dogs at rest

Does Your Dog Sleep Like This?

If you’re a dog parent, I’m sure you’ve noticed that your furry family member sleeps. A lot. Which is normal, by the way. Healthy adult dogs spend an average of 12 to 14 hours a day sacked out. Pups, seniors and dogs with health problems often need even more rest.

Since our dogs spend so much time sleeping, we’re familiar with the wide assortment of positions they take, and this goes double if your pet sleeps on your bed, lap or chest. What you might not realize is there’s sometimes an evolutionary force behind your dog’s body language while snoozing. The following is a cheat sheet for interpreting the meaning behind your pet’s sleep positions.

6 Dog Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

  1. Curled up in a ball (aka the donut or fuzzy bagel position) —Dogs often sleep curled up in a tight ball, with their nose touching their tail. Dr. Katherine Houpt, a behavioral medicine professor at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has observed that this is the preferred position for dogs in shelters. “They almost all sleep that way when they’re undisturbed — in balls, curled up,” Houpt told PetMD.1

This sleeping position conserves body heat (which is why we tend to see it more often during the cooler months of the year) and also protects internal organs from predators, which is why dogs in the wild tend to dig nests and curl up in them for both warmth and protection.

  1. On the back (aka crazy legs) —This is probably among the weirdest, yet cutest sleeping position dogs assume. If you find your pup stretched out on his back, with one or both front legs stretched out, he’s exposing his belly, which is a sign of submissiveness and vulnerability.

His willingness to fall asleep in this position means he’s feeling very secure and relaxed in his environment. On the other hand, he could also just be feeling a bit overheated, and exposing his tummy helps cool his body down. Dogs who sleep in this position regularly are typically independent and calm.

  1. The cuddler —Dogs who cuddle up with their humans, or sleep back-to-back with other pets in the household, are remembering their puppy pasts when they napped with their littermates to conserve body heat. If your dog likes to maintain contact with you while she sleeps, she’s showing she trusts you, and the feeling is probably mutual, since surveys indicate that 56% of dog parents sleep next to their dogs.
  2. The belly flop (aka the superman) —This sleep position is adorably funny, because what’s not to love about a dog lying flat on his tummy with his front and back legs extended straight out? Looking down at him, it’s easy to imagine he’s about to belly flop into a pool or fly away to save the day! Dog behavior expert Dr. Stanley Coren believes this position also relates to temperature.

“The fur on the dog’s underside is not as deep and insulating as the fur on the rest of his body,” he tells PetMD. “What you call the ‘Superman position’ — with limbs outstretched and belly against the floor — is also a response to a warm environment, but usually occurs in situations where the surface that the dog is lying on is relatively cooler than the air around him.”

Since it’s easy for dogs to get to their feet in this position, they tend only to use it for catnaps and not for serious snoozing.

  1. Side sleeping —This is the most common position dogs take for sleeping, according to Coren. And that’s a good thing, because when your dog naps lying on her side, it means she’s relaxed and comfortable in her environment. Side sleeping pups also tend to be affectionate and share a close bond with their humans.
  2. The lion pose —The lion pose is similar to the belly flop, with two important distinctions: the back legs are under the haunches instead of pushed out, and the muscles of the body are contracted, preventing deep sleep. Dogs generally get into this position to relieve stress and make themselves more comfortable. It’s often seen in dogs with lots of energy to burn, who don’t feel like sleeping and are waiting for an opportunity to leap into action.

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Other Ways Your Dog’s Sleep Differs From Yours

Beyond sleeping positions, the major difference between human and canine sleep patterns is the amount of time spent in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the most restorative stage of sleep and plays a role in learning and memory. In REM sleep, the brain is active and there may be dreaming. Humans spend about 25% of their night in REM sleep, compared to about 10% for dogs. This means dogs need more total sleep to get adequate restorative sleep.2

While humans tend to do best with a set sleep-wake schedule, dogs are much more flexible, so you needn’t worry about getting your dog to bed on time or up by a certain hour. Generally speaking, dogs follow their natural impulses, including sleeping when they need it, which is why they don’t often sleep for eight-hour stretches.

If it seems your dog can go from deeply asleep to fully alert in the blink of an eye, and in response to even the slightest noise or disruption, it’s not in your head. One Australian study found that during an eight-hour nighttime period, dogs averaged 23 sleep-wake episodes, with the average sleep-wake cycle consisting of 16 minutes asleep followed by five minutes awake.3

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be aware your dog is awake — he’ll likely lie quietly. It also doesn’t mean he’s not getting quality rest, but if he seems especially restless or is unable to find a comfortable position to sleep in, you should have him checked out by your veterinarian to rule out pain or other symptoms or health conditions that could be keeping him awake.

