Source: Stamford Mercury (Extract)
Posted: March 26, 2023

Animal behaviour expert Karen Wild explains why it’s important to let your dog rest.

Is your dog always snoozing away, making you think that’s all they do?

Too much sleep can be a sign of a dog that is feeling low, but dogs do need a lot of rest compared to us humans.

So, what to do to help our lovely pups to get enough sleep? Here are some tips:

Make sure your dog has a darkened and quiet area to sleep. They can easily wake up with the dawn chorus as the sun comes up and the birds start tweeting. This can be very early in the morning and isn’t ideal for them or for us! Try blackout lining on windows and somewhere without lots of noisy appliances or where other animals outside are audible.

Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. Make sure your dog or puppy has the same bedtime and wake-up time every day.

Create a comfortable sleeping environment. Provide a cosy bed or crate with proper dog bedding to make them feel safe and secure. Not too warm, but also not too cold! Every dog likes something different so use a room thermometer to check temperature, especially if your dog sleeps in a utility room or other separate enclosure.

Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation during the day with plenty of regular naps in between.

Avoid giving your dog any high energy treats before bedtime. Don’t forget to brush their teeth!

Reduce stress and anxiety. Make sure your pup feels safe and secure in their environment. Don’t trap them into their sleep space as they will simply fight to escape.

Some dogs, especially those with flat faces, can suffer with disturbed sleep simply because their airways are not clear and open. Sadly this is a problem for all dogs that tend to breathe noisily and is another reason why we shouldn’t encourage more extreme physical features to be bred. Failure to sleep or rest both day and night can make dogs very grumpy and they struggle to cope, especially in warmer weather. Treatment options exist for some dogs, so if you’re concerned about your dog’s sleeping habits, it’s best to consult your vet for further advice, or ask for referral to a registered clinical animal behaviourist who will work with you on ways to change some of the routines that might be causing problems.

Following these tips can help ensure that your dog is getting the essential sleep they need to stay healthy, safe and happy. It will also reassure you that everyone is as well as can be. Happy snoozing!