Why do dogs sleep?

April 13, 2012

In the animal kingdom, dogs were able to bag the title “Great Sleepers”. Our canine friends really love to sleep. Dogs are known to spend more than half of their time sleeping given that most breeds of dogs would sleep from 12 to 14 hours every day. Why do dogs sleep anyway? Why do these animals have the propensity to take long dozes and naps? In spite of all the researches and studies conducted by scientists on the sleep behavior of dogs nothing was really proven why animals sleep. Of course the benefits of sleeping were already established. Don’t you get cranky and sluggish if you were not able to get a good night’s sleep? Don’t you thing our furry friends feel the same way too?

Genetically humans and dogs are about 90% identical. Naturally, dogs would not care why they need to sleep. Fido and Fifi, unlike humans would not really mind when or where they would sleep. Humans though would be aware that sleep is one of the life sustaining activities but we are more discriminating where we would lay our heads to sleep. Sleeping is very similar to eating. We need to consume food to provide the body with the necessary nutrients required for growth. Sleeping has similar functions too. Cell regeneration is achieved when we are sleeping. Sleeping promotes good blood circulation that is necessary in repairing the cells of the body damaged during the day. When sufficient sleep is obtained, we feel energetic, alert and we are able to function well. And since humans and dogs are not so different, it would be safe to say that dogs derive the same benefits from sleep as we humans do.

Dogs are highly intelligent creatures and it would not be surprising if they know the benefits they would derive from sleeping. This is probably the reason why dog would take any chance it can get to have a close eye. Dogs also have this quaint ability to fall asleep at once. Unlike humans that would toss and turn before falling asleep, dogs can easily sleep practically with a snap of a finger. Notice how a dog that is energetically playing would turn around several times and in seconds would be asleep. Different breeds would have different sleeping behavior. Some would have longer sleeping hours than others. The activity and the environment counts a lot too. A housebound dog or a dog leashed in the yard would have longer sleeping hours than a working dog or one that is allowed to run freely. Puppies and older dogs sleep a lot too. Puppies are born deaf and blind and the first few say are spent sleeping. Because older dogs are less active most of the time they can be seen sleeping.

Sleeping no doubt has health benefits. After sleeping, a rested dog would feel refreshed. With the energy replenished the dog would be ready to tackle the activities and the chores for the day. Domesticated dogs are most commonly seen sleeping the day away. Who wouldn’t want to sleep if you have a peaceful and comfortable bed? Moreover dogs that are left alone all day with no toys and no dogs to play with would sleep for lack of other activities to do. Excessive sleeping in this case can be dangerous to the health of the pet especially if it is coupled with too much food intake and very little or no exercise. This could lead to obesity and a number of health concerns. So in this case would you let your sleeping dog lie?