Understanding Your Dog's Sleeping Habits

Understanding Your Dog's Sleeping Habits

Health & Safety

Dogs are great, they are after all man's best friend with the best part being they keep their owners a lot fitter and healthier thanks to all the daily exercise they need to be given. There's a lot that goes into sharing a home with a canine companion and it's essential to know all about a pet's needs which includes how much they need feeding, how much exercise they need and what kind of routine suits a dog best. It's also important to understand a dog's sleeping patterns and how much rest they need, especially when they are very young and as they get older.

How much sleep does a dog really need?

On average a dog will snooze for anything from 12 to 14 hours a day. Naturally, most of this is during the night when owners are asleep too. But dogs also sleep when their owners are out at work during the day too.

Getting to Know Your Dog's Sleeping Habits

Dogs often circle before deciding to drop to the ground for a snooze. Some dogs like to dig up their blankets after they've been nicely placed in a dog bed much to their owner's annoyance and they do this because they want to make their bed as comfy as possible. Other dogs like to burrow into their dog beds before plonking themselves down for a nap.

Dogs do all of the above because it's the sort of behaviour that's deeply embedded in their psyche and it goes back to when they were pack animals. Dogs circle around before lying down because they are marking their territory and when they dig down into a bed, it's because their instinct tells them to find a warm and sheltered place to bed down which in short makes it a safer environment for them to go to sleep. Some people believe that dogs do this before they sleep as a way of checking out what is going on around them so they can see whether it is safe for them to sleep or whether there are any dangers about.

Dogs that Curl up in a Ball

Some dogs curl up into tight balls even though they may have a gigantic, plush dog bed to sleep in. Lots of experts believe this is because it's another behaviour that goes back to when dogs lived in packs and needed to sleep snuggled up to each other to keep nice and warm. Curling into a ball is also a much safer way for a dog to sleep because it offered them more protection from predators.

Dogs that Sleep on Their Backs

A lot of dogs like to sleep on their backs with their bellies in the air which is a sure sign of them feeling exceptionally happy, safe and warm. In short, experts believe that when a dog sleeps like this, they are very happy in their environment and that they have formed strong bonds with their owners. There are quite a few "laid-back" breeds that like to sleep on their backs, but it can also be because they have learned that by doing so, their owners give them more attention. Pugs are a great example of dogs that like to lie down with their bellies in the air so their owners can give them a welcomed tummy rub. Over time, a lot of dogs have evolved and learnt to do new things which goes against their natural instincts and sleeping belly up is just one of them.

Dogs that Sleep Sprawled Out

Dogs that lie sprawled out when they are sleeping are usually doing so because they are feeling hot and it's their way of cooling their body temperature down. It might mean turning the heating down a little or making sure a dog gets to sleep in a cooler part of the house rather in a room that may be too warm for them to get a comfortable night's sleep in.

Dogs that are Busy in their Sleep

Some dogs are quite active when they sleep. Their eyes although closed move around, they twitch and growl while paddling away with their paws. According to dog behaviourists, dogs do this when they are in the REM phase of their sleep pattern which in short, means they are probably dreaming just like people do when they are in the same phase of their sleep. Although more research is needed to establish whether this is true, there are many who believe that dogs do dream and that it would be a mistake to wake them up too abruptly because it could end up frightening them. The reason being that a dog would take a few seconds to get their bearings when awoken too suddenly. Experts also say that a dog's sleep patterns are quite different to those of people because any noise or threat quickly wakes a dog up unlike in human beings who can sleep on regardless.

Dogs that Like to Sleep in Your Bed

A lot of dogs like to sleep on an owner's bed which is probably because they have formed strong bonds with them. Dogs that like to hop into bed with their owners are going back to another natural instinct which is to sleep close to the leader of their pack.

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