More and more people around the globe are realizing the importance of good sleep health. From doing bedtime yoga to maintaining a diet and from exercising regularly to taking melatonin supplements- we do so much every day to upkeep our sleep quality. Just like us human beings, dogs require a fair amount of sound sleep every day to be at the best of their physical and mental wellbeing.
But the same sleep tips cannot be applied to your pet dog as they possess a very different set of sleep behaviors and requirements. As fellow dog lovers, we have made your work easy by laying out the 5 most important sleep tips for your pet that will make sure that your dog achieves the right sleep quality and quantity on a regular basis.
How Much Sleep Does a Dog Require?
Before we move on to more pressing questions from dog owners such as “how to get a dog to go to sleep?” and “how to get your dog to sleep through the night?”, let us quickly try to learn a few things about dog sleep.
Depending on the age and breed of the dog, there is considerable variety regarding the amount of time they require to spend in restful sleep. Newborn puppies can sleep up to 18 to 20 hours a day when they are around 8 to 12 weeks.
In comparison, a human baby will sleep only a maximum of 15 to 16 hours on an average at this stage. While adult humans may not require more than 7 to 9 hours of sleep in a day, Inside Bedroom’s blog on dog sleep suggests that bigger dogs like Mastiffs, Irish Wolfhounds, and St. Bernards spend more than half of their days sleeping.
More average sized-dogs sleep for a total of 8 to 13.5 hours in a day and their sleep cycle comprises of different sleeping phases throughout the day. Dogs have much shorter sleep cycles and spend less time in deep sleep. Therefore, when compared to humans, they are more likely to wake up because of the slightest of disruptions.
1. Get Moving
If your dog is having trouble falling asleep easily, maybe they are not getting adequate physical and mental activity. Make sure that you take your dog on walks regularly so that they are perfectly tired when they reach bedtime. Dog breeds like the Siberian Husky, the Golden retriever, or the Dalmatian require even more than the average one hour of physical workout that others like Saint Berard or the Tibetan terrier require.
Other smaller breeds like the Pomeranian or the Chihuahua require only about 30 minutes of such activity. This physical exercise is paramount for your dog as it helps relieve additional stress and increases the ease with which your dog falls asleep.
While you can always hire a professional to help your dog with such activities, it is advisable that you personally accompany your dog. Not only does this increase your bonding but also gives you the opportunity to do your share of physical workouts.
2. Timing is Important
Getting into a routine with your dog will help them to acquaint an activity to a particular part of the day. While establishing a fixed time for your dog to go to sleep and wake up every day, do not forget to also fix the time for playing and eating. The hours of physical activity and feeding should not be placed too close to bedtime as indigestion and increased stimulation before bed are two of the most common sleep disruptors in dogs.
Another major factor that contributes to sleep disruptions in dogs is a filled bladder. It is therefore advisable to always perform bathroom checks before your dog hits the crate. Do not expose your dog to bright lights after sundown as this will cause the circadian rhythm to malfunction and make it harder to fall asleep.
3. Pay Heed to the Bedroom Environment
The crate in which your dog sleeps should inspire comfort and good sleep. Allow them to have a warm and fluffy blanket that they can snuggle into. Make sure that the room in which your dog sleeps is not affected by any external noise or light as dogs are very notorious for waking up in a reaction to imagined threats.
While you are welcome to leave some treats and toys in the crates, you must never leave any food or water in the crate overnight. Make sure that your dog has enough space to move about in the crate but not so much that they start compartmentalizing different parts of the crate for activities other than sleeping like eating, or relieving themselves.
4. Know the Signs
As responsible dog parents, you should be aware of the tiniest signs that your dog is conveying as they may help in assessing your dog’s sleep health. Depending on the bedroom temperature, your dog may either curl up in a ball to preserve heat or throw their legs far from their body to allow the heat to dissipate.
If your dog constantly climbs into your bed to make room for sleeping or cuddling with you, it is either unhappy with its crate or simply feeling alone. If you see your dog sleeping in an unnatural dog sleeping position, try talking to your vet at the soonest.
5. Regular Checkups
Apart from the uncommon sleeping position, your dog may also be suffering from sleep deprivation due to underlying medical conditions. It is possible that they might be in some pain or injury that needs to be medically addressed lest it leads to more uncomfortable and sleepless nights.
Sleep disorders like insomnia and narcolepsy are often found in pet dogs which is why they should be checked up whenever you see them having trouble sleeping. Bed bugs and ticks are a common nuisance which is why you should invest in proper hygiene products for your dog.
It is wrong to gauge a dog’s sleep health based on the parameters that we use for us humans. It is therefore important to fully understand your dog’s sleeping requirements and act accordingly so that you can fulfill as many of them as possible. We hope that the abovementioned tips will help you understand how to get dogs to sleep better and counter fewer sleep interruptions so that they emerge as happier pets.