When you have a dog in your family, you can expect some whining now and then. But if you notice your dog whining at night without any noticeable reason, then there might be something wrong that needs your attention.
There are many different reasons why dogs whine at night, and thankfully, most of them are not too serious. However, even though the problem likely isn’t a life-threatening one, it’s still important to recognize what’s causing this change in your dog’s behavior so you can help take care of the issue.
In this article, we’ll show you six reasons why it may seem like your dog’s whining at night for no reason. Use this list to help narrow down the potential problem in your dog and figure out what to do from there.
Pain or Other Medical Problems
When dogs are in pain, they whine. If your dog is whining more often only when she lays down, she may be dealing with joint pain or some other problem relating to her position. She may also have some trouble breathing while sleeping or any number of other problems contributing to the whining.
Dogs who are advanced in age or who have chronic illnesses may be more likely to whine at night than others due to their health issues. If your dog fits into either of these categories—or if you just suspect that she might be hurting while she’s lying down—get her to the vet right away to be checked out.
Although whining at night may have many other more benign causes, there’s always the chance it’s happening because your dog hurts or is sick. Therefore, you should rule out this possibility completely with your vet before continuing to diagnose the source of the whining.
Bloating and Other Digestive Issues
Sometimes, dogs become bloated or have upset stomachs due to eating food that doesn’t work for them, which could be the reason why it seems as though your dog whines at night for no reason. Feeding dogs low-quality food or ingredients that they are intolerant to or allergic to might cause this issue. Dogs who eat too quickly may also develop bloating and can become very sick with other ailments related to digestion as well.
If you think your dog’s stomach hurts, try changing her to a higher-quality food. Stick with food that has simple, real ingredients that she can easily process. Additionally, you might want to try feeding her a very bland diet for a few days including plain cooked white rice and plain boiled chicken. If the whining eases during this time, then you can safely assume her diet is causing the issue.
This may be a problem your veterinarian can help you with as well, so schedule an appointment if you think stomach pain and digestive trouble may be the problem.
Dogs need a lot of stimulation, and they need a lot more exercise than many house dogs get, too. If you’re not exercising your dog at least 30 minutes every day, she’s likely getting bored by her routine.
When your dog gets bored and everyone else in the house has gone to sleep at night, this could cause her to start whining at night for what may seem like no reason. She is likely looking for attention or for someone to play with her, or she may want to be let out into the yard to run around—regardless of the time!
Anxiety and Separation Anxiety
Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety. If your dog starts whining as soon as you walk away or only whines when she isn’t allowed to sleep in the bed or in the room with you, then she may have separation anxiety. Your veterinarian can give you some suggestions for behavior training and may offer medication to help with this as well.
Other types of anxiety could also be the cause for why it seems like your dog’s whining at night for no reason. For example, if your dog is afraid of storms, she is likely to whine during storms and may also hide or become aggressive during this time as well.
Lack of Training
Dogs who are allowed to continue whining at night throughout their lives without the proper behavioral training will continue to do so as they get older. A lack of training may be the only reason why it may seem like your dog is still whining at night for no reason.
You may want to enroll your dog in a behavioral class so the two of you can work together on this issue. You might also consider hiring a dog trainer to focus solely on the whining problem and work one-on-one to solve the problem instead. Either way, more training may be the solution.
Being a Puppy
Last but not least, your dog may be whining during the night for no obvious reason because she’s a puppy! Puppies whine a lot more than adult dogs, and this is completely normal. They whine because they miss their mothers and littermates, and they whine because they want your attention.
Although it can be hard to ignore a whining puppy and you may feel guilty for doing so, it’s important to refrain from reacting when she whines. This will give her positive reinforcement by making her think she’s going to get attention for whining, so the problem will never stop. Instead, ignore her until she’s quiet, and then give her a treat for behaving.
Get Help if Your Dog Whines at Night for No Reason
There are always other potential reasons why your dog might whine during the night. If you feel like this list hasn’t helped much, then it’s time to call your vet. There may be a medical problem you’re unaware of, or you may need some additional assistance dealing with behavioral issues instead.
If your dog is an adult and has just started whining a lot more than she used to, be sure to schedule a vet visit for the near future just to rule out potential health problems. There’s a chance she’s in pain, so take the time to find out for sure whether or not this is true of your dog before moving on to other possibilities.
As a veterinarian in Matthews, NC, we know that dogs don’t truly whine at night for no reason. Dogs whine as a way of communicating with their owners that something is wrong or that they want something. It’s important to find out the cause of your dog’s whining to see if it’s stemming from a behavioral problem, or if it’s due to a more serious health problem.