5 Real Reasons Why Your Dog Is So Needy and Clingy At Night

Why Is My Dog So Clingy At Night

Does your dog stick to you like glue… at night? 

Whether you love it or it bothers you, you want to know why this happens. And preferably how to manage it. 

Your search for answers ends here!

Relax and dive in this article to learn:

  • Why getting older can make a dog needier and clingier.
  • If separation anxiety is the reason why your dog is so needy at night. 
  • Whether the breed of your dog has to do something with their clinginess.
  • One easy tip to make your dog feel calmer and less needy at night (check out the bonus at the end).
  • And much, much more…

Why is my dog so clingy at night?

The reasons why your dog is so clingy at night could be related to their breed, age, history, and overall health. Needy and clingy behavior could stem from separation anxiety, changes in the dog’s routine or environment, dementia (a.k.a. canine cognitive dysfunction) in senior dogs, or pain. 

Why is my dog so needy at night?

Your dog is so needy at night either due to a physical or a psychological reason. The exact cause of neediness could be an environmental change, a mental health issue such as anxiety or dementia (which is typical of old dogs), fear, the need to ask something of you or tell you they’re in pain. 


5 reasons why your dog is clingy and needy at night


It is essential to understand the exact reason why your dog is acting out. That’s how you can adequately address the behavior. 

So, without further delay, here are the reasons why your dog is clingier at night.

#1: Breed-specific clinginess

Certain dogs are needier than others. Hence, they require more attention from their dog parents. 

This is typical of Great Danes and Dobermans. So, depending on the breed and size of your furry friend, your dog may be naturally needy.

That’s why it’s important to do breed research before choosing a canine companion. By doing this, you can make an informed decision. 

Your choice should be based on how much time you can invest in taking care of your new dog friend. This includes walks, but also play time and training. 

Bear in mind that there are dog breeds that cope better with being left home alone. So, even if you’re away for 8 hours a day, it’s possible to get a furry four-legged companion.

For more information, check out this…

Reading Tip: 13 Dog Breeds That Can Be Left Alone For 8 Hours + 9 Tips

#2: Pain 

If you are in pain, would you be able to sleep peacefully? Or would you rather receive some tender love and care? 

There you have it. 

If your dog is ill or in pain, they will be looking for more love and reassurance from your side. This is a sign to look out for.

A dog cannot tell you if they need to go to the vet for a check-up. But if they show more symptoms other than neediness, you know what you have to do. 

An example would be your dog being clingier and out of breath. 

Note: Whenever you notice clinginess, accompanied by other clinical signs, seek a vet’s help. If you’re not able to speak or go to your vet at the moment, you can consult a professional online.

This way you can receive valuable tips on how to ease your dog’s situation. Plus, you’ll get a better idea of what to expect during the physical check-up. 

#3: Environmental changes

Clingy Dog Dealing With Change Meme

If your dog’s routine changes or isn’t stimulating enough, it will affect their mood. Having a routine is important for dogs. 

In times of change or need, dogs seek company. While humans reach out to their friends during times of emotional disturbance, your dog will turn to you for support. 

Data from a recent study has proven this. The results showed that 26% of dogs who lost a fellow furry friend became more needy or clingy. 

So next time your dog acts needy or clingy consider this:

Is your dog adapting to a new change in your home? If so, this could be the reason for their clingy behaviour.

Dogs don’t have friends to phone when they are in need; they only have you to lean on. Your presence makes what’s happening more bearable.

Discover: 11 reasons why dogs act clingy all of a sudden

#4: Separation anxiety

Like people, dogs can also suffer from separation anxiety. If this is the case, there will be more signs than just their clinginess when you get home. 

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety may act destructively when left alone. 

Signs of separation anxiety include:

  • Pacing.
  • Change in appetite.
  • Whining and/or barking when left alone.
  • Scratches at the doors, walls and/or floors.
  • Destructive chewing of cables, furniture and hazardous items.

Keep an eye on these signs to identify possible anxiety in your dog.  

#5: Old age and dementia

As your dog ages, certain health issues will inevitably develop. A recent study revealed that about 60% of older dogs get canine dementia. 

This is a common illness in dogs older than 10 human years. It’s also called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD). This ailment could be the reason your older dog is acting needier. 

