There’s a reason that becoming exhausted is the same as being dog-tired! Dogs sleep a good deal more than humans and can snooze pretty much any time of day if they’re a house pet. Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or have had your pooch for years, your dog requires some special care for snoozing.

Dogs do have cyclic sleep in addition to dreams. Dogs do have varying levels of sleep like people and will vary between both SWS (short-wave sleep) and REM (rapid eye movement) in a night. The latter is a deep sleep that allows for dreaming and if you’ve ever seen your dog twitching or kicking while asleep, it’s likely that he’s having a REM cycle. Dogs experience REM so deeply that some will even growl, bark, or howl while unconscious.

While adult dogs may sleep hours, puppies’ brains are still developing. Puppies need more sleep in order to develop cognitive function, which happens during the unconscious hours. As your puppy grows he will sleep less, but it’s not at all uncommon for puppies to pass out right in the middle of playtime. Don’t be surprised if he sleeps up to 18 hours when you first bring him home!

Choosing a place for your dog to sleep, whether it’s with you or elsewhere, typically relies on puppy preference. Consider some options for your dog’s snooze spot:

  • Dog Beds: If you have a larger dog or just aren’t the type to let Fido on the furniture, purchasing a doggie bed may be your best bet. Whether a beanbag bed or a doughnut with padded sides, both options can be found in a variety of textures and fabrics to provide warmth and comfort. Be sure that the bed is big enough so that your dog can stretch out, and place it in an out-of-the way spot, whether it’s in your bedroom or elsewhere in the house.
  • Family Bed: If you have a mid-size breed or smaller, you may allow your pet to sleep with you in your bed. Be sure that your dog has enough room to stretch out so that everyone gets a restful night of shuteye.
  • Crates: Newer dogs and dogs with behavioral problems may require crating at night. Be sure you’ve walked your dog if you’re going to crate him while you sleep, and line the crate with blankets or put a dog bed inside so your pup can rest comfortably.
  • Outside: Leaving a dog outside during the night does require some planning and preparation. Outside dogs should have a doggie house lined with blankets with a solid roof for sun and rain as well as insulation for the cooler months, and do consider bringing your pup inside when the temperature is in the single digits and below.

Dogs can also succumb to sleeping disorders just like people. It’s important that your dog gets adequate rest, so you need to be sure his sleeping area is one that suits your pet’s preferences. Dogs can become afflicted with both narcolepsy and insomnia as well, so take note of your dog’s sleeping behaviors. If a dog’s sleeping behavior seems abnormal, take note of things like food allergies or your dog’s mental stimulation, which might be the cause of abnormal sleeping patterns.

Learn more about man’s best friend’s snooze sessions. Check out this infographic for more on the sleeping habits of dogs.

Filed under: All About Dogs

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