Sleep Habits of Dogs

If you've ever felt like there's not enough hours in a day, you probably have lamented that you have to spend some of your time sleeping. Did you know that dogs sleep as much and more as their owners do?

Sleep is beneficial for development. Humans and canines both require higher amounts of sleep and decrease as they mature to adulthood. However, where adult humans need around seven to nine hours of shut-eye while dogs require almost twice that amount. Puppies especially require solid sleep as they mature to adulthood. Just like human babies, their brains are maturing and they are acquiring more cognition.

Dogs also experience different stages of sleep, just like people. Ever witnessed your dog move or vocalise while unconscious? Many owners have seen their dog "dream," and that is, in fact, what's occurring if your dog mutters, howls, kicks or twitches while stretched out asleep. This sleep phase, also experienced by humans, is called REM, short for "rapid eye movement." This is the deep sleep where the brain replenishes itself, characterized by the period of dreaming.

In addition to REM, dogs also go through slow-wave sleep during their rest cycle. This phase of sleeping is exhibited by a tightly-curled body (as opposed to stretched out). It's during this time that the dog's ears may prick up to catch surrounding noises; slow wave sleep is not as deep of a level of sleep as REM, and your dog is more easily roused from this state.

Because sleep is so important for your dog, designate a place in the home (or outside it) for your pups to rest. Providing a sleeping spot is a necessary part of taking care of your dog's health and well-being.

Whether your dog is an inside dog or "outside" dog, allowed on the furniture or nay, will factor into where you bunk your dog down for the night. Of the most popular options, many owners either allow their dog to sleep on their bed, a dog bed, in a crate, or in an outside dog house.

  • Your bed: Sleeping on the bed is a cozy option for a dog that's comfortable with its owners. If you aren't a restless sleeper (and your dog is OK with sharing the covers!) the situation may work out for the both of you.
  • Dog bed: Whether it's in a bedroom, garage, or somewhere else in the house, giving your dog a dog bed is a signal to your pet that he has a spot to sleep. This discourages him from sleeping somewhere else.
  • Crate: A dog crate is a good option for puppies or new adoptees that either need training or simply to learn the ropes in your home. Some families choose to crate their dogs into adulthood.
  • Doghouse: Keeping a dog outside at night means creating a dog house weatherized for rain or snow. Depending on your location, consider bringing your dog in during colder months.