menu
Why Do Dogs Bark at Night?
In most cases, dogs bark at night because they hear something that we don’t. Did you know that dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans? Dogs can hear up to four times farther away than humans can.

It can be stressful and frustrating for the people in the household when our dogs start barking at night. Barking is one of the main ways that dogs communicate, so it’s important to understand what is causing your dog to bark. 

In most cases, dogs bark at night because they hear something that we don’t. Did you know that dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans? Dogs can hear up to four times farther away than humans can. 

Occasionally, dogs will bark at night when it seems like there is no reason to because there are no strange sounds. In this article, we’ll discuss some reasons why our dogs bark when it seems like they are barking at nothing. 

Anytime a dog does something new they previously haven't done, it can be cause for concern. Always consider scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian Castle Hills TX to rule out underlying medical causes first and foremost.

Noise Response

In most cases, your dog is barking at night because he hears something. This could be something in your home or even outside. Dogs instinctively bark at strange sounds that make them feel excited, nervous or threatened. Since dogs can hear so much better than humans, it may not be apparent at first what your dog is actually barking at. Your dog could be barking at things like:

       Trees blowing in the wind

       A car driving by

       People outside in neighboring houses

       Wild animals outside (like a raccoon getting into your trash) 

Dogs are even more “on edge” and may be more apt to bark at night when there have been recent changes in the environment. This could include things like new people in the household, moving into a new house, traveling, or even if your neighbor changing their work schedule from a day shift to a night shift. 

Potty Time

If you have a housetrained dog who isn’t feeling well and needs to go to the bathroom, he may bark or whine to wake you up to let him out. Puppies in the process of housetraining will commonly bark and whine at night to let you know that their bladder is full. 

Attention Seeking

Dogs typically spend 50% of their day sleeping. This equates to 12-14 hours within a single day. If your dog didn’t sleep much during the day or is feeling particularly feisty, he may bark at night to wake you up to get attention. If you get up and give your dog the attention he desires, you are inadvertently rewarding this behavior. This may actually cause him to do this more often. 

It’s important to get up and determine why your dog is barking, but you don’t want to reward his barking at midnight when he just wants you to play with him. 

Aging Dogs

As dog's age, they experience cognitive decline similar to humans. Dogs can experience “doggie dementia,” or canine cognitive dysfunction, which is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans. Some signs of canine cognitive dysfunction are:

       Disorientation, such as wandering or appearing lost

       Changes in interactions with family members, such as less enthusiasm to greet people

       Changes in sleep and activity, such as restlessness at night or vocalization like barking

       Changes in house training, such as beginning to urinate or defecate indoors 

One of the major symptoms of cognitive decline in our aging dogs is called Sundowner’s Syndrome. This is a medical condition that was first identified in humans. Humans and dogs alike become confused, agitated, and aggressive in the late afternoon or early evening hours. Dogs may also bark excessively at nothing and appear to become anxious.  

Studies show that 62% of dogs between the ages of 11 and 16 demonstrate one or more signs of canine cognitive dysfunction. If you have an older dog who is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian Castle Hills TX. 

Should You Ignore It?

If your dog doesn’t have a habit of barking at night, you should schedule an appointment with your vet Castle Hills TX to rule out all underlying medical causes. Chances are that he is barking at a sound caused by something you can’t see. 

If your dog has made a habit of barking at night, ignoring it will not work or improve the situation. If your dog is barking because he’s hearing noises, try putting him in a quiet room. You can even add a white noise machine to mask any outside noises. 

Remember to be careful with how much attention you give your dog when you wake up after he’s been barking. You need to address your dog’s needs, like letting him outside if his bladder is full, but you don’t want to give him too much attention. The more attention you give your dog, the more you are rewarding his behavior of barking at night. 

Conclusion

Dogs thrive on routine, so it’s useful to establish a bedtime routine to let them know that it is time to wind down and go to sleep. Make sure you are exercising your dog during the day so that he can sleep restfully through the night. You should also let your dog outside to go to the bathroom before you go to sleep. This lets him fully empty his bladder so that he is comfortable throughout the whole night. 

Dogs can hear much more than humans, and they instinctively bark at sounds that excite or threaten them. It’s best to have your dog sleep in a quiet room at night and use a white noise machine to drown out any outside noise. 

If you’ve recently had environmental changes, such as moving, it may take your dog a little while to settle down into the new environment. He may be more prone to barking at night until he is more comfortable. If your dog is elderly or experiencing other symptoms, it’s best to contact your veterinarian Castle Hills TX. 

Once your dog is feeling safe and comfortable in his environment and isn’t disrupted by noises, dogs usually sleep through the night. 

 

If your dog’s barking is concerning you, contact your animal hospital Castle Hills TX, so you can discuss your concerns.