Something I recommend for all pet parents is a grounding mat, which can help balance your dog’s circadian rhythm, particularly if he doesn’t spend much time outdoors. Wild animals are naturally grounded to the earth, which provides numerous benefits due to the transfer of electrons from the ground to their body.

You can also unplug wireless routers at night to give your pet a break from electromagnetic fields (EMFs). For dogs who seem unable to settle down, a grounding mat can be very beneficial.

In addition, be sure to provide a comfortable, adequately sized bed, made from natural materials, in a quiet, cozy spot. Depending on your dog’s favorite sleeping position, you can choose a dog bed to match.

For instance, dogs who sleep curled up may like a round bed with deep sides, whereas side sleepers may prefer a cushioned, flatter surface to spread out on. For belly or back sleepers, an elevated bed may help keep them cool and supported.

Turn off all lights and loud sounds (TVs and radios) when going to bed; this can disrupt your dog’s ability to produce enough melatonin to sleep soundly, but don’t forget to open your blinds and shades in your home the next morning (dogs need access to direct sunlight to produce healthy daytime hormones, too!).

Dogs at rest

Does Your Dog Sleep Like This?

If you’re a dog parent, I’m sure you’ve noticed that your furry family member sleeps. A lot. Which is normal, by the way. Healthy adult dogs spend an average of 12 to 14 hours a day sacked out. Pups, seniors and dogs with health problems often need even more rest.

Since our dogs spend so much time sleeping, we’re familiar with the wide assortment of positions they take, and this goes double if your pet sleeps on your bed, lap or chest. What you might not realize is there’s sometimes an evolutionary force behind your dog’s body language while snoozing. The following is a cheat sheet for interpreting the meaning behind your pet’s sleep positions.

6 Dog Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

  1. Curled up in a ball (aka the donut or fuzzy bagel position) —Dogs often sleep curled up in a tight ball, with their nose touching their tail. Dr. Katherine Houpt, a behavioral medicine professor at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has observed that this is the preferred position for dogs in shelters. “They almost all sleep that way when they’re undisturbed — in balls, curled up,” Houpt told PetMD.1

This sleeping position conserves body heat (which is why we tend to see it more often during the cooler months of the year) and also protects internal organs from predators, which is why dogs in the wild tend to dig nests and curl up in them for both warmth and protection.

  1. On the back (aka crazy legs) —This is probably among the weirdest, yet cutest sleeping position dogs assume. If you find your pup stretched out on his back, with one or both front legs stretched out, he’s exposing his belly, which is a sign of submissiveness and vulnerability.

His willingness to fall asleep in this position means he’s feeling very secure and relaxed in his environment. On the other hand, he could also just be feeling a bit overheated, and exposing his tummy helps cool his body down. Dogs who sleep in this position regularly are typically independent and calm.

  1. The cuddler —Dogs who cuddle up with their humans, or sleep back-to-back with other pets in the household, are remembering their puppy pasts when they napped with their littermates to conserve body heat. If your dog likes to maintain contact with you while she sleeps, she’s showing she trusts you, and the feeling is probably mutual, since surveys indicate that 56% of dog parents sleep next to their dogs.
  2. The belly flop (aka the superman) —This sleep position is adorably funny, because what’s not to love about a dog lying flat on his tummy with his front and back legs extended straight out? Looking down at him, it’s easy to imagine he’s about to belly flop into a pool or fly away to save the day! Dog behavior expert Dr. Stanley Coren believes this position also relates to temperature.

“The fur on the dog’s underside is not as deep and insulating as the fur on the rest of his body,” he tells PetMD. “What you call the ‘Superman position’ — with limbs outstretched and belly against the floor — is also a response to a warm environment, but usually occurs in situations where the surface that the dog is lying on is relatively cooler than the air around him.”

Since it’s easy for dogs to get to their feet in this position, they tend only to use it for catnaps and not for serious snoozing.

  1. Side sleeping —This is the most common position dogs take for sleeping, according to Coren. And that’s a good thing, because when your dog naps lying on her side, it means she’s relaxed and comfortable in her environment. Side sleeping pups also tend to be affectionate and share a close bond with their humans.
  2. The lion pose —The lion pose is similar to the belly flop, with two important distinctions: the back legs are under the haunches instead of pushed out, and the muscles of the body are contracted, preventing deep sleep. Dogs generally get into this position to relieve stress and make themselves more comfortable. It’s often seen in dogs with lots of energy to burn, who don’t feel like sleeping and are waiting for an opportunity to leap into action.

