Saturday, January 7, 2017

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

As a dog owner, there have probably been times when you've seen your dog sleeping somewhere in your home and almost felt jealous by how comfortable it is able to get. There's no question that dogs are very good at finding spots where they're able to relax and fall asleep. Since it's not uncommon for dogs to spend in the ballpark of fourteen hours a day sleeping, having the ability to get extremely comfortable is actually a very important skill. 

The Full Scoop on Dogs and Sleeping

If you ever have a visitor stay at your house who isn't a dog owner, they may notice how much your pet sleeps and ask you why. And if your answer has been that you don't exactly know why, you're not alone. However, keep reading to get filled in on the main explanations for this behavior.

It's worth noting that sleep requirements can vary between breeds. Some of the biggest sleepers in the canine world also happen to be the biggest in size. Breeds like Saint Bernards and Newfoundlands can sleep for 16 to 18 hours a day. 

In terms of why all dogs sleep so much when compared to humans, one reason is because they wake up much more often. Another is that many dogs fall asleep when they're bored. There's also the issue of how dogs spend their time sleeping.

When a dog starts sleeping, they enter the phase of sleep that's known as slow wave. This is the same way that humans begin the process of sleeping. Slow wave sleep is characterized by a decrease in heart rate, drop in body temperature and slowed breathing. After spending a period of time in slow wave, a dog will move into REM sleep.

If you've ever noticed your dog doing funny things while asleep, chances are it was during this phase. Not only can a dog jerk its legs or roll its eyes under closed lids, but it can even whine or bark during REM sleep. While this is also a stage that humans enter and the time that they dream, there is a key difference with this type of sleep for dogs. Humans spend 20-25% of their sleep time in REM. For dogs, it's only 10-12%. That helps to explain why dogs spend significantly more of their hours sleeping. 

The Bottom Line on Dogs and Sleep

Dogs love to sleep. And because the way they sleep differs somewhat from humans, they spend more time doing it. So as long as you're providing your pet with healthy dog food, getting plenty of exercise on a regular basis and keeping up with vet visits, you can let your dog enjoy getting all the sleep it wants. 

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