FYI: we may earn a commission for qualified purchases made through the links in our articles (learn more).
- Dogs have similar genetic and physical similarities to humans, suggesting that they also dream.
- Dogs experience two stages of sleep, slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which are similar to humans.
- Dogs’ sleeping habits can vary based on factors such as breed, age, and lifestyle, and understanding their sleep needs is important for their well-being.
Just like us, dogs need sufficient sleep to stay healthy and happy. While adult dogs typically sleep for about 12-14 hours per day, older dogs may require even more rest to rejuvenate their aging bodies and minds. To ensure my dog gets the necessary sleep, I pay close attention to his preferences and provide a comfortable dog bed tailored to their size and sleeping habits. My furry companion adores his cozy dog bed, which promotes deep sleep and overall comfort.
But it goes a little bit deeper than that. Just like with us humans, dogs have sleeping patterns that depend on a lot of factors, mainly their physical traits and genetics. In order to truly optimize your dog’s sleep, you need to pay attention to these patterns and accommodate them. Doing so can improve your dog’s health and energy levels, so that you can both enjoy your time together to the fullest.
Sputter, growl, snore, lick, kick, shake, jerk, snooze – oh, the joys of watching your pooch nap!
A dog’s sleeping patterns are a mystery to many; without any direct access to our dog’s mind or thoughts we truly have no definitive answer to what’s going on in there when they’re sleeping. However, by examining studies that highlight the similarities between dogs and humans, we can gain unexpected insights into their sleep behaviors. These insights provide valuable information on how to enhance and optimize our dogs’ sleeping patterns.
Does My Dog Dream?
The short answer: Yes, your dog dreams, just like we humans do! But they don’t exactly have the same experience with them as you or me. For one thing, my dog, and I’m sure yours too, can’t really wake up from a long nap and dish about that crazy dream they had where they chased talking winged hamsters. But similarities between humans and dogs, as Dr. Nicholas Dodman explains for a famous dog website, make it possible to make a very educated and pretty much close-to-accurate guess that dogs do indeed dream.
“We’re 95 percent identical genetically and physically,” says Dr. Dodman. “Because of this blueprint similarity, you might expect a lot of the inner workings to be the same – and they are. Our brains are similar, our neurochemistry is the same, and our reflexes and memory are wired’ in like manner.”
One theory suggests that a dog’s brain works much like a human’s while sleeping, in that the brain most likely uses dreams to process the day’s data as well as for memory storage. The dream state is a time for the mind to refresh itself, much like a computer – it needs time to reorganize and “reboot.” Though this is one possible answer, there are those who disagree that dreams serve this particular function, even in humans. Whether or not this is the case, the good thing is humans can speak up with words instead of woofs. We can assure ourselves that we had what’s called a “dream,” and if dogs are 95 percent similar, then chances are they dream as well.
When researchers study the brain waves of dogs and compare them to those of humans in a dream state, the results are similar. As Dr. Dodman explains, dogs have two stages of sleep identical to those of humans: slow-wave sleep (SWS), followed by rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Slow-wave sleep occurs just as a dog is dozing off on that cushy cushion in his dog crate. At this stage, the dog experiences a “sleep of mind” when mental processes are muted but muscle tone remains.
Following SWS is REM sleep. It’s at this stage that while the dog sleeps, while the mind goes into that dream stage identifiable by sputtering jerks and the dog’s darting eyes. An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a brain wave, and a fast brain wave pattern indicates a lot of mental happenings, which points researchers straight to identifying the activity as dreams, says Dr. Dodman.
Just as humans may talk in their sleep or jerk a leg during REM sleep, so do dogs. They might bark, twitch, paw at the air, and look like they’re running on their sides. And just like their human counterparts, adult dogs spend about 10 to 12 percent of their dog naps in REM sleep, explains Dr. Dodman, while puppies snooze away for a much longer time, no doubt compacting huge quantities of newly acquired data.
But not all dogs are the same when it comes to how much or how little they sleep. Different breeds and dog lifestyles exhibit different sleeping habits and patterns. Some dogs sleep more, some sleep less, and older dogs may require more sleep to rest their bodies.
Understanding your dog’s sleeping habits can help provide them with a comfortable dog bed that suits their preferences. Additionally, dogs may have different sleeping positions, and observing your dog’s sleeping positions can give you insight into their sleep quality and overall well-being. So pay attention to your dog’s sleep habits, provide them with a cozy dog bed, and ensure they get the rest they need to stay healthy and happy.
Is My Dog Sleeping Too Much? Too Little?