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Other Ways Your Dog’s Sleep Differs From Yours

Beyond sleeping positions, the major difference between human and canine sleep patterns is the amount of time spent in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the most restorative stage of sleep and plays a role in learning and memory. In REM sleep, the brain is active and there may be dreaming. Humans spend about 25% of their night in REM sleep, compared to about 10% for dogs. This means dogs need more total sleep to get adequate restorative sleep.2

While humans tend to do best with a set sleep-wake schedule, dogs are much more flexible, so you needn’t worry about getting your dog to bed on time or up by a certain hour. Generally speaking, dogs follow their natural impulses, including sleeping when they need it, which is why they don’t often sleep for eight-hour stretches.

If it seems your dog can go from deeply asleep to fully alert in the blink of an eye, and in response to even the slightest noise or disruption, it’s not in your head. One Australian study found that during an eight-hour nighttime period, dogs averaged 23 sleep-wake episodes, with the average sleep-wake cycle consisting of 16 minutes asleep followed by five minutes awake.3

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be aware your dog is awake — he’ll likely lie quietly. It also doesn’t mean he’s not getting quality rest, but if he seems especially restless or is unable to find a comfortable position to sleep in, you should have him checked out by your veterinarian to rule out pain or other symptoms or health conditions that could be keeping him awake.

Something I recommend for all pet parents is a grounding mat, which can help balance your dog’s circadian rhythm, particularly if he doesn’t spend much time outdoors. Wild animals are naturally grounded to the earth, which provides numerous benefits due to the transfer of electrons from the ground to their body.

You can also unplug wireless routers at night to give your pet a break from electromagnetic fields (EMFs). For dogs who seem unable to settle down, a grounding mat can be very beneficial.

In addition, be sure to provide a comfortable, adequately sized bed, made from natural materials, in a quiet, cozy spot. Depending on your dog’s favorite sleeping position, you can choose a dog bed to match.

For instance, dogs who sleep curled up may like a round bed with deep sides, whereas side sleepers may prefer a cushioned, flatter surface to spread out on. For belly or back sleepers, an elevated bed may help keep them cool and supported.

Turn off all lights and loud sounds (TVs and radios) when going to bed; this can disrupt your dog’s ability to produce enough melatonin to sleep soundly, but don’t forget to open your blinds and shades in your home the next morning (dogs need access to direct sunlight to produce healthy daytime hormones, too!).

Can I give my dog vegetables?

19 Vegetables dogs can eat

 

 

  1. Cabbage

 

Dogs can definitely eat cabbage, though it might cause a gassy reaction.

It contains vitamins B1, B6, C and K, not to mention tons of phytonutrients. These are antioxidants that improve the overall health of dogs-and humans-who consume them. Red cabbage is also a safe choice for down owners looking to boost their pet’s fiber, manganese, copper and potassium levels.

 

  1. Carrots

 

The ASPCA says carrots are an ideal snack for dogs because they can be eaten raw, are low in calories and don’t create much gas (which dog owners know can be a problem, especially with some veggies). Carrots provide vitamins B, C, D, E and K, not to mention lots of fiber.

 

  1. Cauliflower

 

Cauliflower is safe in small quantities. Like other cruciferous vegetables on our list, it can lead to uncomfortable gas. Best served lightly steamed, cauliflower provides vitamins B, C, and K, and omega-3 fatty acids-all great for the immune system.

 

  1. Celery

 

It feels like celery works overtime to bring good things to our dogs.

Full of vitamins A, B and C, it goes above and beyond to freshen your dog’s breath. Vitamin A helps boost your dog’s vision. (Pro tip: Crunchy veggies help remove tartar from a dog’s teeth!)

 

  1. Cucumbers

 

Ideal for dogs who need to maintain a healthier weight, cucumbers boost energy yet have a low caloric count. Dogs will get an infusion of vitamins B1, C and K when they eat cucumbers, not to mention potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin, according to the American Kennel Club.

 

  1. Beets

 

Many root vegetables are great for healthy coats and digestion in canines. Beets add vitamin C, fiber, folate, manganese and potassium to a meal. They can also help your dog better absorb other nutrients.

