Times of rest are really important for all living beings. Your dog is no exception.
The secret to their vitality lies in the time they dedicate to sleeping, so their frequent naps allow them to recover lost energy and maintain their physical and mental health.
Rest helps your dog to regain strength and release any tension acquired during the day. While every one is different, generally speaking an adult dog spends around 50 per cent of the day sleeping, varying how deep that sleep is.
When they are little they sleep almost all day and, as they grow, they balance their rest time. Choose a quiet corner of the house and get it ready so that they can lie down to sleep each day.
The huge and unquestionable advantages of restful sleep for your dog are:
Recharging their energy
Helping to ease tensions
Helping to memorise what has happened during the day. In fact, a good nap can help your dog to better remember what they have learned during the day.
Dogs go through two phases during the time they are asleep:
- SLOW WAVE SLEEP
During this phase, their heart beats more slowly and their breathing becomes slow and regular. There is not complete muscular relaxation but they are very still.
- DEEP OR REM SLEEP
Just like humans, dogs go into a phase of deep sleep during which their breathing becomes more irregular and they have rapid eye movements (REM). During this phase, it is normal for your dog to move their tail or paws as though they were playing, because like us, they are dreaming. We cannot know for certain what your dog is dreaming about, but there is a great deal of scientific research that reveals that dogs dream about their ordinary activities..
POSITIONS AND THEIR MEANING
The position that your dog takes up when sleeping can have different meanings:
Lying on their breastbone with their back legs to one side
This is one of the most well-used postures for resting; they can relax, but they continue to be able to react quickly if they need to.
Lying face up
Puppies and small adult dogs with wide backs and short legs tend to adopt this position.
Curled up in a ball
Many dogs curl up when they sleep, even when they have the room to stretch out. It could look uncomfortable, but for dogs it is a cosy and safe position, something akin to the “foetal position” for humans.
In nature, dogs dig a nest and curl up in a ball to keep warm whilst sleeping and to protect themselves from predators. For this reason, many particularly enjoy scratching or “digging out” their bed before a nap.
Lying on the breastbone
They rest their elbows on the ground and gather their back legs under their body.
Resting in this position, they can get up quickly: it is the posture that is most used when they are in a state of alertness.
Lying on their side
They sleep resting on one side; like this they manage to fully relax and can achieve the deepest sleep.
WHEN SLEEPING IS AN ILNESS
Dogs also suffer from sleep disorders.
This consists of excessive drowsiness, with a tendency to sleep several times per day, even at the least appropriate times. This disorder can be hereditary and it has been noted most frequently in Labradors, Dobermanns, Poodles and Beagles.
This is characterised by the absence of sleep and can affect their character, making your dog more irritable.
Try to manage and respect their sleep patterns, because any change will have a negative effect. If your dog is always active and happy, and suddenly you notice that they are drowsy or that they are sleeping more than usual, consult your trusted vet.