You’re likely familiar with the phrase “let sleeping dogs lie.” In day-to-day situations, it’s probably a good idea to know when to leave things alone, but did you know that, taking the expression a little more literally, dogs require twice as much sleep as people?
Dogs experience REM (rapid eye movement) and SWS (slow wave sleep) like humans do, though their sleep cycles are much shorter than ours. Slow wave sleep is a less deep of a slumber than REM, and is typically the time when your dog is most easily roused.
Because dogs experience periods of REM, they also have dreams. Many dog owners report their animal kicking, growling and even barking in his sleep! Dreaming occurs during REM sleep wherein the dog’s body is extremely relaxed.
Puppies require even more sleep than their adult counterparts. A large amount of brain development occurs during sleep, so still-developing dogs need some extra shut-eye as they mature to adulthood. Though pups are often quite energetic, it’s not uncommon for them to fall asleep in the middle of play in unlikely places. Some may sleep up to 18 or even 20 hours a day!
Dogs can sleep anywhere, but when choosing a sleep spot owners should consider several factors. Dogs need to be able to both curl up and spread out to correspond with different phases of sleep, and of course animals have preferences just like people do, so it’s important to choose both an area and a bed that your dog seems to be comfortable with.
Your bed: depending on the breed it may be best for your furry friend to have his own area in which to snooze, so if you have a labrador or a dane it may not be best for Fido to bunk down with his human parents.
Dog beds: A dog bed either in the master bedroom where the people sleep is a popular choice, while some families situate their dogs sleeping place in another area of the house. Many owners feel that allowing the dog on the bed is a bad practice, especially in the case where dogs aren’t allowed on couches or other furniture.
Outside: Some owners have “outside dogs” that aren’t kept much in the house. Outside dogs should always have a dog house for shelter from sun and rain, even in temperate climates. Put down blankets or carpeting, and add some extra insulation in the winter; if you live in a northern area with particularly cold winters, consider letting your pooch sleep on the landing or in an in-between area like the sun or mud room when temperatures become too low.
Taking care of your dog’s sleeping habits is just as important as seeing after your own. Make sure you understand your dog’s health needs as well–other help problems can quickly lead to interruptions in rest and sleep, which can in turn worsen your dog’s health. Dogs sleep more than people, and he should have his own space that’s both comfortable and relaxing.
Blog post by Amber Kingsley