Sleep, rest, and relaxation are not only important in our lives, but also in the life of our dog. If your dog gets too little sleep, it can not only affect his mood but also have a negative impact on his learning behavior, his metabolism, and ultimately his health.
In this article, you will learn how much sleep your dog needs to be healthy and happy. In addition, we will show you how your dog can best recover and which routines support him in doing so.
How much sleep my dog needs
The sleep rhythm of dogs, as with us humans, is cyclical and includes more hours of sleep at night than during the day. But as you may have noticed, your dog also sleeps quite often when you are working, cooking, or sitting in the café. Observations of street dogs have shown that they spend about 50 to 70 percent of a 24-hour day sleeping or resting. For a healthy dog life, we recommend about 16-18 hours of sleep for adult dogs and about 20 hours for puppies and sick dogs.
How do dogs sleep?
You will certainly wonder why your dog should sleep so many hours a day and that the remaining hours are hardly enough for your daily routines. But we can reassure you, your dog should not sleep 16 hours at a stretch, but spread over day and night.
Most of the time dogs sleep about 20-30 minutes at a time and go through a rapid pattern of wakefulness, transition stage, light slow-wave sleep, deep slow-wave sleep (mostly NREM sleep), and REM sleep. REM sleep or rapid eye movement sleep is a very restless stage of sleep and you can often recognize it by the movement of eyes or limbs. NREM sleep or non-rapid eye movement sleep, on the other hand, is calm and deep.
Why is sleep important for dogs?
Healthy and deep sleep is not only for rest and energy maintenance but is also important for important learning processes in the brain. Experiences gathered during the day are sorted and important information is stored in long-term memory, while unimportant information is deleted.
Researchers even found that dogs that took a rest break of 20-30 minutes after a learning task achieved better learning results than dogs that did not get any time to sleep. It was also found that dogs have long-term declarative memory, which ensures that dogs can remember detailed events over a long period of time.
Consequences of sleep deprivation
If a dog gets too little sleep, this can have fatal consequences for its health and performance. Due to the lack of rest during sleep, many dogs become irritable and show behavioral abnormalities, such as restlessness and lack of rest, difficulty concentrating, exaggerated aggressive behavior, or even over-excited behavior. In addition, dogs that suffer from sleep deprivation tend to get sick more often, because the immune system is weakened. The stress a sleep-deprived dog experiences can result in long-term chronic diseases of the cardiovascular and/or gastrointestinal systems.
Help your dog find rest and recovery
In order for your dog to get adequate sleep and rest, he needs a place to retreat undisturbed – preferably in a comfortable dog bed. The place for the dog bed should not be in passageways or the hallway, otherwise, your dog will be constantly disturbed. It is best to place the dog bed in a place where you spend a lot of time but are not very active, e.g. in the living room or in the study if you work in a home office. Train your dog to stay in the dog bed so that you can send him there during the day.
Many dogs must first learn to really relax while their humans are going about their daily lives. Therefore, it is important that your dog learns to stay in the dog bed while you do something around the house, for example. Especially puppies and young dogs are very curious and would otherwise run after you the whole day although they are actually dead tired. Rest rituals, like our relaxation exercise in the app or cuddling together on the sofa, can help your dog get enough rest and sleep.
One last tip
Even if everyday life is stressful and you have a lot on your to-do list, it’s worth relaxing for a few minutes together with your dog. Let our app remind you of the relaxation ritual every day and create space for you and your dog to take a little break together.