About four years ago, when my pug Beans was about 12 years old, she started acting strange at night. It wasn’t every single night, but it came in waves. She’d have a few restless nights, then would be fine for a few weeks. Then she’d have another few nights where she’d be off, and so on. Sometimes we’d go months in between episodes like this, even.
When she was acting strange at night, it was usually just not staying settled in place. She’d circle and lay down, then get right back up like she was hunting for a new spot to lay down. Except, she’d never stay laid down very long, and wouldn’t fall asleep. On a couple of occasions she also would try to pace, walking from one room to another. This was extra weird behavior for her, she never really cared to leave the room from where I was, normally. So when she’d try to leave the bedroom I was laying in and just walk around in the kitchen aimlessly? That was definitely weird!
When we talked to our vet about it, they recommended that we just try to track behaviors around her restless sleep to try to pinpoint the cause. Here are some of the potential reasons why your pug could be acting strange at night. Hopefully you can consider these, and then look for signs of them when your dog is restless to figure out what is the cause for your pug!
Reasons why your pug is acting weird at night
Has to go potty.
If your dog has to go to the bathroom but you’re already snuggled in bed, they may struggle with not knowing how to communicate to you that they need outside. This is a super easy thing to try. Whenever Beans was acting weird at night, I’d try to take her outside to see if having a chance to relieve herself could help her to settle down.
Too much energy.
If your pug isn’t getting enough exercise during the day, they may just be restless at night due to having too much energy. If you try to keep track of your pug’s activity levels, you can see if their ‘off’ nights occur more often on days where they had less exercise.
Thunder or storms
It’s common for pugs to struggle to sleep when there is thunder happeing outside. A few times over the years, we wouldn’t even notice the thunder until we realized Beans was acting strange. Then we’d hear really quiet thunder way in the distance. I assume it was easier for her to hear than it was for us. Ihunder scared her, so even if it was pretty distant and quiet, she’d struggle to sleep if it was storming.
Pugs are clingy and require a lot of attention. If your pug is struggling to settle at night in their kennel, it could be separation anxiety. If you’ve moved or have changed anything in your home, it could be anxiety related to those changes.
Beans had progressing blindness in the last few years of life. We noticed that her vision loss would come in spurts. Sometimes we could just tell that she woke up seeing less than she had been able to see the day before. We could tell because she’d temporarily struggle to navigate our regular home environment. It never took her more than a few days to adjust again, thankfully. Anyway – on those days where we could tell she had lost more vision, she’d often be restless, panting and pacing at night. I think for some reason, the lessened vision was anxiety-inducing for her at night.
If you have bad joints or arthritis, you have probably noticed that sometimes the pain really amps up at night. This can be true for dogs, too. If your pug has joint pain, it may be more painful at night and disrupt their sleep. If you suspect that your pug has joint pain, make an appointment with the vet for help.
Bellyaches, infection, illness
Your pug may have an upset stomach, or just generally not feel good. You know hw sometimes it’s just hard to get comfortable and relax when you’re sick? Your pug may be feeling that way. Giving your pug a good look-over to check for signs of any pain or infection may help. Check their ears, paws and wrinkles in particular, as those areas are prone to irritation and infection in pugs.
Sometimes older dogs develop dementia. One symptom of doggy dementia is nighttime restlessness. If this is something you suspect, make an appointment to check in with your vet.
Uncomfortable sleep environment.
If the climate or something else about your pug’s sleep environment is uncomfortable, that may make it hard for them to relax. Pugs are really sensitive to temperature, so if your pug is restless as it gets closer to summer, they may need a cooler environment for sleep. If they’re getting older and having joint pain, they may need a more supportive bed than they used to use.
Related post: Pug can’t get comfortable? How to help.
If your pug acts weird at night and you’ve figured out why, drop a comment sharing what the cause was. Your experience may help another pug owner!
For us, our pug Beans seemed to be restless when it was storming, when she had recently lost more vision, or when she had urinary tract infections.