Sleep: Where, When and How Often?
How much sleep do dogs require?
Just like humans, dogs need the correct amount of sleep to function, learn and thrive at their best. Adult dogs need between 14-18 hours of sleep per day; puppies and senior dogs require much more. Dogs are polyphasic sleepers, which means they sleep multiple times throughout the day, in blocks of a few hours. Whereas we go to bed and stay put, hopefully, for eight hours or so. Another big difference, is that unlike us, dogs prefer various locations to sleep, and, as such, like to move around for rest in different spots. It’s important for them to have choices when it comes to where they can sleep.
How do they achieve quality sleep?
Dog are also social sleepers and like to be close to others, whether dog or human. Sleeping alone is unnatural, and will not only cause them to be on alert, but this isolation keeps them from getting a proper, restful sleep—something especially important to remember for puppies. The subject of the dog crate is another topic for another time, but for now, we’ll leave you with this: If you do not want your dog sleeping in your bed, please at least allow them to be in the same room with you at night. This will ensure your dog is getting proper sleep, and this is especially important for puppies and new rescues who are already feeling insecure and unsure.
Let sleeping dogs lie…
You may notice your dog sleeping in a curled-up position—this is known as Slow Wave sleep, or Brain sleep. Slow Wave sleep allows the busy brain to cool down, and also allows cells to be repaired and regenerated. A dog’s brain requires a minimum of 11 hours of sleep per day in order to remain healthy. When you see them completely stretched out this is known as REM sleep. It is during the REM cycle that they replay the activities of the day: I’m sure you have observed your dog twitching, moving or even running while asleep. Without quality sleep, your dog can end up chronically stressed, resulting in decreased brain cells needed for learning new things, staying focused, and being social.
The bottom line is quality and quantity both matter when it comes to how sleep directly affects a dog’s health, both physically and mentally.