We see our pets happily playing and running around most of the time. Because we often see them having fun more easily than humans, we often think they’re perfectly happy. Pets can actually have some of the same problems that we humans do and particularly when it comes to sleep.
It’s possible to notice your dog having trouble falling asleep. These problems can inhibit our own restful hours. Sadly, dogs can be prone to sleep disorders. To understand these issues fully, you must learn about the common problems dogs can experience when it comes to sleep.
So, what types of sleeping disorders might your furry friend be going through? Take a look at these issues below:
Table of Contents
Insomnia in dogs is very similar to the insomnia humans face. Dogs may have issues with falling asleep once the night begins. They may also find themselves waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep soon after.
For your little critter, the problems may be caused by an injury, illness, or anxiety. It’s often associated with discomfort from injuries like digestive problems. Dogs that have issues with their bladder may also wake up too early. This typically happens with older dogs.
Your dog may go through bouts of narcolepsy. It’s a condition that isn’t too common. It affects their sleep when there’s a disruption in the sleep cycle during REM sleep. They may experience something called sleep attacks which are also known by the name cataplexy. Cataplexy can be described as a muscle weakness or paralysis of the body while remaining awake.
The dog will notice this attack for a couple of seconds to a few minutes and they are typically brought on by strong emotions. It’s something that’s often happening when a dog is playing or eating.
3. Sleep Apnea
You might notice your dog snoring while they sleep. If the snoring your furry friend is making becomes too loud or becomes chronic, it might be a sign that your dog has sleep apnea. If it’s a result of an illness like a sinus infection or cold, it’s less to worry about.
English Bulldogs are particularly prone to sleep apnea, but it is usually present in overweight dogs no matter what the breed. This problem can wake up your critter multiple times in one night. Your dog might seem pretty drowsy during the day if they have this condition.
4. PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disorder) and REM Behavior Disorder
Dogs may be actively moving during their REM sleep if they have REM behavior disorder. These dogs may move by running into walls, eating objects, or biting humans while they are asleep. These behaviors can be seen in the gentlest of dogs if they have REM behavior disorder. It’s common to see your dog pawing when this disorder is present.
Try employing a pet care expert to combat some of these common sleep disorders found in dogs. They can help properly treat the disorder. There are many types of medication that work to combat sleeping disorders with pets.
Signs Of Sleep Disorders In Dogs
Your canine companion provides you with unquestioning emotional support and will be there through even the most challenging of times. However, the flip side of the coin is that they will also gladly make the good times even better.
All that they require in return is that you provide them with access to the care they need to be healthy, happy, and enjoy a great quality of life. This care that you provide includes paying special attention to your furry friend’s habits in order to ensure that they are in the best of health.
This includes paying attention to their sleeping habits. Dogs can suffer from a variety of sleep complaints. Warning signs can include regular whining throughout the sleep cycle, frequent crying while sleeping, as well as waking up and falling asleep again during regular sleep periods.
Dogs that are suffering from chronic sleep disorders often are not as alert as usual during the day- and display fading energy levels as the day goes on. They can also seem to struggle or become disorientated when performing tasks that were once routine. Lack of undisturbed sleep can also cause canines to become short-tempered or aggressive – and display a variety of other abnormal behaviors.
They Stop Breathing in Their Sleep
Among the more common issues that will affect a dog’s quality of sleep include Sleep Apnea. This is relatively rare but can affect flat-faced dogs (for example Bulldogs), especially if they are obese.
In cases like these, the abnormal internal fat levels may affect the airways causing a temporary blockage of airflow which will jolt the dog awake. Dogs with Sleep Apnea will often snore loudly and constantly.
A new weight loss diet and steam humidifiers can help. In severe cases, surgery may be required. If the snoring continues for a long period of time then consult your vet as Sleep Apnea can be extremely dangerous if left untreated.
Sleep Comes On Very Fast Without Any Notice
Narcolepsy normally affects younger dogs, primarily Doberman Pinschers, Labradors, and Poodles. It is caused by a genetic disorder that can cause the dog to suddenly fall to its side fast asleep. It is caused by low levels of a chemical called hypocretin which is responsible for maintaining alertness and regulating sleep cycles.
Narcolepsy is not usually life-threatening, however, it cannot be cured. One approach to reducing instances of narcolepsy is to use a soothing tone of voice and gentle petting prior to bedtime. In severe cases, medication related to the prevention of hyperactivity can provide some relief.
Erratic sleep patterns can lead to insomnia. This is usually because the dog is in pain (arthritis is a major cause). Parasites like fleas can also cause uncomfortable itching causing the dog to wake, as can urinary tract problems caused by kidney disease or diabetes.
Treating a Sleep Disorder in Your Dog
There are several strategies that pet owners can employ to reduce insomnia, including scheduling exercise for later in the day and making use of increasing physical activity during the day, increasing the comfort levels of the sleeping area, and even using aromatherapy humidifiers with lavender and chamomile scents. Breathing or sinus problems when canines are sick can also lead to poor sleep and if it becomes regular can contribute to insomnia.
If your dog seems like they are catching colds often, either seasonally or year round, ensure you have sinus medicine specifically for dogs on hand or nasal decongestant.
If you notice that your dog is twitching or appears to be chasing prey in its sleep this is probably normal behavior. However, it can reach abnormal levels due to REM Behavior Disorder.
This can cause dogs to injure themselves by running into stationary objects or attacking these objects. A medication called clonazepam will reduce physical activity during sleep.
The first step to ensuring that your dog enjoys a restful night’s sleep is to ensure that there is no clinical issue affecting the quality of rest. If you spot any of the above signs, then consult your vet as soon as possible.