How Does Your Dog Sleep? Part 1!

July 10, 2015

How Does Your Dog Sleep? Part 1!

The average dog sleeps 12 - 18 hours a day and puppies sleep even longer than that! Dogs that are indoors sleep, on average, more hours a day than outdoor dogs.  

Dogs adapt better to changes in their sleeping cycles than humans.  So, they can sleep Monday - Friday from 8 am - 5 pm; but, on the weekend they can be awake from 8 am - 5 pm.  Their humans tend to do best when they go to bed at the same time every night and wake up around the same time while dogs can adapt their sleep cycle to whatever activity is happening; but, they do need to work off their energy each day to be happy dogs! 

A dog's sleep cycle mirrors that of humans and yes they DO dream! 

Stage 1:  The "barely asleep".  This is where most outdoor or working dogs sleep.  Their sleeping position will be more alert and "ready for action".  It not a very restful sleep. Eyes are closed but it is easy to wake up. 

Stage 2: This is where your dog's heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature will lower.  Breathing will slow down as they relax and get ready for deep sleep. 

Stage 3: This is the transition between light and deep sleep.  

Stage 4:  This is the deep sleep phase where the dog may appear startled when woken up.  

Stage 5: My favorite stage of the sleep cycle.  This is the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep!  The body is relaxed but the mind is active! Their eyes are rolled under the lids, they may vocalize or be running in their sleep!  Indoor dogs spend about 12% of their sleep in REM.  It is thought that puppies spend more time in REM and it is during this time they merge what they learned into behaviors they will follow.  

Interesting facts:  

  • Small dogs tend to spend more time in REM sleep than large dogs.  
  • Large dogs tend to sleep more hours a day than small dogs.
  • Dogs that are bored will sleep more to escape being bored!
  • Outdoor dogs also have different sleeping positions than indoor dogs.  They are generally not as relaxed as indoor dogs.



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