Have you ever noticed that your dog sleeps most of the day? If you thought an 8-hour night’s sleep is a good thing, take a good look at your four-legged friend’s naps. He sleeps twice as much.
Why is that anyway?
Does every dog sleep as many hours?
And what happens if your four-legged friend doesn’t get enough rest?
Read all about the sleeping
Read also: Narcolepsy (sleeping sickness) in dogs
Contents of this article
Good night’s sleep for a healthy dog
Sleeping is indispensable for the body of every dog. This special process ensures processing, rest and recovery. But what exactly happens in the body of your four-legged friend?
When your dog falls asleep, his entire body goes to rest. Body temperature drops, as does heart rate and respiratory rate. The body relaxes and rest passes through the body.
But not everything is sitting still while sleeping. The brain is very busy processing the day during a special phase.
How does this work?
Normal sleep consists of five different phases. Each phase has its own important role in providing the body with ample opportunity for processing and recovery. We distinguish between the slumber phase, light sleep, deep sleep, very deep sleep and REM sleep.
1. Slumber phase
A general sleep cycle starts with the slumber phase. Your dog becomes drowsy, brain activity decreases and his eyes slowly begin to close. 3… 2… 1…
2. Light sleep
… and your dog has fallen asleep. During light sleep, it no longer wakes up from every minor disturbance, but is still relatively easy to wake up. This phase lasts short, about three to five minutes.
3 and 4. Deep sleep and very deep sleep
Then your dog sinks into a deeper sleep. These phases are the longest. Your four-legged friend therefore spends most of his cycle in this deep sleep.
We estimate that these phases take up about 50% of the entire cycle. These two phases of deep and very deep sleep, also in humans, are often considered as one.
5. REM sleep
After the deep sleep phases, REM sleep, also called “dream sleep”. The brain wakes up while the rest of the body sleeps. The brain is working hard on processing the past hours.
This phase got its separate name, because the eyes make fast movements during this part of the process. The letters “REM” therefore stand for Rapid Eye Movement, which means Rapid Eye Movement. This phase takes up about 10 percent of the total sleep cycle.
REM sleep, together with the deep sleep phases, is the most important for the dog’s body.
Dog sleeps a lot during the day
you read all the sleep phases, you think this will take a lot of time. This is usually the case. But our dogs don’t take the time to do this every time they close their eyes.
Why is this?
You may have noticed that your dog doesn’t just dive into his basket at night for a good nap. People generally sleep between 7 and 9 hours straight, usually at night. During the day we are often awake for 15 to 17 hours in a row.
But a dog also likes to snap an owl during the day. Why is this?
To begin with, a dog sleeps much more than a human. In 24 hours, they usually sleep away between 1 and 4 pm. For puppies this is even more, about 18 to 20 hours!
This also applies to older dogs, who can sleep 16 to 18 hours per day. The body needs more rest to ensure recovery, because the processes have become less efficient.
Why dogs sleep so much (more) than we do, we don’t know exactly. It may have something to do with the efficiency of the process or the duration of REM sleep. In dogs, this takes up 10% of the entire sleep cycle, while in humans it is about 20 to 25%.
Do dogs sleep all night?
When bedtime comes, let the dog do its needs. and you crawl under the wool. People then spend an average of 8 hours continuously in dreamland. But does your dog sleep that long?
Normally the dog wakes up after a few hours of sleep. We humans also have this, but notice little of this. We are used to sticking our sleep period one after the other. And so sleep stoically after our moment of waking.
That is why our dog has learned from us that there is little to do at night. Even watchdogs look around just as well, listen sharply and just sleep on at rest. They often take a break or find another place to rest.
Sleeping at night is strongly ingrained in animal species that use daylight. Because why use energy when you can’t do anything at night? Many animals, including dogs, use the daylight to hunt.
So they replenish their energy supply at night!
Risks of not sleeping enough
Sleeping well is of vital importance for almost every animal species. This process is not the same for every animal, but it carries the same risks when a shortage occurs. What will put your dog in a pinch?
If your dog does not sleep enough, this increases the risk of:
- Concentration problems
- Coordination problems
- (Chronic) stress
- Irritability  Decreased memory
- Decreased alertness
- Illness (impaired immune system function)
It is important as an owner to take these problems seriously. They can lead to nasty accidents and reduced well-being for your dog. If the problems get too big, your four-legged friend can even die from it!
How do you ensure that your dog gets enough sleep?
Preventing sleeping problems in dogs
To prevent dangerous health problems, your dog will do enough and well need to sleep enough. But how do you ensure a good sleeping environment?
1. Keep a rhythm
Just like children, your dog also has to learn what the rhythm is in the house. When your dog knows at what times they eat, walk and sleep, he can respond to that. And at other times to snap an owl.
It is also important that your dog learns that at night no one walks through the house or walks with him. Take the time to teach him this.
Puppies in particular find it difficult to strike through all night. They quickly feel alone and need to urinate more often.
2. Prevent restlessness
Screaming children, strange people on the floor or loud noises can prevent your dog from getting enough rest. So provide a calm environment and give the dog enough opportunity to find his own resting places to take a nap.
3. Low light
Just like people, dogs sleep better when the environment is dim or dark. So put your dog’s basket or crate in a place where there is little direct light. This way he won’t wake up to the cheerful shining sun, while he won’t do anything.
4. Multiple resting places
For a good rest it is important that your dog has his own place where he can retreat. But preferably, he has several. There can be countless things that can still disturb his rest in his place.
Think of ambient noise, but also visitors, cold or heat. And maybe your dog sometimes wants to lie on a warm, thick pillow, but other times on his cooling mat?
5. Suitable resting place
Your dog’s resting place (s) have a major influence on his sleeping quality. Find locations that are out of the draft, out of the walkway and where there is little restlessness or activity.
In addition, it is important that your dog can lie comfortably. A hard surface is sometimes nice and cool with heat, but rather choose a cooling mat in the bench or mat. Your dog will lie a bit softer, yet cool.
Your dog should also be given enough space to stretch out. He must have enough space to give the front legs and hind legs full length. Too tight a place to sleep can cause muscle cramps and joint problems.
Dog sleeps a lot and does not eat
Sleeping well and well is very important for your dog. But when your dog sleeps too much, it can be an indication of problems.
For this it is important to keep track of how much your dog sleeps. You will notice this less at night, but all the more during the day. Often you also see that the dog has less energy and enthusiasm.
These changes in his normal behavior should ring some bells with the owner. Does your dog sleep more than usual during the day and his appetite decreases? Or does he just seem less interested in the world around him?
Have him checked at the vet.
My dog sleeps a lot after surgery or anesthesia
However, there are situations when it is normal that your dog sleeps more. Think of recovery from illness or trauma. The body is busy with repairs and has to pull out all the stops.
So hop, your bed in you!
A well-known example is recovery after surgery, or when the dog has been under anesthesia. The body has to recover and still process all narcotics. The dog does wake up, but will nap a lot in the hours and sometimes days afterwards to gain strength.