Over the last few years, an increasing amount of evidence has been published about the importance of sleep for humans — but sleep is also essential to your dog’s health too.
Let’s run through a few key elements of your dog’s sleep:
How much sleep?
While the average person needs about 7-8 hours of sleep each night, dogs need more. Research shows that dogs need between 8-14 hours of sleep each day and puppies need at least 11 hours of sleep. The specific amount is dependent on your dog’s age, activity level, and overall health.
Larger breeds like St. Bernards and Mastiffs tend to sleep for longer — sometimes up to 18 hours! Older dogs and more active dogs often require more sleep too.
Problems with a lack of sleep
Poor sleep can cause similar problems that we see in people including a decreased ability to deal with stress, irritability, memory trouble, and learning difficulty.
Sometimes, sleep can be disrupted due to lifestyle factors like a change in diet, arthritis and underlying health conditions — it’s important to pay attention to these issues potentially cropping up over your dog’s life.
Finding a sleep routine for your dog
There are several things our expert vets at Front Of The pack recommend to help improve your dog’s sleep quality:
- Be sure to set a consistent schedule and routine at bedtime
- Ensure that your dog has his own space for sleep, like a dog bed or a crate with comfy blankets. While many, like myself, enjoy having our dogs sleep in bed with us, it can cause sleep disruption for both you and your dog.
- Lastly, make sure that you have an ideal sleep environment with minimal light and noise
If you notice that your dog has trouble sleeping despite these recommendations, it could be a sign of ongoing chronic discomfort or an underlying medical issue. It is important to discuss these concerns with your veterinarian.
And as a bonus tip — the first nights of a puppy’s life at home are its most important and influential. But no matter how much a puppy whines and cries in those nights, you should refrain from comforting it unless it’s absolutely essential. This way they learn to become confident enough by themselves, and avoid attachment issues as it gets older.