Noisy Pets: What To Do When Your Pets Are Preventing You From Sleeping
When pets aren’t providing us with companionship and security, they might offer a yowl, or a whimper, or a paw in the face, or a batting at the door, or a bouncing ball on the hardwood floor. We may think these behaviors are cute—except when they happen at night.
If noisy pets are keeping you up at night, read on to understand what might be causing your pets’ nocturnal activities and how to put your own worries to rest. Whether it's a cat nap or long hibernation, SleepPhones® can help you rest easier while keeping a figurative ear out for your fur babies.
“I use them nightly, so comfortable and easy. … My sleep is going very well, and I even like that they don't block out ALL noise so I can hear if my cat is getting into something he shouldn't, or my alarm, etc. Much love to SleepPhones®!” — Ames B.
Because dogs have grown accustomed to human sleep cycles, they typically remain silent throughout the night. However, their age may determine their noisy night-owl status.
Puppies, for instance, are brimming with excess energy. You may have heard the term “zoomies,” which refers to the short, extreme bursts of activity young animals exhibit. As Certified Professional Dog Trainer Stephanie Gibeault writes, this energy builds during an exciting event (like entering a new home) or a stressful situation (like a bath) until it finally erupts. Dogs, then, may be most active at night if they’ve been crated all day or have just recently been adopted.
Elderly dogs stay up at night for more serious reasons. As they age, a dog's eyesight, hearing, and memory start to deteriorate, making them react differently to surroundings that were once familiar. These factors also cause them to sleep and wake at the wrong times. Additionally, their joints and muscles increasingly become more painful, making it difficult for our canine companions to sleep at all.
What to Do
As a general rule, if your dog has suddenly become more noisy at night, please see a veterinarian. The change in behavior may be a sign of underlying health issues.
If you are frustrated with your dog’s noisy behavior, consider consulting a professional trainer. Here are some suggestions we found online:
- Set a consistent routine for your dog to nap, play, train, and exercise earlier in the day. This way, they’ll burn themselves out before it's time for bed.
- Let your dog relieve itself just before bedtime.
- Ignore your dog’s prompts at night. Scolding may only reinforce the dog’s agitation, and coddling may reinforce whining.
- Avoid putting your dog in a crate all day. Otherwise, ask a friend or neighbor to let your dog out for a potty break and some play time.
- Play sleep sounds, like those on our SleepPhones® YouTube channel, to ease your dog to sleep.
- For older dogs, consider purchasing an orthopaedic bed or plugging in a night light.
Compared to dogs, cats have not fully adapted to human sleep cycles. Their hunting instincts override any attempt we make for them to be active during the day. This makes them crepuscular (derived from the Latin word for “twilight”), meaning they are most active between dusk and dawn. This is the time when birds and rodents—their natural prey—are most active.
Kittens are heavily involved in play. Although they are no longer in the jungle, night is the most opportune time for them to practice their hunting skills. Sure, they may stalk your favorite antique vase, but as Arna Cohen writes for the Humane Society of the United States, you may only have yourself to blame when glass comes crashing to the floor in the middle of the night. Most homes do not provide cats with enough stimulation, so our feline friends are forced to make do with their surroundings.
Elderly cats, on the other hand, should decrease their nightly activity as they age. However, they might start to vocalize due to hearing loss or anxiety. Like dogs, they can experience cognitive dysfunction, which can seriously impair their sleep-wake cycles.
What to Do
If your cat’s typical activity at night suddenly changes, please see a veterinarian. They might be telling you that something is wrong.
Consider consulting a professional trainer if your cat is keeping you up at night. Here are some suggestions we found online:
- Feed your cat either when you get home from work or after an evening play session. This way, you can closely align the cat’s sleep schedule with yours.
- Play with your cat as soon as you get home to expend the energy they’ve built up during the day.
- Do some chores before taking care of your cat in the morning so they learn not to wake you up.
- Leave toys out or hide treats around the house at night. This may keep your cat stimulated without needing to rely on you.
- Ignore prompts from your cat like you would a dog. To them, any kind of attention is good attention, so it’s best to avoid interacting with them at night if possible.
- Consider purchasing a timed feeder or food-dispensing toy for the cat while you are away.
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