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Does your dog have a sleep disorder?

July 25, 2019

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Dogs are active creatures; playing, eating, and “talking”. They also spend a lot of time sleeping; getting around 8 hours of shut-eye at night and dozing-off up to half the day, or more – and for puppies, it can be 18 hours plus![1]

 

 

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Lack of sleep, or poor sleep, can lead to a build-up of stress hormones, warns Happiness Between Tails. It can also result in worrying behavioural changes and even health concerns[1]. Here are a few conditions that could be plaguing your pooch’s sleep.

When not to ‘let sleeping dogs lie’

Get to a vet for a medical diagnosis if you suspect any of these serious conditions:

Doggy narcolepsy

Too much sleep can be a bad thing. This nervous disorder affects mainly younger dogs. If your dog seems to collapse during the day, suddenly, with eyeballs darting about under closed eyelids, has floppy muscles and displays a worrying lack of energy, s/he may have doggy narcolepsy.

Canid insomnia

Too little sleep is definitely a bad thing. This condition is common in older dogs, it often comes and goes and usually indicates some other underlying cause. It is important, however, to obtain an official diagnosis by a vet, as it could also be an indication of several other issues, e.g. eczema, excess parasites (fleas) or arthritis.

Sleep apnoea in hounds

Snoring isn’t only cute, it can point to serious suffering. When it involves sleep apnoea snoring can even end in death! Sleep apnoea affects breeds like bulldogs or pugs, or mixed breed dogs with some DNA from these breeds. These brachycephalic pooches are characterised by their pushed in faces with short, wide skulls[2]. This physiological trait can affect their ability to breathe. Excess fat can narrow the airway and keep your pup up when s/he should be sleeping. It may come and go but it’s not something to ignore[3]. A severe bout of sleep apnoea can kill your pet, so chat to your vet about any snortling and chortling during sleepy time.

Doggie dementia/cognitive dysfunction

If you notice changes in your older dog’s sleeping patterns along with other symptoms like pacing, staring into space, disorientation, unusual vocalisation, or increased introversion[4], chat to your vet advises The Spruce Pets. These subtle signs in seniors could indicate your pet is suffering developmental changes and needs extra support to cope.

Remember that

it’s easy to misdiagnose unless you’re a pet medical professional. Movement in sleep, for example, doesn’t necessarily indicate a disorder – dogs can often be super active in their sleep as PetMD points out. They may twitch, pedal their paws as if they’re running, or move half-closed eyes.[5]  It’s a normal part of dog sleep. “Dogs kick their feet, vocalise and whimper during the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep,” according to Trish Loehr, an animal behaviourist[6]. If you’re in doubt, we think it’s always best to consult a vet if you suspect anything is amiss with your pooch’s sleep patterns or style, and our pet cover helps you pay for it, too.

 

[1] https://happinessbetweentails.com/2018/03/22/my-dogs-snore-and-definitely-dont-have-trouble-sleeping-read-on-for-jimmy-akis-enlightening-post-about-how-some-however-do/amp/#top

[2] https://dogdiscoveries.com/brachycephalic/

[3] https://barkpost.com/discover/dangerous-dog-snores/

[4] https://www.thesprucepets.com/health-problems-in-senior-dogs-1118543

[5] https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/decoding-your-dogs-sleeping-habits

[6] https://loehranimalbehavior.com/about-loehr-animal-behavior/

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