By now, we all know how important sleep is to our health. It is connected to everything, from the more obvious—energy levels throughout the day, to the far less obvious—keeping our relationships stable and helping with weight loss. When it comes to our pets, sleep quality is just as important for their health and happiness. All animals need a certain amount of sleep to remain healthy and high-functioning. Dogs are no exception.
This being said, it can be a little more difficult to encourage high-quality sleep among pets as it is harder to know for how long your pet is sleeping and how rested they are at any given point. Moreover, dogs tend to sleep in different patterns than humans, meaning we are not likely to be sleeping at the same time and awake at the same time. The following is a breakdown of things that you can think about and apply to your pet’s daily routine to encourage long and effective sleep for your furry friends.
Become Aware Of Your Pet’s Sleep Cycle
All animals, including dogs, have what is called a polyphasic sleep cycle. This means that your dog will naturally sleep several times within a twenty-four hour period. You may have already noticed that your pet takes naps during the day. It is estimated that dogs actually spend between twelve and fourteen hours sleeping on an average day.
What this means is that your dog probably isn’t sleeping for a full eight hours at night, the way you are (or, the way you have been aiming to for years, but haven’t quite pulled off consistently). This is completely okay, and there is nothing that should be done about it. Let your dog find his or her natural sleeping times without your input. Take note of these times so that you can notice if your pet switches things up (which could indicate that your furry friend is stressed or feeling sick).
Think About Their Sleeping Environment
Just like humans, pets need consistency when it comes to sleep. Ideally, we recommend a calming pet bed from Bobby Bed, that no one else but your dog uses. If you have multiple dogs, make sure that each dog has their bed. In addition to having a regular spot for your pup to sleep, you should also set up the space to encourage sleep. Leaving on screens and electronics that emit blue light is terrible for encouraging high-quality sleep (in pets and in people), and you want to remember how sensitive the hearing of dogs is. Things like ticking clocks and phone buzzers will decrease the quality of your furry friend’s sleep.
Make Sure Your Pet Is Getting Adequate Exercise
Just like you would try to tire out a rambunctious child, you need to make sure that your furry friend is getting enough exercise. It is estimated that a dog should be getting nearly two hours of exercise per day, and more if they’re bigger than average. Not only does exercise help improve the quality of your dog’s sleep, but it has many other health benefits as well. A nice long walk before bed seems like just the thing to get your pet ready for sleep (and the fresh air won’t hurt you either.)
Consistency Is a Key
Dogs like routines. They like to eat at the same time and go for a walk at the same time. They like to play at the same time and rest at the same time. One thing you can do within your dog’s routine is to make sure that you’re not feeding him or her too close to bedtime. Just like humans, the quality of sleep a dog gets can be negatively affected by eating too close to bedtime as digestion takes a lot of the body’s energy. (This also could stop your pet from having to go to the bathroom in the night and having to wait in an uncomfortable state for you to wake up.
With these tips kept in mind, you will be able to encourage your pet to have lengthy, high-quality sleep on the regular. Of course, every pet is different, and no one knows your pet better than you do. As with any online advice related to health and lifestyle, you should always pay attention to and listen to your intuition over the words of an internet stranger. If you think there is something wrong with your pet’s energy levels or sleeping habits, absolutely visit your vet. Sometimes sleep problems are indications of underlying medical conditions.