April 06, 2009 05:00 AM | view on twitter Well, believe it or not, dogs do indeed suffer from insomnia and for much of the same reasons we humans do. My dogs get insomnia when the house is too warm -- during the summer or when I have the woodstove cranked up quite a bit. But dogs can get insomnia for other reasons too.
If you've ever had a puppy at home, you know all too well the sleepless nights. Puppies constantly keep us up because 1. They miss their mom and littermates 2. They are wide awake and want to play. These are two reasons that any dog might have insomnia, that is, they're upset about something (missing mom) and they're not tired (not enough exercise).
According to James Dalley, D.V.M., associate professor of small animal clinical sciences at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in East Lansing, dogs can get insomnia because something upsetting has occurred, such as a fight among the owners or other stressful condition. Other reasons is that they haven't gotten enough exercise or there is a change in the weather. I had a German Shepherd who was terrified of thunderstorms and if the air even smelled of them would stay up and quiver in his crate until the storm passed or until it no longer looked like it would rain.
Lastly, if your dog is uncomfortable (arthritis, hip dysplasia) or has a problem like diarrhea or frequent urination, it's unlikely your pup is going to get any sleep. Needless to say, if your dog is keeping you up, it's time for a trip to the veterinarian.
But yes, most dogs seem to have no problem sleeping.
I am Margaret H. Bonham, pet expert and author of 30 books.