Dog Whining at Night (13 Reasons Why)

Is your new pet dog whining at night? Or maybe you have had your pooch for a while and this is a new problem. I’ve been through this before with my own canine companions, so I speak from experience about how frustrating this can be. 

dog whining at night
Why is my dog whining at night? What can we do?

There isn’t just one reason why a dog might be behaving this way during the nighttime hours. There are several possible root issues, and the problem may be something as simple as age and anxiety or as worrying as a medical issue. 

Potential Reasons Your Dog Whines at Night 

There are several possible reasons for your dog’s whining at night. Let’s learn about them below, so you can get a better idea of what the root cause of your dog’s behavior might be. 

Young Age

It’s common for young puppies to whine, including during nighttime hours. If you recently adopted your puppy, he is probably still dealing with natural anxiety about being away from the home it knew before. 

If your new puppy is whining at night, spend more time making him feel safe, secure, and loved. Make a bed for your puppy in your bedroom, so he doesn’t have to be away from you when you are sleeping. Like humans, puppies may feel especially anxious when they’re in the dark. 

However, it’s also possible the reason your puppy is whining at night is because of a health problem. He could be in pain and wants to let you know. If you think this is possible, bring your puppy to the veterinarian to be examined. 

cute dog awake in bed
What you need to know when your dog won’t go to sleep

Make Your Puppy Feel Secure

Taking steps during the day to make your puppy feel safe and secure will help cut down on whining at night. You should start this process as soon as you bring a new puppy home. Think about any aspects of your home that could be leading to anxiety in your puppy about his new surroundings, and take steps to pressure your pup. 

Give your puppy chew toys that he can occupy himself with at night. If you haven’t done this yet, it’s probably a reason why your dog is whining at night. 

Stress and Anxiety

Even if a dog doesn’t have separation anxiety, he may have anxiety caused by stress in other parts of his life. If you’ve tried to pinpoint the cause of your pooch’s anxiety and can’t resolve the issue, ask your vet for advice. 

Separation anxiety is a common issue with many dogs. We touched on this issue in the section on puppies, but dogs of any age can suffer from separation anxiety. If your dog whines at night and doesn’t sleep in your room, that may well be the reason. He feels anxious because he’s not in the same room as his human companion. 

If you don’t want your dog to sleep on your bed, bring his bed into your room so he can keep you company at night. If separation anxiety has been the cause of your dog’s whining, you should notice the problem go away. 

Feeling Bored

two dogs snuggling in bed
Two dogs snuggling in bed.

Boredom is an especially common problem for extremely intelligent breeds, such as the Border Collie or German Shepherd. These dogs need a lot of mental stimulation, and they may get destructive if they’re bored. Even if they don’t rip things up and make a mess, whining may become a serious issue. 

Prevent your dog from being awake and feeling bored at night by giving him all the exercise he needs during the day. Have you heard the expression, a worn-out dog is a good dog? There is certainly truth to this. Make sure your dog doesn’t have the energy to be awake and whine when you’re asleep. 

Different breeds have their own unique physical exercise and mental stimulation needs. Get to know your breed and what they require to stay happy. 

Poor Training

Every dog needs training. If your dog hasn’t been trained and he thinks that whining will make you do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, he might try whining at night just to wake you up. For example, if a poorly trained dog decides he wants to play fetch in the middle of the night, he might try whining to get you out of bed. 

Medical Issues

Of course, your dog may be whining to let you know he isn’t feeling well. If your dog is whining at night and there isn’t an obvious reason for this, bring him to the veterinarian. He may have a medical problem that needs to be addressed. 

If a medical problem causes pain or discomfort for your dog, it may lead to whining. Below are some examples of such medical issues. 

shiba inu dog outdoors
An energetic Shiba Inu outdoors enjoying nature

Gastrointestinal Upset

This is a common cause of whining. If your canine companion is nauseous or has stomach pain at night, he’s likely to whine. Of course, there are many different potential root causes of gastrointestinal upset. 

If you think your dog is suffering from an upset tummy, look at the food you are feeding him. Has your pet been vomiting or having diarrhea? Ask your vet for advice. It’s possible that he has an allergy or there is something in his food that is making him sick. 

Injury

A dog that is suddenly whining at night may have been injured in some way. The American Animal Hospital Association has listed behavioral changes as potential signs of injury in canines. Bring your pet to the veterinarian if you have any suspicion they may be injured. 

There are other common signs of injury in dogs, as well. If you see any of these, it’s even more likely that your canine companion may be injured. 

Lack of Enthusiasm for Play

An injured dog probably won’t want to play or interact with other dogs or even humans. He may seem lethargic and anxious, and his personality might seem quite different than usual. 

sleeping cockapoo puppy
Audrey the sleeping Cockapoo – Photo by Tim Collins /CC BY

Doesn’t Enjoy Petting

Have you noticed your dog doesn’t seem to enjoy petting the way he used to? Maybe this is just in one area of his body. A dog that flinches a bit when you pet a certain area of his body may have been injured there. 

Lack of Appetite

Like with illness, an injury may lead to a loss of appetite. Always be worried if you notice your pet not being as enthusiastic about his food as he used to be. Ask your veterinarian for advice. 

Not Sleeping Enough

If your dog is up at night whining and he used to sleep soundly through the night before, there is probably a problem. Injury is one possibility. 

dog sleep under bed
Some dogs like to sleep under a bed because to them it feels like a den.

Final Thoughts

There are several potential root causes for your dog whining at night. Be patient and find out what problem is leading to this behavior in your dog.