Dogs love a good nap. Compared to humans, our canine companions require more sleep, and they typically spend between 8 and 13 hours per day snoozing. Just like humans, though, dogs sleep more at night, and their sleep patterns can change as they age. It’s not unheard of for dogs to have sleep problems, too!
If you’re concerned about whether your dog is getting their fair share of snoozes, you’re in the right place. Read on to find out all you can about your dog’s sleeping pattern and what you need to do to provide them with a home environment that’s conducive to rest.
How Do Dogs Sleep?
Many new pet owners pay special attention to the selection of wholesale dog beds in their local pet store when they’re shopping for a new furred family member. Providing a good sleeping environment, after all, is one of the keys to helping your new puppy or adult dog become comfortable in their new home.
During the first few weeks of life, your pup will likely spend most of their hours in their dog bed. This is because, at around 16 weeks, puppies tend to sleep for an average of 11 hours per day or 14 hours and beyond. There’s no need to be alarmed, though, as they’ll grow out of this period. By the time they’re a year old, your pet will likely adopt the regular sleeping habits of the average canine.
Now, human sleep cycles last between 70 to 120 minutes, meaning we can reach rapid eye movement (REM) sleep within that time. Dogs, however, only sleep for 45 minutes at a time, and they can complete 2 sleep cycles within that period.
Also, dogs are polyphasic sleepers, which means that they can sleep and wake up several times within a 24-hour period. In comparison, humans typically need to sleep for 7 hours straight to consider themselves well-rested. So, if you find that your dog’s sleeping hours don’t exactly align with yours, don’t be alarmed.
What Are the Signs of Poor Sleep in Dogs?
Again, like humans, there are tell-tale signs you can look for to see if a dog is not getting enough sleep. Here are some of them:
- Difficulty doing their usual tasks
Sometimes, a poor night’s rest may be due to an uncomfortable bed, a noisy environment, or an upset stomach. However, the issues listed above can be caused by other health conditions, so it’s best to bring your dog to the vet for a checkup if you notice any of these symptoms.
What Can Increase a Dog’s Likelihood of Developing Sleep Disorders?
A dog’s risk for acquiring sleep disorders depends on a lot of factors, such as their breed and age. Brachycephalic dogs, or breeds that have short faces, are prone to sleep disorders due to their anatomy. These dogs have narrowed nasal openings, a soft palate, a thin trachea, and other attributes that can prevent them from breathing well while they’re sleeping. As such, it’s common for these dog breeds to suffer from sleep apnea and stop breathing at night, which can disturb their sleep cycles.
In addition to obstructive sleep apnea, some dogs have narcolepsy and REM sleep behavior disorder. Many dogs also change their sleeping patterns as they age, much like humans. To be specific, older pups sleep less and have more trouble dozing off. Certain conditions can also compel dogs to sleep for longer than needed. Examples of such conditions include canine depression, diabetes, or even loss of hearing.
How Do You Provide a Conducive Sleeping Environment for Dogs?
Should medical conditions be ruled out as the root cause of your dog’s sleeplessness, their sleeping environment may be the culprit.
Additionally, some dogs have more sensitive hearing or eyesight than the average pup. As such, putting their sleeping quarters close to the street can keep them from resting properly. This is because they’ll be more likely to hear people and vehicles passing by or sense light coming in from the outside. Light, especially, can set off their circadian rhythm and disturb their sleep.
In case your pup already sleeps in a room conducive for sleep, though, other factors may be at play. Older canines, especially those with joint issues, may need beds that offer more warmth and support so they can sleep better. Dogs with high levels of energy or those that are dealing with stressful situations, on the other hand, can benefit from lots of physical activities during daylight. These activities will help them expend their energy, allowing them to sleep well in the evenings.
How Do You Set a Sleeping Schedule for Your Canine Companion?
Perhaps you want to sync your bedtime with that of your pooch. After all, it can be a pain to let your dog out at night to do their business when you’re in the middle of restful sleep.
The good news is that you can align your sleeping hours with your pet’s by setting a schedule and sticking with it. It can help if you set your sleeping and waking hours at the same time every day. You can also set a specific time each night for letting your dog outside to poop or pee. Doing so consistently will signal to them that they’re expected to go to sleep soon.
What Else Can You Do to Ensure Your Pup Gets Better Sleep?
It’s important to avoid playing exciting games with your pet at night so that they don’t get so worked up or excitable that they can’t get some zzz’s. Just to be safe, you should also consult your veterinarian to see if there are medical interventions that can help your dog rest better.
All in all, it’s a must for pet parents to become familiar with their dogs’ habits and temperaments. This is the first step to determining if their canine companions have any trouble falling asleep. At the same time, learning about dog sleeping behaviors will also give owners the knowledge they need to help their pups get a good night’s rest.
photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-animal-pet-cute-pillow-2506271/
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