Improving Your Dog's Health with Sleep

Have you ever wondered why your dog takes so many naps? It's obvious that a dog's sleep pattern differs from humans, but how much of a difference is there?

Stephanie Minturn · July 24, 2018

Have you ever wondered why your dog takes so many naps? It's obvious that a dog's sleep pattern differs from humans, but how much of a difference is there? The average dog sleeps approximately 12-14 hours per day. Although what times of the day and how much a dog sleeps depends upon a few factors. One factor is the amount of exercise they get on a regular basis. Physical activity helps improve the quality of sleep your pet receives during those power naps. The more active the dog, the less sleep he will require

Age plays a large role in the amount of necessary sleep. Puppies, like babies, require more sleep and tend to sleep around 18 hours per day. This is due to the amount of energy they exhaust during their waking hours. Larger breeds will also dose more frequently for similar reasons. The amount of energy expended while awake will not only change the amount of required sleep, but also affect sleep quality and patterns. 

A dog's need for more sleep can be contributed to the lack of REM sleep they receive per cycle. REM sleep is the "deep sleep" stage where active dreaming occurs. Humans spend about 25% of sleep in REM, while dogs only spend about 10% here, raising their hourly requirements of overall rest. Therefore, it is important to allow your pet to rest. Allowing your dog that "refresher" will give them more energy during their waking hours. 

We know that our pets need their zzz's. So, where are the best places in your home for your pet to catch all those extra winks? Statistics show that 45% of dogs sleep with their owners, 20% in a crate or cage, 17%, in a dog bed, 14% are somewhere else indoors and 4% sleep outdoors. More and more Vets are encouraging dogs to co-sleep (share the bed) with their owners. Co-sleeping provides benefits for humans and dogs alike, such as lowering anxiety and depression and providing a sense of security and comfort. This is all in thanks to the "happy hormone", serotonin, which is released into the body during these cuddle times. Serotonin helps our body relax and rest properly and is also beneficial in the treatment of many mental and physical conditions. It is believed to help regulate moods, social behavior, appetite and digestion for both you and your pet. 

Melatonin is another hormone that dogs and humans produce naturally. It helps to regulate the circadian rhythm, also known as the "natural body clock". Available in a supplement, melatonin can help if you believe that your dog is not in a healthy sleep pattern. Before beginning a melatonin regimen, it is important to talk to your Vet about dosage and the risks and benefits. 

By allowing your pet to get the best rest possible, you are greatly contributing to the quality of their life. You will find that your pet will be more energetic and alert and their general overall health may improve drastically! It is amazing how the proper amount of shut-eye can do for us and our pets. So grab your favorite blanket and pillow and settle in with Fido for a nice, long nap. You're in for a load of benefits! 

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Stephanie Minturn

Stephanie Minturn

Stephanie is a Registered Nurse and proud mother of 4 who has always loved animals and the purity and beauty they bring into the world. She enjoys researching current trends and evidence-based practice in the pet industry and relating it to the healthcare industry for humans. She has passion in discovering new-found knowledge with other pet owners like herself.

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