We all wonder what our beloved dogs do while we’re away at work, but their activities might not be so mysterious after all. It’s likely that when left in an empty house without their usual playthings (i.e., humans), our dogs prioritize their much-needed rest and indulge in a generous amount of sleep. Dogs sleep in various positions and have their unique sleeping habits, just like us humans.
The duration and quality of a dog’s sleep are influenced by factors such as their physical characteristics, age, and individual preferences. Puppies, for instance, require more sleep as their bodies and minds develop. As pet parents, we may need to ensure that our energetic puppies don’t overexert themselves by implementing designated nap and rest times. It’s essential for their well-being.
Dogs tend to change sleeping patterns as they grow older. Similar to humans, older dogs often spend more time sleeping or dozing, especially when they face age-related challenges like arthritis or hip dysplasia. It’s during these deep sleep moments that they find comfort and relief from any discomfort they may experience.
In the case of adult dogs, their sleeping routines are likely influenced by their age and environment. According to experts, most dogs sleep approximately 14 hours a day, combining shorter naps and longer snoozes. However, certain large breeds like Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, and Mastiffs may require even more sleep, possibly reaching 16 or even 18 hours a day. It’s fascinating to witness the variations in dogs’ sleeping positions and habits, as each dog has their preferred way of finding tranquility.
Proper Waking Habits Are Important Too!
While it may seem like our dogs are lucky to have 14 hours of sleep each day, it’s important to remember that dogs wake up more frequently than humans do. Factors such as lifestyle and mental stimulation throughout the day play a crucial role in dog sleeping habits overall. Dogs that lack sufficient exercise or mental engagement may resort to napping out of boredom, which can make it challenging for pet parents to establish a consistent sleep routine. On the other hand, dogs involved in activities that offer prolonged socialization and mental stimulation eagerly retreat to their cozy dog beds when it’s time to rest.
These observations primarily apply to dogs in urban environments, where their pet parents often spend long hours away at work. In such settings, dogs may rely on their comfortable dog beds as their daily solace, seeking refuge in them after a tiring day. Conversely, dogs living in more rural settings, such as farms, enjoy the luxury of freely roaming vast areas and often have important responsibilities to fulfill. These working dogs, unlike their urban counterparts, accompany their humans to work every day, not just on dog-friendly Fridays. They contribute as full-time partners, dedicating their energy and loyalty to the tasks at hand.
Understanding our dogs’ sleep needs and honoring their sleep habits is an integral part of responsible pet ownership. By providing them with a comfortable dog bed and ensuring they have ample opportunities for exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization, we can promote healthier sleeping habits for our furry companions, whether they are puppies, adult dogs, or older dogs requiring a little extra care.
Urbanite dogs must be simulated with runs, hikes, games, indestructible dog toys, dog park visits, and more. If a dog doesn’t receive this kind of exercise and mental stimulation, a pet parent might find himself with a dog suffering from insomnia. This is one of the most common dog sleeping problems.
Insomnia may occur for several reasons, but the easiest reason to rule out is lack of exercise. If your dog seems to be awake at all hours of the night, increase his exercise regimen and invest in some puzzle dog toys to get his mind tuckered out. Depending on the dog’s needs, he should have between 30 minutes to an hour of daily exercise. A dog should also have scheduled daily play time with you and/or other dogs to tire him out.
If making changes to the dog’s exercise routine doesn’t do the trick, then the problem might be due to health issues. One particular possibility for insomnia is that a dog may be suffering from stress. The cause of stress can come from any number of sources — from the neighbor’s kooky cat to the cuckoo clock in the den. Or, a dog might be suffering from an ailment that’s causing him stress. Find the source of the problem by consulting with a veterinarian. Once your vet has ruled out any ailments and has given your dog a clean bill of health, move on to consulting with an animal behaviorist. Someone with this expertise can help you determine what may be causing the problem.
My Dog Snores. Does This Mean He Has a Problem?
Insomnia can be quite challenging for most humans, and as a pet parent, I understand how difficult it can be to get some shut-eye when you have a pooch that snores through the night. I’ve had my fair share of sleepless nights. If you own brachycephalic dogs, like the Pug, Boxer, or Bulldog, you’re probably familiar with the nightly serenades of doggie snoring. According to the largest dog medical center, the term “brachycephalic” literally means “short-faced” and encompasses several breeds.
These dogs are bred with a specific physical structure, which can lead to various ailments such as narrowed nostrils (stenotic nares) and a narrowed windpipe (tracheal stenosis). As a responsible pet parent of these breeds, it’s important not only to be aware of the potential health issues they may face but also to prepare for the long nights of snoring. Personally, I’ve found that keeping a pair of earplugs handy can make a world of difference.
