Let sleeping dogs lie. While the proverb commonly is related to human activities, recommending we not stir up trouble or cause a further disturbance, it is actually one we should heed when it comes to our dogs.
Would it shock you to hear that the recommended amount of sleep for a standard sized adult dog would be 12-14 hours? That for a puppy, 18-20 hours? It makes our recommended 8 hours a night appear meager in comparison. For most of us, who tend to try and get our sleep in one period, we spend about 25% of that sleep in REM – the part where we dream, learn and apparently gain the ‘rested’ feeling of a good night’s sleep. Adult dogs only spend about 10-12% of their time in REM (puppies longer) so this is the reason for them needing to spend more time gaining that restorative sleep.
Dogs who are sleep-deprived, perhaps through anxiety when left alone or too-busy a home environment, will not get the quality sleep they require. This can lead to a build-up of cortisol, the stress hormone. It can also affect the learning of new tasks or behaviours, as sleep supports an array of learning and memory tasks.
It can be useful to keep a sleep diary for your dog, especially if they are a puppy. This can help you monitor the number of hours they’re clocking asleep to ensure they’re getting what they need to be both calm and ready to learn.
During our brand new course – ‘Mindful Living and Our Dogs‘ – starting this October in Bath, we will be looking at ways to help you support your dog to get the sleep it needs. We’ll be looking at your home environment, the stresses your dog may be experiencing, and how food or the bed setup might be better used to help your dog get quality sleep. We’ll also be supporting you in your own sleep challenges, to ensure both human and hound are feeling as rested and relaxed as possible.
Want to ensure both ends of the lead are getting quality sleep? Please join us.Sign up