 

  1. Broccoli

 

Like cauliflower, broccoli can cause gas. This can be a smelly experience for you and an incredibly uncomfortable experience for your dog. That being said, broccoli delivers vitamins A, C, E and K, not to mention tons of fiber and almost no fat. Be sure to chop well-the stalks can get lodged in your dog’s throat if they’re too big.

 

  1. Brussels Sprouts

 

Brussels sprouts boost immunity (vitamin C) and bone health (vitamin K).

Plus, they provide antioxidants that fight against inflammation. Slowly introduce Brussels sprouts into your dog’s diet to see how they adjust since these can cause gas, too.

 

  1. Butternut Squash

 

If your dog needs foods rich in vitamins A, B6 and C to improve her immune or cardiovascular systems, go for some butternut squash. It’s low in calories, high in nutrients (an ideal combo) and typically gentle on the tummy.

 

  1. Green Beans

 

Another crunchy veggie (when served raw)! Green beans are also safe to serve steamed or canned, as long as they are plain and unsalted. Join your dog in a green bean snack, because you could both benefit from vitamins A, C and K, folic acid and fiber.

 

  1. Kale

 

Kale is a superfood for a reason. It’s known for its ability to boost bone health, vision and immunity. How? Vitamins A and K, the latter of which is a significant source of calcium. Kale also contains iron, the element responsible for healthy red blood cells and blood oxygen levels.

Both butternut squash and kale are included in Ollie’s <https://www.myollie.com/our-food/recipes/> lamb recipe.

 

  1. Parsnips

 

Parsnips aren’t typically the first vegetable we think of when we consider feeding our dog new treats. But, these veggies are full of folic acid (good for the nervous system), potassium and vitamins B6 and C. If your dog has kidney issues, consider adding parsnips into her diet after consulting with your vet.

 

  1. Peas

 

A few peas here and there will add a small dose of fiber and protein to your dog’s diet. These are essential if your dog cannot or will not eat meat products. Ollie includes peas (and sweet potatoes) in their <https://www.myollie.com/our-food/recipes/> beef recipe.

 

  1. Peppers

 

It’s surprising that bell peppers haven’t yet replaced the orange as the poster child for vitamin C. These veggies contain three times as much vitamin C as oranges and make great low-calorie snacks for dogs. Canine Journal suggests  <https://www.caninejournal.com/foods-not-to-feed-dog/>

steaming peppers to soften their exterior skin-and triple checking to make sure you’re not feeding spicy pepper varieties to your pup!

 

  1. Potatoes

 

Dogs can definitely eat potatoes, as long as they are cooked all the way through and served without toppings. (French fries don’t count here,

people.) Raw potatoes contain large quantities of solanine which can be toxic, so it’s recommended to steam and puree or bake a potato before serving it to a canine.

 

  1. Pumpkin

 

Canned pumpkin is often better to serve your dog than raw pumpkin, as it’s easier to digest. Be sure to buy the regular canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin has been known to <https://www.purewow.com/family/can-dogs-eat-pumpkin> help dogs dealing with constipation,and its beta-carotene can boost vision health. Pumpkin seeds are OK to feed to dogs, as long as they are not coated in oils, butter or salt.

 

  1. Sweet Potatoes/Yams

 

Another all-star when it comes to improving digestion! Sweet potatoes have tons of fiber, not to mention vitamins B6 (for brain health) and C.

Like carrots, sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene which improves vision and skin.

 

  1. Spinach

 

Rich in iron and magnesium, spinach can be a terrific addition to a canine diet. Vitamins A, C and E also make this leafy green veggie a winner (plus, it can fight against cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammation).

 

  1. Zucchini

 

Zucchini fortifies your dog’s bones, heart and kidneys with calcium, vitamin A and potassium. As with peppers, try steaming to soften the skin (zucchini is known for retaining its nutrient density even after cooking, unlike some vegetables).

 

 

8 Vegetables Dogs Should Avoid

 

 

  1. Asparagus

 

The AKC says asparagus isn’t toxic to dogs, but it doesn’t offer enough nutrition value to make serving it to them worth it. They could also choke if it’s not chopped or cooked properly.

 

  1. Corn on the cob

 

While many dry dog food brands use corn in their recipes, corn itself doesn’t offer tons of nutritional value to dogs. It’s not toxic, it’s just not remarkable. Corn on the cob, however, is dangerous. It’s a big time choking hazard for canines and shouldn’t be given to them under any circumstances.

 

  1. Garlic

 

Garlic is part of the  <https://www.purewow.com/food/shallots-vs-onions>

allium plant family and contains thiosulfate, an inorganic compound that reacts negatively with dog systems. Eating garlic could lead to anemia, which causes lethargy, weakness and jaundice.

