The face of an elderly golden retriever laying with his head on the floor and arms out to his side.

Pet Remedies to Treat Canine Insomnia

Sleep aid for dogs can become necessary in elderly pups when falling asleep and remaining asleep become increasingly difficult. A disruption in their sleep cycle can be rather frustrating for the pet parents. There are, however, a few pet remedies that can be tried to help everyone get a good night’s rest.

Provide a Cozy Place to Sleep

  • Place your pets’ bed in a warm and well-ventilated area, avoiding places in your home that are drafty.
  • Your pets’ bed should be in a dark area, away from light as light can stimulate pets to stay awake.
  • Provide a comfortable bed with good cushioning for arthritic dogs and extra blankets for comfort.

Plenty of Exercise

  • Exercise will help counteract the time your dog sleeps during the day and balance their inactivity.
  • Keep your pet alert when you are home by playing with them, going for walks or providing toys.
  • Use creative ways to keep their mind working, perhaps placing peanut butter in a treat holder.

Designate Sleeping/Waking Hours

  • Create a routine for awake and sleep times to improve their daytime and nighttime schedules.
  • Having a wide variety of sleep times can make sticking to a schedule more difficult.
  • Create rituals to train your pet to differentiate between when it’s time to sleep and be awake.


  • The use of medication can eliminate age-associated pain and discomfort to improve sleep.
  • Some medications are stimulants used to increase daytime activity and interactions.
  • Consult with your veterinarian before giving any medication and address your concerns.


  • Using calming bites can help with anxiety or discomfort to improve your pet’s ability to rest.
  • The use of a thunder vest can provide compression and help with fear of the weather.
  • Make sure your dog’s environment and sleep space are comfortable, safe, and familiar.


  • Natural Dog Health Remedies suggests valerian, chamomile, and passionflower have calming properties effective in helping canine insomnia.
    • Combine equal parts of valerian and passionflower (or chamomile) and give 4 to 8 drops of the herbal mixture to your dog (depending on his size). The herbal remedy should be given one hour before bedtime, for up to two weeks.
  • Flower essences are a useful sleep aid in dogs, relieving negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, and nervousness caused by physical problems or because of the dog’s surroundings.
  • If your dog cannot sleep due to physical discomfort, pain, or fear, try using the flower essence Bach Flower Essences Rescue Remedy.


  • Diffuse oils with calming effects. Safe oils to use as a sleep aid in dogs are Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Clary Sage, Sweet Marjoram, and Valerian.
  • Alternatively, oils mixed with a carrier can be sprayed in the air or apply topically to your pet’s bed.
  • Essential oil blends specifically targeting insomnia can work as a powerful holistic approach.

Relaxing Modalities

  • Relaxing music can help pets that have sleeplessness due to old age, anxiety, and nervousness.
  • Gentle compressions with a warm cloth provide a soothing sensation and help relax your pet.
  • Gentle massage to joints and muscles can also improve relaxation leading to better sleep in pets.

As pets age, sleepless nights can be rough for the whole family. The pet remedies listed above are recommendations to try with your pets to help them be more comfortable and get a good night’s rest. It is always advised to consult with your veterinarian before adding any medications or essential oils to your pet’s diet.

At Pin Paws, we offer pet plans that include a membership to whiskerDocs (24/7 pet telehealth). When your pet can not sleep, this will provide access to a veterinary expert via phone, chat or email. This can be helpful in situations when pet parents need advice and their home veterinarian office is closed. Contact our Customer Service for more information at 888-918-2386.

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