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Have you ever noticed how if you’re up later than usual, your dog will retreat to his bed at the usual time? That’s because dogs thrive on routine!
Feeding, walks, playtime, chill time, and especially bedtime, are important routines for dogs. When things change due to travel, unusual visitors, or you being away, that’s when your dog can become anxious, fearful, or start to act out.
Chilly and I stick to a regular routine to help him have better sleeps. In the summer, when we have almost daily thunderstorms in the afternoons and evenings, Chilly doesn’t sleep as well (more here on what to do if your dog has thunder-related anxiety). But even during all seasons, a consistent bedtime routine is important to help him wind down to enjoy a restful night’s sleep.
Here are my tips for a calming bedtime routine:
Calming Bedtime Routines for Dogs
1. A Tasty Treat
Giving your dog a treat at bedtime will give him something special to look forward to every night. Associating bedtime with a yummy snack may also help you to train your pup to settle down for bed. Just like many dogs who seem to know somehow when it’s time for their people to get home or when it’s time for dinner, you may soon find that your own pooch is reminding you to give him his treat so he can go to sleep!
Bedtime Bones ® take the bedtime treat to a whole new level. They’re made with all-natural organic ingredients like rye flour, oat bran, honey, and brown eggs. These treats also contain chamomile, which calms dogs just like it does people!
2. A Secure, Comfy Place to Sleep
Does your dog sleep in the same place every night? Most likely the answer is yes! Whether it’s their own doggie bed, a favorite spot on the floor, or a place in bed with you, most pups sleep the best when they’re in their normal sleeping spot. It’s our job as dog parents to make sure that their sleeping place is as comfy and cozy as possible so they can snuggle down and enjoy the night in doggie dreamland!
Chilly loves a bed with bolster sides! It gives him enough room to sprawl out a bit with the added security of something to snuggle up against for the night. This one is made with memory foam (great for a senior dog’s aching joints) and it has a machine-washable cover.
This round bed is great for dogs who like to curl up. Its raised edges make the perfect head rest if he doesn’t want to keep his head tucked in. And you can throw the whole bed in the washing machine.
3. A Favorite Cuddle Toy
Do you remember how safe and secure you felt as a child when you snuggled in bed with your favorite teddy bear? Well, dogs can also find security from a special toy.
Now, not just any old toy will make the paw-fect bedtime buddy. Don’t give him anything with squeakers – that will probably just wind him up and get him in the mood to play! Similarly, anything you usually use to play fetch or tug with may not be the best choice. Ideally you want a toy that only comes out at bedtime or other “down” times.
This adorable duck would make the perfect bedtime buddy. It’s super soft, squeak free, and it won’t encourage thoughts of rambunctious play.
4. A Bedtime Scent
Some scents can have a calming effect on the human members of the family, and the same is true for our tail wagging friends. Spraying your dog’s bed or bedtime toys with a calming blend of essential oils is a great way to alleviate any lingering anxiety from the day and get your pup ready to sleep through the night.
I love Eau de Bedtime Canine Calming Scent by Bedtime4Dogs! It’s made with lavender and chamomile essential oils, and it smells amazing! I’m tempted to spray it on my own pillow, but for now I’ll save it for Chilly’s bed and cuddle toys!
5. Special Bonding Time
Once your pup is all calm, it’s time for my favorite part of the bedtime routine – the special together time! Choose any quiet activity that you and your pooch both enjoy like a gentle ear rubbing while you thank him for being such a good boy that day:)
With a calming bedtime routine, you can ease the day’s anxiety and tuck your pup into bed ready to doze off and enjoy those sweet, happy doggie dreams!