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16 Jun What you need to know about your dog’s sleep

Sleep can be a bit of a mystery at the best of times, and when it comes to your dog it’s no different. Ever wondered how much sleep your dog should be getting, or exactly what they are dreaming when their feet are twitching? We’ve decoded some of the mysteries of doggy sleep and how you can keep track of your pooch’s sleep routine using PitPat.

How much sleep should my dog be getting?

Your dog’s sleep routine is different to us humans. Whereas we get almost all of our sleep done at night-time (barring the odd Sunday afternoon nap) your dog spreads their sleep throughout the day. 

Additionally, a pet dog will typically get between 12 and 14 hours of sleep – even more if they are a puppy or a senior. Working dogs might get slightly less, but only out of necessity. 

Is my dog sleeping too much?

If your dog is sleeping for more than 14 hours a day and they are not a puppy or senior dog, it may just be that they are naturally inclined to sleep more, or have high energy activities going on during the rest of the day. However, if they are lethargic during their waking hours, it may be worth a visit to your vet for a full check, just in case.

Is my dog getting enough sleep?

If your dog isn’t getting 12 hours of sleep per day, it may just be part of their normal routine and nothing to worry about. However, if you notice that they are particularly tired but unable to sleep then it may be worth a visit to the vet for a check up in case they are in pain or have high anxiety.

Cockapoo sleeping on sofa

How can I check how much sleep my dog is getting?

You could stand over your dog with a clipboard and stopwatch whilst they are sleeping – or you could get a PitPat dog activity tracker and download your dog’s stats at the end of the day – we know which one we’d prefer!

With a PitPat, you’re not only going to see all your dog’s activity throughout the day, but also how long they spent resting, giving you a clear indication as to whether they are getting the right amount of sleep. It also makes it really easy to see if their sleep patterns change day to day, helping you identify possible issues that you can discuss with your vet.

Bedtime routines

Having a good bedtime routine is essential to make sure your pooch doesn’t disturb you in the middle of the night. Here are our top tips for a winning bedtime routine:

  1. Feed your dog 4 or 5 hours before you plan to go to bed – giving your dog plenty of time to digest their food and get over the initial energy burst they might get from their dinner. 
  2. Head out for an evening walk at the same time each evening – this will give them the chance to burn off any excess energy leftover from the day.
  3. Designate a sleeping place that is comfy, cosy, and secure, like a dog bed in a special corner or a crate. Have them sleep there every night so they know where to go when it’s time for bed.
  4. Have some calm time in the last hour or so before bedtime. Use this time to bond with your dog, stroking and cuddling in a way they are comfortable with. It might even be a good time to gently brush them, if they are the type of dog who enjoys being groomed. Try to avoid having late-night visitors or vigorous playtime just before bed.
  5. Choose a special treat that they get just before bedtime, usually something small but tasty.
  6. Let your dog outside just before bedtime to go to the toilet so that they don’t get the urge in the middle of the night.
  7. Set a routine so your dog goes to bed at around the same time every night – if the rest of the household is still up and about, you’ll need to make sure they aren’t disturbed too much.

Whilst your bedtime routine will give your dog the best chance of sleeping through the night, there is still a chance that they will wake up in the night. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it can be useful to identify the underlying cause – do they need to go to the toilet? Have they been disturbed? Are they in pain? Once you figure out what is causing them to wake up, you can come up with a solution.

If you want to find out a bit more about your dog’s sleep and activity when you’re tucked up in bed, you can get an idea using PitPat. Look for small spikes of activity through the night – this would indicate your dog is awake at these times. Seeing a few small spikes of activity isn’t unusual, but excessive amounts might warrant further investigation.

Do dog’s dream?

Ever seen a dog twitching their paws in their sleep, even letting out little woofs? According to scientists this is most likely your dog experiencing a dream. And, much like us humans, they are probably dreaming about daytime activities – for them that’ll be things like going on walkies with their favourite person (that’s you!), chasing birds and playing with their doggy friends.

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