Why is My Dog Whining So Much All of a Sudden At Night?

Last Updated on March, 2024

Are you tired of being serenaded by your dog’s whining and barking in the middle of the night? Not only does that mess up your good night’s sleep, but you’ve also been getting complaints from the neighbors. Yikes. 

But fear not, fellow dog owner. There are ways to put your dog whines to a stop. We’ll cover some common causes of dog whining at night and their solutions.

Quick Summary

There are many different reasons why a dog may whine at night, including hunger/thirst, boredom, poor training, separation anxiety, discomfort, lack of sleep, digestive issues, pain/medical problems, mental issues, learned behavior, and pregnancy.

It is important for dog owners to address the specific cause of their dog’s whining, as each reason requires a different solution.

It is not recommended to punish a dog for whining, as this can cause fear and anxiety in the dog. Instead, owners should be patient and kind when trying to address and correct bad behaviors.

Reasons Why Dogs Whine at Night

Hunger/Thirst and Toilet Emergencies

A group of puppies laying on the floor with their tongues out

It’s all too easy to forget to feed your dog in the evenings, keep fresh water for them, and let them outside for a toilet break before you go to bed. These types of issues can lead to your dog crying at night. 

As dog owners, you are responsible for ensuring that your dog gets adequate food, clean water, and a chance to relieve themselves before bedtime. One way to help you stop forgetting is to set a reminder on your phone. 

Boredom 

Your dog will get bored if you don’t keep them occupied. This is where the trouble begins.

Bored dogs can become little wrecking balls, chewing up your belongings and becoming VERY vocal night owls, howling for your attention.

Keeping dogs active is a MUST! Make sure to have fun exercise routines and playtime with your dog regularly.

Not only does this keep them physically fit, but it’s also a fantastic way to keep their minds sharp.

A small puppy sitting inside the crate

Set aside at least 30 minutes daily for quality playtime with your pup. And if you can’t fit in some exercise or play time into your schedule, let them enjoy yard play to unwind.

Remember, each breed has its own unique needs for both exercise and mental stimulation, so do your homework and ensure your puppy is happy and content. 

Poor Training 

Listen up, dog owners! If you let your precious pup whine away the nights without proper training, guess what?

They’re going to continue with this type of behavioral issues as they grow older.

Sometimes, our pups whine because they don’t know any better, not because they’re trying to annoy you.

But don’t fret; your dog can learn quiet behavior with the right training.

However, if those dog whines persist, it may be a sign that your training game could use a boost.

A Black Dog Sitting On The Road

Consider enrolling your dog in a behavioral class or hiring a dog trainer to help curb the nocturnal serenades. 

You can also train yourself you dog with one of the best virtual dog training class.

Separation Anxiety and Fear

Oh, the dreaded separation anxiety– it’s a woe that’s common in puppies, especially after they leave the comfort of their litter or mom. 

Suppose your dog cranks up the whine-o-meter the moment you step out or have a nighttime whine fest because they can’t snuggle in your bed or room.

In that case, they might be waving the separation anxiety flag.

In this case, it is worth a vet visit to learn some coaching tips and a prescription for meds for calming anxious dogs. 

A brown and white dog watching through the mesh

But wait, there’s more. If you’ve got an adult dog feeling anxious, it’s a red flag. That means something’s spooking them. That intense fear and anxiety can come from various sources– like thunderstorms, loud noises, or being cooped up indoors.

Once you’ve rooted out the cause of the anxiety, you can start taking action. Say your dog’s whining and pacing like a caged tiger at night; set them free in your garden or backyard. 

Discomfort 

Ask yourself, is my dog cozy in their sleeping spot? It’s a real deal-breaker that can cause those nighttime whine sessions.

If it’s too hot or chilly for their liking, your dog will let you know about it. 

It’s time to become the interior decorator for your dog’s sleep zone!

Whether it’s a crate, a plush bed, or a snuggly blanket, make it their personal paradise.

Think clean, comfy, and extra-soft– like a cloud for your pup to sleep on. 

A dog laying down on a brick floor

You can even toss in some extras, like a piece of your clothing (smells like home!) or their beloved toys. It’s all about creating a sleep haven where your dog can snooze and stretch out quietly with zero disturbance. 

