barking.
If there are any pests or mice nearby or in the home, then your dog is going to notice it. Pests often come out at night, and your dog is bound to smell them or hear them. This can also cause barking through the night.
If you think that your dog is on high alert during the night, and does not relax, then they are probably not sleeping either.
Your dog is constantly trying to protect you and the home for environmental factors such as intruders, other dogs, animals or noises outside, and so the barking may even be a result of anxious behavior.
To rectify this, and to get a decent night’s sleep, you may want to play calming, soothing music quietly during the night near your dog.
This could drown out any other noises outside that are distracting your dog or waking them from their slumber.
You should also invest in thick, heavy blackout curtains so that lights from cars or street lights do not wake your dog, and they cannot look out the windows at night to see animals, pests or people going by.
On the other hand, if your dog sleeps in a room that is close to the road, or other environmental factors, then try having them sleep in a room that is blocked from those things that are keeping them up at night.
There could also be medical reasons as to why your dog is barking through the night. Your dog may feel unwell, stressed, or need to use their bodily functions, and this is why they are trying to alert you and wake you up.
May need to use the bathroom
Now, most house trained dogs will be able to hold in their pee or poop until the morning, but if your dog is barking to go outside and defecate, then this is really a good thing.
This means that your dog understands that it needs to go outside, and does not want to defecate in your home. This shows that your dog is housetrained.
In addition, there may be a reason why your dog suddenly needs to go poop outside at 3am, as it may have a tummy upset, or a digestive problem after eating something that they shouldn’t have.
On the other hand, your dog may have drank too much water before bed, and now needs to expel those fluids.
This is common if your dog runs around or goes for a walk before bed as they will naturally drink water before going to sleep, and then ultimately will need to pee, too.
If this persists, then it may be time to change the routine. For instance, if you feed your dog quite late in the evening, then it will not have a bowel movement until later on, which is why your dog needs to go outside during the night.
Try feeding your dog earlier, or offering a lighter meal in the night time.
In addition, you are going to want to encourage your dog to go outside, pee and poop before bedtime, or ensure that they do before letting them back in.
We recommend putting your dog on a leash, and going out with them at night time to make sure that they pee or poop if they need to, so that you do not get woken up early in the morning to let them outside.
Unfortunately, barking during the night can also be a sign that your dog is getting older. Some older dogs can begin to show signs of anxiety, loneliness and depression when they are left alone, or without their family, and they may start barking through the night.
Other dogs can develop dementia, and will bark more than usual, or you may notice changes in their behavior as they age. If you think this is happening to your dog, then you may want to speak to the veterinarian who can offer medication to soothe your dog.
In pain or discomfort
If your dog is in pain, or is uncomfortable at night, they may bark and try to gain your help and attention. Your dog may suffer from joint problems, pains or hip dysplasia, and will need a supportive bed so that they can get a good night’s sleep, and so can you!
We recommend getting an orthopedic, supportive bed such as PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed or a calming bed for more nervous dogs . If you do have concerns about your dog crying out at night, or if they are in pain, then please speak to a veterinarian immediately.
One of the other reasons that your dog may be barking at night is because of a behavioral problem.
Dogs bark when they are excited, angry, frustrated, nervous or feeling many other emotions. Barking is their main means of communication, and is a way to alert you of their feelings.
Some dogs can become nervous, or anxious when left alone at night. Surprisingly, some dogs can be afraid of the dark, especially if they are partially sighted, or are becoming blind due to a medical issue or old age.
It is important that you ensure your dog is calm and supported in this time, and let them know that you are near.
One of the most common reasons that a dog may bark at night is because of separation anxiety. More dogs suffer from this type of anxiety than you would think, and can grow unhealthily attached to their humans.
As much as we love a good snuggle from our furry friend, you do not want them to become completely reliant on you, as this can cause behavior issues.
For instance, if you spend a lot of time with your dog in the day, and for example you work from home, your dog can grow accustomed to you being with them all the time.
Then, when it comes to you leaving the room, or sleeping upstairs, your dog will not adapt well to the change, and will want to be with you.
In this sense, your dog barking can be a sign that they want you with them immediately, and barking is a way of summoning you.
You can rectify this by allowing your dog to sleep in the same room as you, but this does not solve the problem, this just means that you are letting them grow more attached and closer to you in the long run.
To fix this issue, you are better off training them out of it slowly, and letting them grow accustomed to you being apart at night.
To do this, you can implement a stair gate so that your dog can be near you, and see or smell you, but there is still that boundary and barrier between you that the dog needs to get used to.
On the other hand, you could try other methods such as giving your dog something to eat before bed as they are more likely to sleep. Or, you could give them a chew toy to keep themselves occupied and comfortable without you being there.
Reward good behavior by leaving your dog alone for a few minutes, and taking it day by day until they become used to being by themselves without whining, pining or barking.
In other cases, if it is a new puppy that is barking and whining in the night, then you may want to take a different approach.
Think about it, the puppy’s life has been turned upside down recently. They have left their birth mother, and all of their siblings and moved to a new home with people it does not know.
Being alone at night in the dark can be even harder for them in these cases. They may feel scared, lonely and fearful during the nights, and will cry for hours.
However, you will want to train and coax them out of this behavior, unless you want it to continue for the rest of its life.
The best way to prevent this is to put them in a crate at night, but in your room. This way, it will know it is close to you, and you will hear them when they need to go pee or poop at night.
That being said, you cannot just let them sleep in your room for a few nights until the crying stops, and then move them back downstairs or the barking will persist. What you need to do is take a slow and gradual approach.
For instance, try having them sleeping (in a crate) in your room by your bed and close to you for 1-4 nights.
Then, from nights 5-8, move the crate to the foot of the bed. For nights 9-12 keep the crate at the bedroom door, and from nights 13-15 have the crate outside the bedroom.
Finally, as you reach nights 16-18 have the crate at the top of the stairs, then at the bottom of the stairs for nights 18-21. Once you have accomplished this, you can have them sleeping in their designated spot from then onwards.
Some pet owners use a tough love method which is where you leave the puppy to cry and bark until they tire themselves out and go to sleep.
This can be great for some, but other owners may notice that the dog can be destructive or stressed when left alone.
In addition, it can be really upsetting and lonely for the puppy, and you still will not get much sleep. However, it all depends on the personal situation.
If your dog is up barking throughout the night, then it is not fun for you at all. On the other hand, it is probably not fun for your dog either.
You both need to have a good night’s sleep, and rest for the following day, and so this is a habit that needs to be broken.
The problem is, you cannot begin to rectify the issue unless you know the cause of the barking.
This is why we have provided a list of possible reasons that your dog may be barking through the night, so that you can figure out what is upsetting and alarming your dog.
Once you know, you can put some preventative measures in place, or start training your dog to be comfortable, happy and confident on their own at night, without your presence.