How much sleep does your dog need?

As part of National Pet Month, Lords & Labradors have released their tips to ensure the nation’s dogs are receiving the right amount of shut eye.

A new study has found that 3.2 million households in the UK have acquired pets during lockdown equalling to the country now having 17 million pet-owning homes.

Much like humans, good sleep is vital for the development and health of dogs. New research by TRIP found that over three quarters of Brits are losing sleep due to lockdown, and this could be radiating into people’s pets, especially dogs.

A study conducted by Sweden’s Linkoping University found that dogs are able to pick up on different moods of their owners, such as stress and tiredness. The study also gives greater insight into dog/owner stress levels related to behaviour, exercise and other aspects of lifestyle.

Lords and Labradors have released their ‘Be a Doggy-Do Little’ which aims to educate owners of the importance of ensuring them and their dogs receive the recommended amount of sleep. The campaign provides insight into what dogs need in terms of healthy sleep pattern and how people can implement them. Like humans, when stressed, dogs struggle with their sleep.

How much sleep should dogs be getting?

On average, adult dogs need 12-14 hours of sleep a day, if they are synced up with human sleeping patterns, of say 8 hours a night, they will need to get the remaining hours through the day.

Puppies, like babies, spend a lot of time expelling energy while playing and exploring their new surroundings, it can be stressful learning human rules and learning about the world, which means they might need as much as 18 to 20 hours of sleep to recover. Therefore, it is very normal for dogs to spend around 50% of their day sleeping and 30% “resting”, meaning they are “active” for just 20% of the day.

What happens if they don’t receive enough sleep?

Sleep depravity in dogs can cause as many problems as it does in humans. Dogs can get cranky and that can lead to miscommunication and mishaps with those around them. Lack of sleep can cause restlessness or hyperactivity and a lack of motor skills. This can mean they will get clumsy; they have less concentration and can become irritable and even aggressive. Continual lack of sleep is also bad for their long-term health and increases stress levels.

Diet is crucial

Much like humans, a dog’s diet can have an astronomical impact on their sleep. People are often encouraged to stay away from the likes of cheese, caffeine and spicy food in order to achieve a good night’s sleep, and to sample fatty fish, warm milk and bananas instead.

For dogs, a diet that is too energy-rich could be causing them to struggle to switch off properly at night. It’s thought that certain additives, proteins and other nutritional components have a lot to answer for when it comes to sleep and overall behaviour.  Implementing specially designed bedtime treats containing ingredients that can implement a better night sleep, such as honey, yoghurt and camomile can help ensure dogs are able to fall asleep with no disturbances.

Routine is everything

Adopting good bedtime habits can go a long way for both people and their dogs. Creating a routine is vital to both human and dog sleep. Putting away mobile devices, switching off the TV and finding more natural ways to unwind, such as reading or meditating, is encouraged in order to maintain a healthy sleeping pattern.

Reflecting this around the whole house is advised in order to achieve similar results within dogs. Creating an evening routine will allow dogs to understand when they should be unwinding and getting ready to sleep. Lords & Labradors advise having one last toilet break at the same time every night and switching lights off every night can help aid a healthy sleeping pattern. They also encourage keeping the vibe in the home calm and quiet in the hours before lights-out so that dogs get ready to drift off.

Comfort comes first

One of the main factors of poor sleep is a poor mattress, with people often cutting corners on price and evidently cutting corners on the sleep. Investing in a good mattress is crucial to a good night’s sleep and just like humans, dogs need somewhere comfortable to sleep in order to get the rest they need.  A dog’s bed should be reflective of their breed and size, as well as being well cushioned.

For owners who prefer to crate train their dogs, it is advised that they should include a drop-down cover on the outside to provide privacy. Ideally, dogs’ sleep space should be quiet, draught-free and warm, giving them the privacy they need to unwind and recharge.

You can read more about how you can be a Doggy-Do-Little here.