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Why Is My Dog Pacing at Night?

Learn the reasons dogs pace at night.

It may take a while to get your new puppy or adopted dog used to a human schedule of being up during the day and asleep at night, but once you do, you can probably count on many years of good nights' sleep. Most dogs love to curl up next to or near their owners and snooze all night.

However, some dogs suddenly seem to become nocturnal, pacing and whining all night as though they're worried about paying the bills. Learn the main reasons dogs pace at night.


When a dog is hurting, she may pace around and cry. That could be because it's hard for her to get comfortable. It may be abdominal or joint pain causing the issue.

Note: This cause of pacing doesn't limit itself to nighttime. The dog will be engaging in the pacing behavior during the day as well and may show other signs of pain like limping in the case of joints or vomiting in the case of belly pain.


Some dogs develop anxiety disorders that can cause them to be up at night pacing. These dogs usually have other signs of anxiety too, like licking at themselves, chewing at household items, or acting upset at certain times. This condition also often manifests at times other than only during the night.

Cognitive Disorder

This is something that's seen in older dogs and is like senility in people. It is one condition that does often show up as panting and pacing specifically at night. It's caused by changes in the brain that affect the sleep cycle and is as though the dog gets day and night mixed up. Dogs with cognitive disorder often show other signs of the condition also, including forgetting where the food bowl is, getting stuck in corners, and generally seeming anxious and confused.

You can learn more about this condition here: "Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome: Senility in Dogs."

If your dog suddenly begins pacing at night or any time, call your vet right away.

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