A wise man has once stated that the dog is man’s best friend. However, some people are worried that their dogs sleep too much. According to research conducted on dogs, dogs spend around half of the day sleeping. That is around 12-14 hours of the 24 hours during the day, while the rest of the time they spend 30 % of the time they spend laying around the house and 20% being awake and active.
Many factors affect your dog’s activity level mainly the age, weight, their breed, and their overall health. Since dogs are usually considered a part of the family, owners tend to become a little concerned about their pet’s sleep patterns. While many scientists cannot explain why dogs sleep so much, they explain it is a way to have restorative energy as they take their naps throughout the day.
Age and Size
Puppies are known to sleep more than a normal human being. When a young child is around, puppies spend their whole day running around with them until they have used every amount of energy and then crash down to sleep.
On the other hand, older dogs become less energetic as they get older and therefore sleep for longer periods of time. They also get tired very quickly and prefer sleeping rather than running around the house. Furthermore, size is also an important factor as larger dogs need more sleep in compared to smaller ones. Larger dogs also tend to be lazier than smaller ones.
Changing the environment
Dogs are after all living things and therefore are affected by little things that change in their environment around them. They react to the changes in the people and the environment which also may affect their sleeping.
For example, if they lose their partner or owner they will have mood changes as well as changes in their sleep. They may even get depressed and then sleep more than usual. The key here is to not pressure your pet but to be patient and to help them through their ordeal. They also need attention and love.
Try to notice any other changes in them. Maybe you have you recently moved to a new home and your pet does not like the place because they might not have much to do? Is your new place have any parks or other leisure activities that your pet can enjoy? Have you taken up an extra load from work and thus cannot give your dog enough attention? All of these may be factors in causing your pet to become depressed.
Many pet owners ask their veterinarian how much sleep is too much sleep for their dog. While you should not be worried about your dog sleeping, a drastic change in their sleep habits is a reason for concern.
In that case, it is better to consult your veterinarian immediately so that they can determine whether the pet is being affected by any diseases such as canine diabetes, depression and even canine hypothyroidism. Excessive nap and fatigue can be a sign of diabetes and should be checked out. Your pet may also be at risk of other inflammatory diseases such as Lyme disease, Rabies and Parvo Virus.
You should also look for changes in their behavior. Check if the dog has stopped doing any activities that they use to enjoy before but now chooses to sleep. Notice if he has stopped greeting you when you come home after a long day or if they used to watch you cook after you came home but now are sleeping. These changes in your pet can be signs of depression.
These animals like humans, also have sleep patterns. They have the same four initial steps consisting of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and the 5th step being Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. You can check when your dog has reached the REM because at this stage they are completely relaxed and seem to be dreaming while making soft sounds. The important thing is not to disturb them as this may disturb their sleep cycle.
Animals have a more interrupted nap than ours. Humans have to stay up the whole day and then go to bed at night. Pets reach only the REM for about 10% of their sleep time and so they need more hours to get the same quality of sleep that we as humans reach. Humans sleep 25% of the time in REM which results in a different sleep pattern.
All animals have different breeds which also may have different sleep cycles. For instance, breeds like Newfoundland, mastiffs, Saint Bernard and Great Pyrenees tend to sleep more than smaller dogs, around 18 hours! Along with the breed, it also depends on how the dog was bred. Pets that were not bred to be active and to work for their owners have a very sedentary lifestyle.
On the other hand, those that were trained to work for their owners live a more active life. For example, the duty of watchdogs is to stay up the whole day as their duty, a very hectic routine but they are trained for it. They then compensate on their sleep by taking naps but they are still active while napping.
Another reason your dog may be sleeping so much may be that he is bored with their monotonous routine. They prefer to have something to do, whether it be smelling stuff for or looking for butterflies.
However, if you are an owner with a job, chances are you leave your pet at home the whole day and my sleep rather than do anything else. In order to not let your dog reach a high level of boredom, the ideal conclusion may be to either get a companion or buy some toy or form of technology that they might like.
With the advancement of technology, even dogs can’t get bored anymore. Some new options to choose from are Dog TV or Petzilla and both are internet based and may be enough to keep him engaged for the day.
Your dog may not only be sleeping
You may think that he sleeps as much as you the whole night but they actually might not. It is possible that they might wake up multiple times during the night at odd times. Unlike humans, pets can do a lot at night.
They can see better in the dark than humans and their senses are also heightened to a point that they can hear and smell better than us. He might not be sleeping the whole night but they do complete their sleep during the day.
Chances are that they might be resting when you come back home and are only daydreaming, or maybe they have not slept very well during the night and they need to take a few naps throughout the day and you only notice this when you come home.
Make your dog more active
Sometimes owners do not play with their dogs due to time constraints or prefer their dogs lying around so that they are not disturbed. It may be that your dog is bored with their sedentary lifestyle and wants your time and affection. Every day, take some time to play with them. Treat them as you would with your children in regards to affection.
Take your pets for a walk at least for an hour each day, play with them with their favorite toys and put their toys where they can easily get them if you are not around. Make sure to hide their favorite treats for them to sniff around for and find. In order to make them more active, give them tasks that will enhance their minds. They are like us, they get bored if they have nothing to do and do not like living the sedentary lifestyle.
Should you be concerned?
Vets always say that you should look out for drastic changes in your pet’s lifestyle. Check to see if your dog is eating properly. A poor diet can make your pet inactive and lazy. Be careful to buy pet food from a renowned brand as some of these brands add items in the cans that are hard to digest and this might be the reason why your dog is not eating so much and is less active.
Your dog may have serious health issues such as a heart problem or may be an underactive thyroid gland leading to hypothyroidism. The signs and symptoms of these conditions may usually manifest as weight gain, less ability to play, laziness, getting tired very easily after playing and changes in moods and personality.
If hypothyroidism is not treated, then it may lead to skin disease, obesity, and arthritis. If you notice any of the above symptoms then the best action to take would be to bring your dog to the veterinarian because they will know the best steps to take.
Taking care of a pet is the responsibility of the owner and whatever happens to the dog is their responsibility. Be alert when it comes to any drastic changes in your pet’s personality. Show affection to your dog as loneliness can lead to depression as well as other diseases. It is very important for him to take naps but too much of sleep is dangerous for your pet’s health.
These animals are one of the best forms of love for humans because of their ability to jump all day long, stare at you the whole day or just roaming around in circles without any caffeine. This is why we need to take care of our dogs in order to keep them lively and happy.