We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep, but did you know that it’s just as important for our pets? What can be hard though is knowing how much they need.
That’s why Kellie Ceccarelli, Veterinary Training Manager at IAMS, has popped together a quick guide to give you the basics on your pet’s snoozing habits, the impact this can have on their health and how you can help them enjoy the pawfect nap!
Dogs tend to take little naps and do most of their sleeping at night. When it comes to general sleep patterns, this will depend on your pet’s age, size and daily activities. Most adult dogs will take a nap after a long walk but will generally be active and awake whilst you’re home, while working dogs, such as police or rescue dogs, will often go the whole day without sleeping. As your dog ages and health conditions such as arthritis manifest, they may slow down and require more rest.
While every pet is individual as a general rule of thumb, dogs need the following amount of sleep to stay happy and healthy:
• Puppies: 12 – 18 hours a day
• Adult dogs: 14 hours a day
• Large adult dogs: Up to 18 hours a day
• Senior dogs: 18+ hours a day (depending on health and overall condition)
What does sleep mean to their health?
The quality and length of the sleep your four-legged friend gets each night can impact not only on their health as this is when our pets will do most of their regenerating, but also their behaviour as the rise in stress hormones from lack of sleep can lead to increased grumpiness and misbehaviour.
What’s more, like us humans, our dogs release the hormone melatonin while in deep sleep which helps to build a strong immune system by protecting their cells. This means that if your pet doesn’t get enough sleep, their overall health may be negatively affected.
Tips for the pawfect nap!
If you’re worried about the quality of your pet’s sleep or want to help your four-legged friend improve their sleep routine, follow our simple steps below to ensure a pawfect nap:
- Give them space – Although we might love to snuggle up to our pets while they sleep they are actually better off in their own space. Like humans, dogs also experience rapid eye movement (REM) stage in their sleep, meaning they dream too. This may cause them to bark, whine or kick their legs, so their own space is vital for a sound sleep. Certain breeds, especially smaller ones, prefer the sanctuary that their own bed can bring and the safety of being in a small, enclosed area.
- Exercise regularly – Like humans, a lack of exercise and excitement can lead to insomnia and lethargy. Ideally, try and get out of the house for at least thirty minutes a day with your dog. Whether that’s a brisk walk around the neighbourhood or a game of ball in the park.
- Let your pet out right before bedtime – Many people pop their dog out into the garden in the middle of the evening, before they settle down to catch up on the latest TV. However, by making the toilet break the last thing your pet does before bed means they will have an empty bladder, making both of your sleep a lot better.
- Create a calming vibe – Like children, pets also need a calming bedtime routine to get them into a sleepy mood. Keep activity, such as walks and playtime, to a minimum right before bed so they feel calmer and aren’t craving water as this could increase their need to go out in the middle of the night . Try relaxing head strokes to soothe your pet into deep sleep. As with children it’s all about routine, routine, routine!