About Sleeping Dogs, (Sleep Positions and Dreaming)
Did you know that dogs spend approximately half of their lives sleeping?
Here we take a look at the positions of our sleeping dogs and what significance it has. Also, do dogs dream? and if so, what do they dream about?
We also investigate co-sleeping with your pet, and when it should be avoided.
Dogs Sleep Positions
When a dog sleeps on his back with legs in the air, it means that the dog is contented and secure. It is a submissive position, with all vital organs exposed, making the dog vulnerable to attack in the wild, so only seen in laid back dogs.
The complete opposite of this position is when the dog sleeps in a tight, curled up ball. In this case, the organs are tucked away and the dogs keep warm. This position is the most common for wild dogs, it makes them feel at their most safe and the position retains body heat.
Wild dogs also sleep back to back with a littermate, this shows that they are part of a pack. If a dog sleeps with his owner in this way, the position shows that you are trusted and much loved.
The side sleep position with just part of the stomach exposed is a natural nap position. It signifies that the dog is calm and relaxed.
A dog that sleeps on his stomach with paws outstretched in front is ready to wake and burst into action. This is a common position for pups to sleep in.
When a dog is too hot and needs to cool down he will take up the best sleep position to bring down his body heat. There is less fur on the stomach so this will be exposed, in a sideways position or directly on their back to let out heat. The paws hold the sweat glands so they will be facing outwards.
Do Dogs Dream?
Anyone who has ever sat beside a dog pawing the air, growling and yapping whilst supposedly fast asleep will have no doubt that dogs dream.
And experts agree.
They believe that dogs enter the R.E.M stage of sleep just like we do. That is the deep sleep or Rapid Eye Movement stage when we have those bizarre, memorable dreams that can often wake us up. It usually happens when the dog has been sleeping for twenty minutes.
But what are they dreaming about?
Chasing rabbits, warning burglars or digging holes?
Maybe, but some people believe that our dog’s dream of us! They see our faces and dream about making us happy! How brilliant is that?
They also play out the previous days thoughts and experiences just like we do.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
The old saying holds a great deal of truth. If a dog is disturbed in the middle of a dream it can easily snap and children should be taught to not touch a sleeping dog. It is a natural and healthy reaction, not to be confused with bad behaviour. If a dog seems to be having a nightmare, wake by saying his name softly.
Should We Allow Our Dog To Sleep In Our Bed?
Almost half of dog owners co-sleep with their pet. It can be incredibly comforting for both dog and human. My own dogs start the night in a dedicated dog bed, however they are often snuggled under the covers with me when I wake up in the morning.
There are a few reasons why sleeping with your dog is NOT a good idea ;
1 Allergy sufferers should avoid co-sleeping.
2 A reactive dog might bite (accidently) if you move suddenly in your sleep.
3 Dogs carry parasites, fleas and ticks so always check over your dog if he sleeps with you.
4 Extra laundering will be needed especially if the dog is a heavy shedder.
5 Having a dog by your side might affect your sleep or even keep you awake.
6 Puppies or senior dogs with incontinence may soil bedding.
Here are some recommended dog beds available from Amazon.com