Reducing some common disturbances and adjusting your routine might be all that’s needed to help your dog get adequate sleep.
The struggle to get enough sleep is not limited to humans. Your dog can suffer from sleep deprivation just like you. Their symptoms aren’t that much different either. Daytime drowsiness, lack of energy, and irritability are signs that both of you might not be getting enough shuteye. However, there are steps you can take to help your pet get the rest he needs.
The amount of sleep your dog needs depends on a number of factors. First and foremost is breed. The average dog needs 14 hours of sleep, but depending on size, age, and activity level, he could need as much as 18 to 20 hours.
Boost activity level
A sedentary lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to high-quality slumber. Exercise helps keep your pet’s mind and body sharp. But more importantly, it wears him out so he’s tired enough for more naps and/or a prolonged sleep period at night.
Try adding an extra walk or game of fetch to your dog’s daily routine. As you help your pet, you may find that you’re getting extra exercise too.
Buy him his own bed
According to a 2010 survey, over 50 percent of dog owners sleep with their pet. Sleeping with a pet has its psychological advantages for both parties. However, when it comes to the actual measurement of hours slept, bed sharing definitely causes more sleep disturbances and less overall sleep for everyone involved.
Animals dream and move in their sleep like you do. Even a high-quality mattress that reduces motion transferal can’t prevent two bodies from bumping into one another. You both create a sleep hazard that can be solved by moving to separate sleep spaces.
A designated space like a dog bed gives your pet a comfortable place to snooze where he won’t run into anybody else. Of course, you’ll both get better sleep if you’re in separate rooms, too. However, it can be distressing for some animals and pet owners to be separated all night long. If that’s the case for you, a designated sleep space within your room, but not in your bed, might be the perfect answer.
Create a designated daytime sleep space
The REM cycles of dogs work differently than humans. We generally sleep for a single extended period that ranges from seven to nine hours. Dogs do sleep for an extended time at night but typically use short naps throughout the day to get all the rest they need.
Because everyone in the family isn’t running on the same schedule, your pet needs a designated daytime space where he’ll be relatively undisturbed. A safe, comfortable area with a bed or pillow that’s out of the way is the perfect retreat for those daytime naps.
Dogs have many of the same sleep needs as their owners. Remember, your pet isn’t being lazy when he naps – he’s getting the rest he needs to maintain his physical and emotional health. A few simple changes to your routine can boost his energy and help everyone – you included – get much needed rest.
Samantha Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.