Should you wake a sleeping dog?
I guess you’ve probably heard the phrase “let sleeping dogs lie” and you are right there wondering what this phrase means and how is it related to real-life dogs. To find the right answer, let’s take a look into how dogs sleep, their dreams, how long their sleep last, and sleep rhythms, then we can draw a conclusion on whether or not you should wake a sleeping dog.
But again, referring to the phrase, from the sound of it–if you wake up a sleeping dog won’t it just bite you for nuisance, lol?
How long should a dog sleep before you wake it up?
Well, you probably want to wake up a dog thinking that it’s oversleeping–getting more sleep than you think it should. Unlike us, dogs need much more sleep. On average, dogs should sleep for 14 to 16 hours per day. Despite the many hours’ sleep, dogs still have the same sleeping cycle as you. These sleeping cycles are REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and SWS (Short-wave Sleep). Studies have shown that it only takes 20 minutes for an average-sized dog to reach the REM cycle. It’s during the REM cycle when dogs dream heavily and you will notice paws running, twitching, and yipping. You probably don’t want anyone interrupting your sleep at this point, and so does your dog.
Why would a dog sleep more than 16 hours?
Not all dogs need that much sleep, just older dogs. Younger dogs can stay away for half a day or more. As dogs age, they become less active and lose a lot of energy which almost automatically sets their brain to sleep 16 hours a day, or more.
In addition, there are some health conditions that could cause any dog to sleep more than usual. Something else that could cause your dog to sleep more is the type of food you feed it on. I know most dog owners aren’t sure of what food they should give their dog so you may want to find out if the food you give your dog is the cause of its sleep disorder.
Also, some foods have little nutrients that don’t give your dog energy hence making him lazy and sleepy all the time. Yet still, other foods may deprive them of the needed sleep which may result in sleep disorders. So the bottom line is that you must be careful of what you feed your dog on if you want to help it keep a regular sleep pattern.
The science behind dog’s sleep
Many people wonder if dogs dream in their sleep. Some experiments taken a few years back proved that rats are dreamers, and from pure logic, dogs have larger brain capabilities, therefore they dream too, obviously. And most dog owners will tell you that they have watched their dogs in their sleep behave in a manner suggesting that dogs indeed do dream. Some might even go as far as telling you what their dogs dream of based on what the dog loves to do.
Like us, and other animals, dogs tend to dream more in their youth and old age. Researches indicate that dogs dream of common activities they enjoy doing during the day.
What are the risks of waking a sleeping dog?
Most dogs, especially the older ones may be startled at first, causing it to nip the hand which shook it. Startled sleeping dogs tend to be ruthlessly vengeful, even if the dog is known to be harmless and polite on normal occasions. When you wake up a sleeping dog, its adrenaline kicks up and it acts on it–and this may result in an impulsive action like the dog biting you. You really wouldn’t blame it too much if you understand this.
However, if you can’t help yourself just use a low and gentle voice to wake up the dog. Using a loud voice might wake your dog with intense anxiety making it somehow moody and putting it on the offensive. He might think something has gone wrong and get protective and the effects of this may be devastating.
If you manage to wake your dog from a bad dream, you should show it some love to make it feel that everything is fine. A hug or a soothing touch may be reassuring. Basically, create a nice and safe environment. All this can show your dog all is well.
A Bad dream is normal
Bad dreams are normal–we all have nightmares at some point in our lives and live to tell; it’s not any different with any sleeping dog because it will overcome. I know it can be unbearable for most owners to watch their dog growl and moan in their sleep but if it happens to your dog, you must understand that it’s okay.
Previously, I had to consult a local vet and I was surprised when he told me that dreams can help your dog to work out their feelings and thoughts. Denying your dog’s sleep thinking that too much sleep is unusual may not help it resolve these internal issues. Waking it up can as well as deny it the much-needed rest.
So, should I “let sleeping dogs lie”
The saying means that you should ignore stuff that shouldn’t concern you to avoid landing in more trouble. When it comes to your dog, you may or may not let the sleeping dog lie. There are two sides to it; if waking your dog up will be of some help to it–go ahead. But if you just want to wake him up for the sake of it, you may earn a well-deserved.
Anyway, as much as you can, let the sleeping dog lie. If you can, buy one of these fine dog beds.