 

  1. Leeks

 

Another allium family member. These plants can cause immediate vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and an upset stomach. If a lot is ingested, a canine’s red blood cells may rupture.

 

  1. Mushrooms

 

While mushrooms we buy at the grocery store are safe for consumption, they aren’t typically appealing to dogs nor do they surpass other veggies in terms of nutritional value. Wild mushrooms should definitely be avoided, as many are poisonous and could cause internal damage and even death.

 

  1. Onions

 

As part of the allium plant family, onions (and chives!) are poisonous to dogs and should never be given to them. If you’re unsure if your dog has ingested leeks, onions, chives or garlic, look for dark yellow urine, a dramatic decline in energy levels, unusual bowel movements and vomiting.

Call your vet immediately!

 

  1. Rhubarb

 

Rhubarb contains oxalates, an organic compound that could lead to kidney stones or nervous system issues in canines. If eaten in large quantities, rhubarb can also decrease the amount of calcium present in your dog’s bones, which is no good.

 

  1. Tomatoes

 

A ripe tomato? Nothing to worry about-just watch your dog for signs of distress. An unripe tomato or the leaves and stem of the tomato plant?

Toxic. These parts of the tomato contain solanine which can cause lethargy, confusion and vomiting.

 

 

How to Prepare Vegetables for Dogs

 

 

Again, you can’t just plop down a salad in front of Luna and call it a day! “Dogs have a shorter digestive tract than their human counterparts, so they have less time to break down raw foods,” says Ollie’s Meadows. “Gently cooking the vegetables will make it easier for them to digest and absorb all the nutrients.”

 

Keep in mind, your dog may still reject a vegetable even if it’s cooked, pureed, chopped or mixed into their regular kibble. This is OK. Vegetables are meant to supplement a dog’s diet. If your dog turns their nose up at one veggie, try another! If it seems like your dog has lost interest in any food, or won’t eat a prescribed diet, consult your vet. There could be other issues going on.

 

Some breeds are more susceptible to upset stomachs and gastrointestinal issues than others. If you have a Great Dane, an Akita or a Doberman, you may run into more issues with digesting new foods. Plus, larger breeds are <https://www.purewow.com/family/whether-or-not-to-elevate-dog-food-bowl>

more likely to develop bloat, a condition that could be worsened by introducing cruciferous vegetables into their diets.

 

Follow these preparation guidelines when feeding your dog vegetables:

 

Introduce it slowly

 

“When adding new foods to your dog’s diet, it is recommended to do so slowly,” adds Meadows. “A small amount… might be a good place to start, while keeping an eye out for any adverse reactions like gas or diarrhea.

Over time, you can increase the amount, and variety, until you find the optimum level for your dog’s particular tastes and digestion.”

 

Cut, chop or mince

 

Be sure to serve bite-sized, easy-to-chew vegetable pieces to your dog.

Otherwise, you could be inadvertently serving your dog a choking hazard.

 

Serve plain

 

Do not slather vegetables in spices, oils, sauces or anything else you think will make it “taste better” to your dog. Humans might need seasoning to down a head of broccoli, but dogs do not. Even sauteeing veggies in butter or adding salt can ruin the nutritional value of a vegetable and even cause harm to your pup.

 

Steam

 

Steaming vegetables, without submerging them completely in water, softens them and makes them easier for your dog to chew, swallow and digest. It also preserves most of the nutrients, as long as you don’t overcook.

Steaming also makes it easier to mix vegetables into familiar foods.

 

Blanche

 

Not only does blanching clean vegetables, but it also enhances flavor and makes it easier for dogs to chew the food. Submerge vegetables in boiling water and then move them to ice water to stop them from cooking too much.

Voila!

 

Puree

 

A pureed vegetable is super easy on a dog’s digestive tract. Especially if softened with steaming before pureeing, tough veggies like pumpkin, carrot and cauliflower will be more palatable to your pup. This is also an excellent way to combine several veggies into one meal-especially if you want to trick your dog into eating bell peppers (for the vitamin C) but they prefer pumpkin. Combine the two in one smooth dish.

 

When in doubt, go through a premium, human-grade dog food service like Ollie or The Farmer’s Dog. These companies use science and veterinary expertise to determine the best diet for your dog. They take into account your pet’s breed, activity level, age and more to ensure she’s getting the best diet possible. Plus, they take the guesswork out of preparing the correct ratio of protein to plant.