The Importance of Sleep for Dogs
Sleep might be every life forms’ favorite thing to do and for a very good reason too; tucking yourself into bed every night is a way for our bodies to repair and consolidate memories that all happened in our waking hours. It is vital for a healthy body and doggies are no exception to this rule.
The Nitty Gritty of Doggy Sleep
Overall, our canine friends sleep about 14 hours a day. The number of hours increases or decreases based on age, breed, and the size of the dog. Larger dogs, like Saint Bernards, are happy to doze up to 17 or 18 hours a day while a Chihuahua can be an active, early bird. Puppies are prolific sleepers because of their rapid growth and very active routines when they are awake, which makes sleep even more important for them.
Dogs nap a lot due to their lack of REM sleep. When you have big ears and a strong nose, staying asleep long enough to go into deep sleep can be very challenging, that explains all the napping during the day. However, dogs can go into REM and even dream! Their tail might begin wagging, paws twitch, and little growls or barks can be heard from our pups as they are fast asleep in their beds.
Sometimes we can may think “Is my dog sleeping too much?” or “Maybe they are sleeping too little?” When your dog’s sleeping routine starts to noticeably change, try to think about what might have happened to cause it.
Age is a major factor in sleep pattern changes. As our canine companions get older, they tend to sleep more because they get tired out more easily. While this necessarily is not a bad thing, an aging animal can also develop some health problems to cause a change.
Diabetes can affect sleep by making it harder to actually fall asleep, causing fatigue in your dog. Another issue that we do not usually think about is hearing loss; imagine how much more you would sleep if you did not have any noises like your kids or alarm to disturb you! Our beloved canines can also be affected by depression unfortunately, and this is why vet check ups are essential. Reporting any behavioral change like sleep can be a big indicator for vets to do certain tests and help get Fido healthy again.
On the other hand, our dogs might seem restless at night. Livestock guardians are an example of good restlessness at night; they patrol and protect their animals at night from predators and catch up on their sleep during the day. But if you have a house terrier that can’t seem to lay down for a long time without getting up at night, there might be something else at play.
Sleepy Time Treats and Remedies
While we might not be able to give our pups some tea or warm milk, there are some other tricks to help them have an easier time falling asleep.
Investing in a better pet bed is another little thing you can do to not only spoil your companion, but give them the necessary comfort to get that REM sleep. Elevated beds are joint savers and allow adequate ventilation for dogs that get really hot when they sleep. An orthopedic bed or memory foam is another great option, especially those with arthritis.
Lavender is a natural plant and scent that makes even the best of us very sleepy. Diffusing or spraying a doggie safe product and amount in the area where your pet sleeps every night before bed will help them get into a bedtime routine.
Evening exercising before your canine eats gets that late-night energy out of them and the weight of food in their stomach lets them settle down more quickly in their beds. And if after all of this your dog is having trouble relaxing you can also try some doggie massage to help relieve muscle tension, reduce blood pressure and alleviate stress.
DogFest would like to give special thanks to our guest author John Woods the founder of All Things Dogs. A publication built to educate over 40,000,000 dog owners on how to care for their dogs.