I could sit for hours and watch my dog sleep–his peaceful expression made it seem like all was right with the world.
Few things bring as much gratification to loving dog owners than watching their furry friend cuddled in their special blanket, eyes partially closed, snoring away in contented, heavenly sleep.
If you’re a dog parent, you know dogs love to sleep. You might be curious why they sleep so much–and what are they really dreaming when you see their paws twitching and legs running mid-air, while they recline in splendid doggie slumber.
How Much Do Dogs Sleep?
By nature, dogs tend to sleep a lot! Whether it’s draped over the foot of your bed at night or dozing on the warm patio during the day, rest assured your dog is probably napping in some form or another while you’re away.
It turns out that dogs in general need a lot of sleep. But how much is normal?
How Many Hours Do Dog Sleep?
The average dog will spend about half-the-day, twelve to twenty-four (12-24) hours, asleep.
Older dogs tend to need more rest as do certain canine breeds. Typically, both small and large breeds can be extended sleepers, but the tendency for ‘big-dogs’ like Mastiffs, St. Bernards, Great Pyrenees & Newfoundlands have justifiably earned them the nickname “mat dogs” for their seemingly endless ability to nap.
How Much Sleep Is Normal?
In many ways, canine sleep is similar to the phases of human sleep. We’re both mammals, and even though the human brain is obviously more advanced, there is considerable overlap with regard to the physiology of sleep of dogs and humans.
In humans, the sleep cycle — going from Short-Wave-Sleep (SWS), that period after first falling asleep as the mind and body start to relax, to Deep-Sleep, known as Rapid-Eye-Movement (REM) — is long and drawn out. Usually taking hours to complete a full sleep cycle in people.
In dogs, however, this sleep-cycle takes place much more rapidly. Though it can depend on the breed, some dogs can enter REM sleep in under 20 minutes. Making ‘snooze-time’ much more efficient for dogs.
What’s Really Going On With My Dog Sleeping So Much?
When dogs fall asleep and enter deep sleep phase their breathing and heart rate slows while blood-pressure drops. After about ten-minutes they enter REM sleep and dream like humans. You’ll notice key signs of your dog having entered REM sleep when you see involuntary eye movements or muscle twitching, often referred to as dreams of “chasing squirrels”.
Some dogs also make sounds like muted whimpers or soft barks when they are in a deep REM sleep phase. All signs they are in deeper REM sleep.
How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?
Unlike humans, who generally are awake all day then sleep for one long stretch at night–spending as much as 25% of their sleep time in REM–dogs’ shorter sleep stints mean a much smaller percentage (about 10%) is REM type sleep.
Since dogs are always on the alert to protect their pack from intruders, they’re able to wake more easily. It’s common for them to wake up before completing a full sleep-wake cycle, from deep to REM sleep.
The result is dogs need more total sleep time in order to achieve enough restorative type sleep they need for proper growth and repair so they can continue being a healthy part of your family.
Although sleep seems like ‘passive therapy’, brain-wave research has acknowledged REM phases of sleep as vital for a dog’s complete rest & recovery–so we should never discount the benefits of a good dog-nap!
My Dogs’ Not Sleeping Well – Should I Be Concerned?
While there can be a lot of variability in dogs’ sleeping habits, the one thing to keep an eye out for is a dramatic change in sleep behavior.
If your usually active dog is suddenly sleeping all the time—or the reverse, can’t stay asleep–it’s never a bad idea to touch base with your veterinarian to make sure that your dog isn’t experiencing any health problems. The answer could be something as simple as tweaking his diet, or as complex as treating a heart condition or thyroid gland problem.
Several factors can affect how much (or how little) your dog sleeps on an average day:
- AGE – Puppies and older dogs both spend more time asleep than middle-aged dogs. To support their natural growth, puppies may spend up to 20 hours asleep. Older, senior dogs with lower energy levels and who get tired more easily require more sleep on a daily basis.
- BREED / SIZE – Though not universally true, bigger dogs will sleep for longer periods than average or small size dogs. Large breed dogs can sometimes sleep up to 18 hours a day even into middle age.
- ACTIVITY LEVEL – It may seem counter-intuitive, but dogs that are innately more active, especially Working Breeds, usually require less sleep than dogs that are customarily sedentary for most of the day.
