Dogs and their sleeping habits explained
In today’s article, we’re going to examine the fascinating reality that is sleep – and in particular, how much of it a dog needs. We’ll examine breeds that like to nap more than others and discuss the wonders of dreaming.
How much sleep does a dog need on average?
On average, an adult dog needs between 12 and 14 hours of sleep, with periods of rest during the day and night.
Puppies, on the other hand, need about 18 hours of sleep, in part because they’re growing but also because they exhaust themselves exploring their new environment.
It’s perfectly normal for adult dogs and puppies alike to nap during the day, so don’t let this concern you.
Which dog breeds sleep the most?
Some notable sleepers include: the Bulldog, French Bulldog, Greyhound, Saint Bernard, Chow Chow, Great Dane, Pug, Mastiff and Basset Hound.
Some of these breeds are big, some are small; some like to exercise, some like to eat – there isn’t a single explanation that clarifies why they’re all big sleepers, but if you’re an owner of one of these breeds, you’ve no doubt noticed them slinking off for a snooze.
Which dog breeds sleep the least?
While almost all dogs like to sleep at night and during the day, there are a few rare breeds that don’t need to. The Pomeranian, for instance, has enough energy to keep going throughout daylight hours. The Australian Terrier is the same. Then there’s the Labrador Retriever, the famed working dog who’s as adept on the farm as he is in the police force. Labs don’t need to nap if they’re kept busy but are partial to a snooze when things get slow.
Do dogs dream?
There’s no way of knowing for sure, but scientists think that dogs do dream. An electroencephalogram (EEG for short) is used to test canine brain activity during slumber. Like humans, dogs enter deep sleep, at which time they start to twitch and begin to experience rapid eye movements (that’s why it’s called REM sleep).
Have you noticed your dog whine, whimper or move their legs – yet their eyes are tightly shut? Yup, they’re dreaming, and those involuntary movements are similar to the ones humans make too!
As an aside, scientists believe that other mammals – and even birds – experience dreams too. Incredible stuff.
How can I help my dog get to sleep?
There are a few things you can do. The most obvious: set up a spot with a comfy bed that your dog can call his own. Another: exercise him regularly – preferably every day – to tire him out. Finally, stick to a consistent mealtime routine and don’t change his food regularly, as this could disrupt his day-night rhythm.
Why are my dog’s sleeping habits changing? Sleeping habits do tend to change over time, especially as a dog gets older, and a change in diet can often throw up unexpected surprises too. The only time you should really be concerned, however, is if your dog seems endlessly fatigued and struggles to get out of bed. Here, a heart condition or underactive thyroid can be the underlying problem, so speak to your vet to get answers.