Dog Is Restless And Keeps Changing Places? (Counselor)

It’s bedtime, but your dog is restless and keeps changing his bed?

Perhaps you have noticed that your dog is suddenly sleeping somewhere else?

Restlessness and sleep disturbances in dogs are not uncommon. In most cases, these are stress factors in the dog’s everyday life, boredom or being overwhelmed.

Sometimes this constant hustle and bustle can also be caused by pain. For example, if your dog has abdominal pain or is unable to lie comfortably due to osteoarthritis, they may exhibit the same symptoms.

Here’s how to find out what’s bothering your dog, what you can do, and when you should see a vet.

In a nutshell: Why is my dog so restless and keeps changing places?

Is your dog restless and constantly changing places? Your dog’s restlessness may be due to:

  • stress
  • urinary tract infections
  • Physical complaints
  • Uncomfortable berth
  • Bad occupancy

If you suspect a urinary tract infection or other physical complaints, you should consult a veterinarian.

Causes of restlessness in dogs

The causes of behavior can be both psychological and physical. In both cases you should pay close attention to your animal and also try to recognize possible side symptoms.

1. Psychological causes

Does your dog suddenly change its sleeping place or is it running around restlessly?

Maybe something scared him a few days ago when he was lying in his usual place. Maybe a strange noise or a plant that has just been there?

It’s also possible that your dog just can’t find peace because he’s not getting enough work and is bored.

Especially if your dog sees himself as the leader of the pack, he will try to protect you at night and will change his location frequently to do so.

See if the behavior goes away with more activity and clearer roles.

If you get stuck, you can work with a dog trainer on the mental blockages.

2. Physical causes

Does your dog lie down and keep getting up?

An old dog can be restless and constantly changing places when his bones and joints are aching. Osteoarthritis in particular ensures that lying in one position is not possible for long.

Is your dog not that old yet?

Then he might have other pains. Urinary tract infections can cause your dog to run around a lot or even urinate in the apartment.

It can also be a stomach ache, which gets worse once your dog lies down.

Watch your dog closely and watch him lie down. Is it difficult for him to lie down or does he seem reluctant to lie down?

If you notice that your dog is showing other pains (this can be expressed by whimpering or squeaking, for example), you should go to the vet as soon as possible.

3. External causes

Do you know those nights when it’s either too warm or too cold and your legs are somehow uncomfortable?

Your dog knows that too!

Observe if your dog alternates between shade and sun. Maybe he hasn’t found a “sweet spot” yet.

Your dog sleeps on a blanket and keeps scratching it up?

Be so good as to see if there is anything in the blanket that could hinder your dog, or shake the blanket up a bit.

Symptoms of psychological stress

Mental stress does not usually show up in just one situation. Does your dog not like to be left alone and starts barking and howling when you leave him alone?

Then your dog may be suffering from separation and loss fears, which means that he constantly wants to check at night whether you are really still there.

The stresses can also show up in dealing with other pets, people and children. If your dog has had a bad experience with children, it may well be that he reacts to them immediately with stress.

In such cases, dog trainers or dog psychologists can help you.

You can find many different contact points on the internet.

When to the vet if your dog is suddenly very restless?

You should see a vet if your dog is exhibiting other symptoms, such as:

  • whine or howl
  • can no longer take off or only with difficulty
  • can’t hold his urine anymore
  • extreme tiredness

If the symptoms appear extremely suddenly, have lasted for several hours or even days and other symptoms also appear, you should go to the vet.

If in doubt, we advise you to contact the veterinarian once too often.

Better safe than sorry.

What can you do for your dog now?

Create a space for your dog that doesn’t get extremely hot or cold. There you can spread out a blanket for him to lie down on comfortably.

If you know your dog has musculoskeletal problems, you can also get him several blankets or an orthopedic dog bed with soft padding.

If your dog shows interest in going for a walk, that can also be a good first step. Keep your dog busy and then see if he can sleep deeper later.


In the case of sleep disorders and restlessness in the dog, the veterinarian does not always have to be consulted immediately.

As a rule, you can simply keep your dog busy, wash or unroll the blanket or sit on the sofa and play with him for a while.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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