While it’s always advisable to consult with your veterinarian, it’s equally important to determine the underlying cause of your non-brachycephalic pooch’s snoring. It could be an indication of an underlying health problem. In my experience, investigating the root cause of snoring is crucial. Among the numerous reasons for snoring, one obvious possibility is pet obesity. Addressing weight issues in dogs is vital to their overall well-being and can significantly impact their sleeping habits.
According PetMD, around 65 percent of dogs in the US are overweight or obese. That’s approximately 54 million dogs. The weight of our dogs plays a significant role in their overall health, and it’s crucial to monitor their weight and take appropriate measures to ensure they maintain a healthy lifestyle.
One potential consequence of obesity or excess weight in dogs is the collapse of the soft palate, which is the tissue that separates the nasal passage from the oral cavity. This collapse often occurs during sleep, leading to snoring. To address this issue and improve your dog’s sleep quality, it’s essential to implement a healthy regimen that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet. By helping your overweight dog shed those extra pounds, you may be able to alleviate their snoring problem.
The following are some tips for managing your dog’s weight:
- Give a low-fat diet
- Add more fiber (canned pumpkin that is unflavored or supplements)
- Avoid dog treats and make your dog drink more water
- Give your dog plenty of exercise
Snoring in dogs can have various causes, and while weight can be a factor, it’s important to consider other potential contributors as well. One possible cause is food allergies, which are often overlooked in dogs just as they are in humans. Snoring might be an indication of a form of dog allergy. Foods that cause allergies can lead to problems in the respiratory system, mucus build-up, irritation of the airways, and worse, swelling of the throat, affecting a dog’s sleep and overall well-being.
The best way to find the source of your dog’s allergies, or if they have allergies at all, is to take them to a veterinarian. Your vet will perform blood tests, such as a radioallergosorbent (RAST) test or an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, to determine whether your pooch has allergies and how they may be impacting their sleep. Consulting with your vet will provide valuable insights into your dog’s sleeping habits and help address any underlying issues.
If you’re concerned about the cost of conducting blood tests, you may want to start by removing some of the most common allergens from your dog’s diet to see if you notice a difference in their sleep quality. Consider eliminating the following foods to help your dog sleep better:
- Oils and fats
- Table scraps
If none of the aforementioned issues seem to be the cause of your dog’s snoring, it’s worth examining other environmental factors that may impact their sleep. Dry air and smoke can aggravate a dog’s nasal passages as well as his respiratory system, leading to snoring. Dry air is especially bad as it also dries out the nose, throat, as well as the bronchial tubes, causing congestion, dryness, and potential respiratory ailments that can disrupt their deep sleep.
To address these environmental concerns, reducing smoking in your home and investing in a humidifier can make a significant difference in your dog’s sleeping conditions. These adjustments can help improve their overall sleeping habits and create a more comfortable environment for them to rest. Once you see them get into those really comfy-looking and adorable dog sleeping positions, you know you’ve done right by them.
Remember, sleep is vital for dogs of all ages, including adult dogs and older dogs. Providing them with a comfortable dog bed and ensuring their sleeping habits are supported by a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a suitable environment will contribute to their overall well-being and promote a restful sleep routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do dogs sleep the whole night?
Dogs have fascinating sleeping habits, and they don’t sleep throughout the entire night like humans do. On average, dogs spend about 70% of their sleep during the night. The remainder of dogs’ sleep occurs throughout the day. However, it’s important to note that some dogs may require more sleep than others based on their age and individual needs.
Why do dogs sleep all day and all night?
Dogs sleep because their bodies naturally signal them to do so. This is true for both puppies and adult dogs. However, it’s worth mentioning that adult dogs generally need less sleep compared to puppies. It’s their way of recharging their energy levels and maintaining overall health and well-being.
Why do dogs sleep facing away from you?
There can be various reasons why dogs sleep facing away from their owners. For some dogs, it’s simply a matter of personal preference and comfort. It may be more relaxing or secure to have their back turned towards their surroundings while your dog sleeps. This behavior can be observed in dogs of all ages, from puppies to adult dogs and even older dogs.
How long do dogs sleep by age?
The amount of sleep a dog needs can vary based on their age. Newborn puppies, for example, require a significant amount of sleep to support their rapid growth and development. As they grow older, young dogs typically need around 12 to 14 hours of sleep to ensure they stay active and healthy. Adult dogs, on the other hand, may need slightly less sleep, usually around 10 to 12 hours, depending on their individual sleep habits. It’s worth noting that some older dogs sleep more than others, with some sleeping up to 18 hours per day. These longer sleep durations help older dogs maintain their health and recover from the effects of aging.