As I mentioned earlier, certain breeds are prone to specific medical conditions. 

Keep in mind that small dogs typically have longer lifespans than bigger ones. Due to this, CCD is more commonly seen in smaller dog breeds that generally live longer. 

While many dogs with dementia become needier, some want to be alone. This choice depends on the dog’s personality and confidence. Plus their life experience so far. 

BONUS: Fearful dog alert

Is your dog easily scared? 

If so, maybe there’s something that’s making them fearful at night. And to cope with their fear, they come to you. 

They either sit on your lap or lay on top of you. And as bizarre as it might sound, maybe they even try to sleep on your head.

They do this because they see you as their protector. And when you’re not around, they lack confidence they can deal with whatever scares them.


5 tips to stop your dog from being needy and clingy at night


When you notice a change in your dog’s behavior, it is a good idea to consult your vet asap. They will be able to accurately diagnose a medical issue if there’s one. 

As to what you can do, here are some easy tips to follow. 

#1: Keep your furry friend busy

Sometimes a dog will be needy because they’re not stimulated enough. Perhaps you haven’t had enough time to walk them lately. As a result, they get shorter walks.

If this is the case, don’t worry. Luckily, you can make up for it. By adding some excitement to your dog’s routine. 

Get your dog busy. By getting them puzzle toys. Physical activities are necessary for a healthy dog. And so are mental. These will tire your dog before bedtime and the clinginess should reduce.

I also encourage you to play games like fetch or tug of war. These games combine physical activity and distance. Plus, they teach your dog it’s okay to be apart sometimes.

#2: Make sure you meet your dog’s needs 

If your dog is suddenly needy, they’re probably trying to tell you something. Perhaps you’re breaking a routine, such as their daily walk or dinner time. 

Maybe your dog is too hot or cold in the house. Or, they haven’t had enough exercise throughout the day. 

Watch your dog’s body language. Look for recurring cues. And let your pooch show you what they need.

Their cuddles could simply be their way of getting your attention. So you could tend to their needs. After all, just like you’re looking for comfort, so is your dog. 

Stick to the basics. Ensure your dog has their water at all times. Give food each day at the same time. 

Don’t cut short on exercise. Ensure at least 30 minutes of play daily. And keep an eye on the temperature in the house.

#3: Dogs need their own space too

Much like we have our own rooms we go to at the end of the day, dogs need their “room” too. Does your dog sleep in your bed or in your room

If so, you might be enabling their neediness. Try creating an area in your home where they can go rest. This could be a crate or a dog bed.

Then train your dog to go to their dedicated place when you tell them. You can do this by using positive reinforcement techniques. Such as luring your dog in with some tasty dog cookies.

Creating such boundaries will help stop clinginess. 

#4: Train your dog to stay calm

Some dogs are very excitable. The slightest movement or sound, and their ears go straight up. The forehead wrinkles. And your pooch is more alert than a spy on a mission. 

This can worsen needy behavioral patterns though. To avoid that, train your dog to remain calm during these times. This will also help establish rules in the house. 

To manage this, you can train your dog to “sit”. You can do that by using a clicker and treats. 

Simply voice out the command, and click immediately after your dog does it. Followed by a tasty treat.

#5: Add something to your dog’s nightly routine

If you struggle to calm a needy dog when it’s time for bed, a treat could do the trick.

Giving your dog a treat before bed may seem like a bad idea. However, it will give them something to look forward to.

This enforces a bedtime routine. They’ll learn that once they get their treat, it’s time for bed. And for you to take a break. 

BONUS: Put an old T-Shirt of yours in your dog’s sleeping place

O.K. By now you should know that dogs sometimes are clingy and needy because they need reassurance. That they’re safe and everything’s going to be fine, that they won’t be left alone.

But hey, while you want to give your dog the most comfort you can, you also want to retain your sleep. Good news! You can have the best of both worlds. 🙂

You won’t have to worry that your dog is feeling all alone. Or that they’ll bark or howl endlessly in the crate. 

How?

By leaving an old cloth of yours in their crate or dog bed. It would be best if you have worn it at least once recently and not washed it. 

That way your scent will be stronger. And will serve as a calming aid to your dog during nighttime. Combine this with a treat, and let your dog get used to their sleeping place.