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Understand your dog’s sleep behaviors

Yes, dogs like to sleep! If it’s short naps or longer snoozes, it is all good! The sleep behavior depends on the age, breed and personality of the dog. However, on average, dogs sleep 14 hours a day. As a dog owner it is always a good idea to know and understand the sleep behaviors of your dog, as even a dog can get grouchy if he doesn’t get enough sleep.


What you should know about your dog’s sleep behaviors

Dogs sleep more than us, but they wake more frequently than we do. How much and when they sleep depends on the level of activity during the day, the breed, the age and the personality of the dog. Senior dogs sleep more than younger dogs and larger breeds such as the Mastiff  or the Newfoundland sleep more than 14 hours per day. The amount of sleep a dog needs depends also on the environment. Dogs in a quiet home may sleep more, while dogs in active environments such as farms will sleep less. Dogs are lucky – they are able to adapt their sleep behavior to their surroundings so that they can be awake when there is something to do, and asleep the rest of the time.

Some indoor dogs sometimes sleep out of boredom. You can help your pet by providing plenty of stimulation during the day in the form of toys, companionship, or plenty of walks and playtime. If your dog has a high activity level and has enough to do during the day, he may stay awake when the sun is up and sleep at night when you do. If your dog tends to sleep more than the normal amount, this could also be a symptom for a disease. If you don’t know whether the amount of sleeping is normal or not, you can always contact a veterinarian.

Why do dogs walk in a circle before lying down?

Most dogs will generally circle round and round, nesting before they finally lie down. The reason is that your dog’s ancestors slept in the wild and probably trampled down a “nest” of grass, leaves, or snow to sleep in. When your dog circles before lying down, he’s displaying this ancestral tendency, which is basically a way to get comfortable and feel safe.  Most dogs only circle a few times before getting comfortable. If your dog walks too much around and has trouble settling down, this could be a sign of arthritis or a neurological problem. If that is the case, it is wise to contact a veterinarian.


sleeping dog

4 types of sleepers

1. Curling up in a ball

Some dogs sleep  completely curled up like a ball. The sleeping behavior actually has a fascinating evolutionary basis. When dogs sleep in the wild, they often dig a nest and tuck into a ball to conserve body heat and to protect their vulnerable organs from potential predators. This, of course, doesn’t mean that your dog feels unsafe in your home but that he happens to have the same sleeping preferences as his ancestors.

2. Sleeping with belly up

Is your dog sleeping on the back with the belly up? This sleeping position might  signal that your pup feels relaxed and comfortable in his environment. However, it could also mean that he is hot and doesn’t need to curl up to conserve body heat.

3. Sleeping under the covers

Are you the owner of an “under cover”-sleeper? This way of sleeping may just be a matter of preference. If your dog snuggles under the covers, it can also be sign of a need to feel companionship while sleeping.

4. Side sleeper

Most of the time when the dog is sleeping on his side he is simply dozing – although, sometimes he can actually go into a deep sleep on his side.

Where to sleep?

The choice of beds and furnishings for dogs is huge. You can buy many different beds, mattresses and baskets. Whichever style you choose, it is most important to have a clean comfortable sleeping area for your dog. Additionally, the temperature in a room will influence how your dog sleeps. So be sure if your dog sleeps inside or outside, that it is a comfortable temperature at all times. Dogs get hot and cold just like us.

3 facts about sleeping dogs

  1. Dogs almost sleep half their life, the equivalent to 14-16 hours a day.
  2. The phrase, let sleeping dogs lie, holds a lot of truth. Considering 60% of dog bites happen to children when they first wake a dog in a deep sleep.
  3. Puppies and older dogs dream more than middle-aged dogs.

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