What Food Makes Dogs Sleepy?

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Dogs’ energy levels seem to drop after eating. Find out what food makes dogs sleepy and how to monitor their diet for optimal energy as pet owners.

There are several types of foods that can make your dogs sleepy. Excess carbohydrates, fats, specific proteins, and nutrients like tryptophan and magnesium can cause drowsiness after eating. Having sleepy dogs after eating is often normal and healthy.

As people with years of experience raising dogs of all sizes, and a little scientific knowledge, we’re here with you to explore the effects of different foods on your dogs’ energy levels. If you have a serious health concern for your pet, always contact a veterinarian immediately.

What Can I Add to My Dog’s Diet to Make It Sleepy?

Tryptophan, bananas, and specially formulated dietary supplements are good options for helping your dog to get a good night’s sleep without medication.

For anything stronger, or a real sedative effect, you’ll have to talk to a vet.

Many dog owners notice that certain foods make their pups sleepier than others. But which snacks and treats are the most likely to make our dogs feel drowsy?

It’s not always obvious if this after-meal sleepiness is a good thing; it depends on several factors. Some human foods are healthy for dogs, while others can be dangerous.

There are great options to feed your furry friend to help them fall asleep.

Note: Before looking at dietary changes for your dog, consider external factors like background noise. Dogs are known to like classical music for sleep and anxiety.

Tryptophan-Rich Foods

Foods that are high in the amino acid called l-tryptophan can help your dog feel calm and more sleepy after a meal.

Tryptophan plays a key role in serotonin production, a neurotransmitter involved in sleep and mood regulation.

This is the same amino acid humans often blame for that Thanksgiving dinner coma.

In reality, especially in humans, the soporific effect of turkey and l-tryptophan works the same way but is mild to non-existent in humans, depending on the quantity consumed. Dogs happen to be smaller.

Specific protein-rich foods have naturally high levels of l-tryptophan.

Foods like turkey, chicken, and eggs are healthy for your dog, but large servings could be why they’re napping on the couch after eating.

What Is a Natural Relaxer for Dogs?

Certain herbs like valerian root and chamomile are safe for dogs, can induce a calming effect, and promote restful sleep.

These herbs are particularly helpful if you struggle with an anxious dog, a common problem.

You can add a small amount to your dog's food or try one of many great store-bought options.

Our dogs don’t need these, but we’ve had the Zesty Paws Calming Chews recommended a few times.

As with adding a supplement to your own diet, consult your dog’s doctor (vet) about any non-food item you want to incorporate.

Remember, reducing anxiety for your dog will need training or lifestyle changes to ensure your dog chills out and gets good sleep. The right amount of exercise can make a dog turn a whole new leaf.

While safe for normal dogs, herbs like valerian root should not be given to puppies or older dogs.

Do Bananas Make My Dog Sleep?

No, bananas do not have a direct impact on the sleepiness of your dog.

While bananas may not have a tranquilizing effect on your dog, they are packed with nutrients that can support a healthy dog’s sleep cycle and keep them resting the whole night.

The same is true for you, too! Adding bananas to your and your dog’s diet is a great way to sneak in a low-cal treat and a little nutritional boost. Bananas will not make your dog drowsy.

In addition to their sleep cycle benefits, bananas are packed with other nutrients like potassium, B vitamins, and biotin, which all contribute to overall health, wellness, and longevity.

Can Dog Food Make a Dog Sleepy?

Yes. A low-quality diet or a cheap commercial dog food brand can make your dog sleep after meals. Poor nutrition leads to low energy and mood in all animals, dogs, and humans.

If your dog is often drowsy or listless, their diet could be the issue. Improper nutrition or too much fat or carbohydrates can contribute to the overall sleepiness of a dog.

Are you looking for great store-bought food to serve as a nutritional foundation for your canine companion? Our favorite is Blue Buffalo’s Freedom brand, usually with chicken.

Are Grains Bad for Dogs?

There’s nothing wrong with grain varieties, but the lack of grains lets us customize our dogs’ diets more carefully.

It’s worth considering your dog’s age and size when you decide what food and how much to feed them.

Senior dogs in old age and puppies have very different nutritional needs that can lead to sleepiness when they’re not met.

Fats for your Dog’s Health

Fats are an energy-rich source of nutrients for dogs, and they can keep your dog satisfied after eating. However, an excess of fats in the diet, or unhealthy fats, slow the metabolism to a crawl, resulting in a dog sleeping often.

Remain vigilant over the types of fat you are feeding your dog. Table scraps are especially bad and can make a dog tired. Human food tends to have way more fat than any dog would ever need.

Healthy fats like avocado, peanuts, oily fish, and flaxseed oil are good choices for your dog if you’re looking to make them some special treats or additions to their meal. Keep the amount small, though.

There are plenty of immune system benefits plus arthritis relief associated with giving your dog healthy fats.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are the primary energy source for humans, dogs, and every other animal on Earth, but in excess, they have a de-energizing effect. Dogs will experience sugar crashes, too.

When your dog metabolizes carbs, they release glucose and receive a burst of energy. If the serving of carbs is too big, or it is an off-limits human food like candy, there can be a crash afterward that leads to drowsiness.

Food like candy, chips, white bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes are not suitable for your dog and will make them sleepy in large amounts.

Whole grains and complex starch, like, for example, sweet potatoes, however, can improve your dog's health and energy. (Sweet potatoes have a bonus boost of vitamin C.)

Our dogs receive a homemade meatball each day that includes sweet potatoes, oatmeal, or whole brown rice as a good source of healthy, slow-metabolizing carbs.

Should a Dog Rest After Eating?

Absolutely, yes. You should avoid vigorous play or exercise with your dog immediately following a meal.

Waiting about 90 minutes to an hour is a rule of thumb. Your pet relies on you to enforce this.

Too much activity can cause the partially-digested food in their stomach to shift, causing gastrointestinal issues and discomfort.

Esophageal reflux (the food coming back up) is common in dogs following dinnertime. You don’t want your dog uncomfortable or even vomiting.

More serious conditions like bloating and internal torsion can happen in rare cases. The digestive health of your dog is not something to take lightly!

Consider planning your daily long walk to end 30 minutes before feeding time or starting 2 hours after your dog has been fed.

Advice for Pet Owners

It’s crucial to allow time for the food to get digested properly before diving into high-energy physical activities, no matter how tempting it is to start playing right away.

Some dogs get playful after eating, which can make it hard to enforce this rule since we love spending time with our pets.

We know it’s more fun to see your dog awake, but important biological stuff happens while it sleeps. Light play and affection are just fine after a meal.

About THE AUTHOR

Mark Brunson

Mark Brunson

Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.

Read more about Mark Brunson