Changes In A Dog’s Sleep Habits May Indicate A More Serious Condition
If you notice drastic changes in the amount or quality of sleep in your dog, or he seems excessively tired and lethargic, it could be an indication of a more pressing health problem. Lethargy in dogs is a common symptom of canine depression, Diabetes, Parvoviris, Lyme Disease and metabolic disorders like hypothyroidism.
Like humans, our dog friends experience emotional upset and anxiety during big moves (or re-homing) or stress over the loss of a close loved-one with changes in their normal sleep patterns. This is an expected reaction to changes in routine. But if the situation persists beyond a reasonable amount of time, it might require intervene with sleep therapy aids to balance your dog’s emotional state and return him to more normal, routine sleep behaviors.
Canine Pain Syndromes
One of the most common symptoms of dogs with chronic pain from progressive degenerative conditions like arthritis or joint diseases such as Hip-dysplasia is the inability to be get comfortable for long enough periods to get full, restful sleep. Without some form of effective pain relief these dogs will continue to lose valuable, restorative sleep and decline even faster.
Chronic, intractble pain can be a major disruption to prevent your dog from getting the necessary amount (and type) of restful sleep. But there’s a natural remedy for dogs suffering from pain syndromes.
Cannabidiol (CBD) from hemp is proving to be an all-in-one health aid for dogs with painful conditions that interrupt their normal sleep and prevent them from experiencing healthful, rejuvenating sleep.
CBD Oil For Canine Sleep Disturbances
Over the last couple of years, CBD oil for dogs has become a popular form of treatment for inflammatory conditions & situations requiring pain management. CBD is currently thought to be so effective, that more and more pet owners are choosing it instead of traditional pain killers.
Evidence suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) has a much better ‘safety profile’ than prescription pain medications and cannabinoid-based pharmacotherapies may serve as effective replacement and adjunctive treatment option to alleviate chronic canine arthritis pain.
CBD Can Help Dogs With Pain?
Apart from the fact that CBD Oil drops are extremely effective, they are also very easy to give to your dog. You simply place a few drops under your dog’s tongue and they are instantly absorbed into their system. CBD extracts can be absorbed within the first few minutes and take full effect within the first hour. When CBD starts to hit your dog’s bloodstream you begin to see a transition towards their normal, healthy state.
Lethargic and tired dogs, who may have aches and pains start to feel more loose and limber and start to regain missing energy. Meanwhile, over-reactive, anxious dogs may stop destructive behavior like chewing and clawing furniture, and they may seem more calm and grounded. It sounds counter-intuitive, but CBD really does help pets on both ends of the spectrum.
What Can You Do To Help Your Dog Get Better Sleep?
You may have looked at your own sleeping dog and sighed in reponse to such a wonderfully peaceful moment. Most dog owners want to do everything possible to ensure their furry friend is safe and healthy. Helping your dog get quality, restful sleep is an important aspect to maintain your dog’s overall health and well being.
5 Strategies To Help Your Dog Get Better Sleep:
- Maintain Daily Routines — Variation can be good during training periods, but maintaining a consistent schedule whenever possible helps dogs be more comfortable in their home environment which, in turn, reduces their stress & anxiety, so they sleep more soundly.
- Adequate Exercise — Play-time with physical activity of 30 minitues a day can promote your dog’s overall health and also provide mental stimulation to help reduce anxious emotional reactions, giving your dog better sleep.
- Healthy Diet — Proper nutrition is important to help your dog achieve better seleep. Make sure your dog is eating a well-balanced diet to meet his physical requirements & optimize his basic biological functions.
- Inviting Sleep-Space — Just like humans, dogs want a comfortable mattess or padded dog bed to help them feel safe and relaxed to sleep better. Create an inviting space with your dog’s favorite blankents and covers or a well-cushioned den. Keep crates away from heavily trafficed and noisy spaces to help your dog stay asleep.
- CBD Therapy — To alleviate pain and discomfort for older, senior dogs & reduce sleep robbing anxiety, put your dog a regular routine of premium, CBD-rich hemp oil to help them sleep better and live the best life you intend for them.