How to Make Sure Your Dog is Getting Enough Rest by Amber Kingsly
For some dog owners, the concern over whether their dog is getting enough rest is almost laughable, considering dogs seems to spend the majority of each day lying upside down on the couch with all four feet in the air. On occasion it’ll throw in a loud snore, just to alert you to the fact that it’s still breathing.
For other dog owners though, the concern over the dog receiving enough rest is no laughing matter. Some dogs are extremely restless, unable to sit still for more than a few minutes. And during the night they seem to be moving around constantly, unable to find a comfortable position in which to sleep. Or perhaps they spend much of the night barking, leaving you unable to sleep.
Getting Enough Sleep
Different breeds of dogs need different amounts of rest. A working dog, such as a retriever or a border collie, will be far more active than large dogs bred to guard livestock. The average dog will sleep 12-15 hours per day, however a little bit of wiggle room on either end of this range shouldn’t be room for concern. Puppies and older dogs will tend to sleep more than the average dog, for example.
Signs of Restlessness
A dog that isn’t getting enough rest may show a few obvious signs or symptoms. When the dog’s behaviors listed below change suddenly, pay attention and contact your vet, as the restlessness and the symptoms listed below may be signs of a more significant health problem.
- Lack of appetite. A tired or restless dog may suddenly lose the desire to eat its normal food or eat at its normal feeding time.
- Barking or howling. A dog that’s upset or scared at night will howl and bark, leaving it unable to sleep.
- Panting and whimpering. Dogs that are unable to rest properly will pant constantly or will whimper, both of which are signs of a dog in pain.
- Chewing or licking its paws. A common sign of restlessness in a dog is constant licking, scratching, or chewing an area, causing a loss of fur or a sore to appear.
Causes and Cures for Restlessness
If your dog has undergone a recent change in its routine, restlessness can occur. If you’ve changed your working hours or if one of your children has moved to college, the dog may react to this significant change to its environment with restlessness. Try to re-establish a routine and be patient while the dog adjusts. Showing frustration with the restless dog could magnify the consequences of the problem.
A bored dog may also refuse to sleep for long stretches, looking for something to do. This can result in behaviors such as hole digging, fence climbing, or furniture chewing. Look for ways to stimulate the dog during the day, perhaps by enrolling it in a dog “day care” or by walking the dog on a regular basis.
Some dogs are just nervous at night, feeling the need to patrol the house. Consider crating this type of dog at night, which may allow the dog to feel safer. Some dogs don’t respond well to crating though, and it could take a few nights before the dog settles down.
Most importantly, you need to keep an eye on your dog’s health when problems with restlessness or a lack of sleep begin to appear. Sometimes these symptoms occur because the dog is in pain. If there’s no obvious reason for the dog’s restlessness, contact your veterinarian, especially if the problem suddenly appears and then persists for a couple of days. Hopefully your dog will be back to snoring on the couch in no time!