Lack of Sleep 

Here’s the deal: dogs need their beauty sleep just like us. Suppose your pet was used to those uninterrupted nights of sleeping, and now, suddenly, they’re tossing and turning. You’ve got a whining dog on your hands now. 

It might be because you’ve given their sleeping area a makeover without their permission. Comfort and soothe your dog. And if you’ve relocated them from their comfy snooze zone, it might be worth considering moving them back to their original spot.

Digestive Issues 

Stomach and other health issues are common reasons your dog cries at night. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, my tummy’s not feeling great.

Your dog may have eaten something that didn’t agree with them or something that tickled their allergies. 

An easy solution would be to switch up their diet to better quality food that wouldn’t cause upset tummies.

But don’t play the guessing game if your furry friend has a full-blown vomiting episode. Be sure to pay a visit to the vet for some expert advice. 

A grey dog biting the crate

Pain or Other Medical Problems 

If your pet seems to kick off a whining concert every time they lay down, there’s a good chance that some pesky joint pain or other positional discomfort is causing them to whine.

It could even be that your dog has trouble breathing or something else is bugging them while they sleep. 

Older dogs with chronic health hurdles or a more serious health problem might be more prone to crying at night. If your dog falls into either of these categories, or you feel that something’s wrong, it’s best to play it safe and ask a vet for advice. 

Mental Problems

Older dogs may experience dementia, which could be why your pet is crying at night.

As their cognitive skills decline with age, training can get difficult.

But don’t fret; there are ways to make your dog stop whining during the night. One top tip is ensuring your dog settles into a full night’s rest.

To do this, it’s all about taking them on a pre-bedtime long walk that will help burn off excess energy and tire them out. 

A brown dog looking out of a cage

Remember the food, snacks, and water for your furry friend in the evening. Playing some relaxing music can help them fall asleep, too. 

Learned Behavior

Is your puppy a sly little genius who knows that whining equals getting what he wants from you? If that’s the case, they’ll keep repeating this behavioral problem if you keep giving in every single time. 

But hey, we’re in the business of smashing bad habits, right? As pet owners, you must resist the urge to fall into the whining trap. You can either give your dog the silent treatment or drop a firm “no” or “quiet.”

The secret here is to reward your dog with pets, cuddles, and treats after they are quiet and calm. This helps break bad behavior and reinforce good behavior. 

Being a Puppy 

Puppies generally miss their mom and siblings, which causes them to cry at night.

This is completely normal, and they want to get your attention.

While it’s adorable and as tempting as it is to jump to their every whine, resist the urge. 

Similarly to what we covered under learned behavior, this will tell your puppy that whining gets them what they want if you give into them when they crave attention with whining.

It would be best to adopt the ‘ignore until quiet’ strategy here.

A brown and white dog laying on a blanket in a cage

Pregnancy 

If your female dog is pregnant and starts whining at night, it could be a sign of her going into labor.

When contractions start, whining is a natural response to the pain. Be sure to assist your dog in the birthing process (whelping) and keep an emergency vet on hold in case of complications. 

Other guides and tools you might need when training your dog:

FAQs

No, you should not ignore your dog’s whining at night. Instead, you should pay attention to it, especially if there could be a medical emergency. It is important to first identify the reason for the whining before attempting to ignore it.

No, you should not punish your dog for whining. Instead, practice patience and be kind when teaching them what you want and do not want. Using verbal punishment, pain, and intimidation can make them afraid of you.

No, it is not the same as crying. A dog’s normal whining behavior is different from a loud, high-pitched cry, which indicates that something is seriously bothering them. It is important to determine the cause of whining in order to address the issue properly.

Yes, it is possible. While dogs do not cry like humans, they may still feel sad or be exhibiting some of the reasons mentioned in this article.

Possible reasons for a dog whining at night suddenly could include discomfort, anxiety, needing to use the bathroom, illness, or changes in their environment or routine.

Final Note 

So, there you have it, folks. We’ve covered the reasons behind your dog’s nighttime whining, from bad behavior to discomfort.

Remember that addressing their needs can lead to peaceful nights for both you and your four-legged companion. Sweet dreams! 

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Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

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