Sleeping, resting, and everything in between.
Another subject which is close to my heart and of great interest to me, so here just a short blog to give you something to think about.
The lack of sleep and rest can have devastating effects on a dogs mind and physical body.
Behaviour and health problems often stem from just that, it also is a lot more common than thought.
Many dog owners are under the impression that by being in close proximity with their dogs 24 -7 is being kind, because dogs are social and seek company. Ideally they want their dogs to be their buddy’s, go running, go biking, go climbing, go shopping by dragging them through towns, visiting dog parks, taking them to work, visiting friends and family, going on holidays, doing agility, fly ball and so on and on.
It really means that dog owners are planning their day and squeeze as much into it as possible.
By all means, all these things are wonderful, but it needs to be understood that everything should be in moderation, and build around the needs of the dogs, not just around the dog’s owners.
'Hey ... ' I hear you say : 'We love our dogs, they are family and all we are doing is keeping them mentally active, and anyway, leaving dogs alone is not good for them.'
Yes I hear you, and you are not entirely wrong, but this thought pattern is a little misguided. Dogs can get mentally totally overstimulated, and still are not able to rest when having the chance when back home. What is happening, is that often dogs do not have any choice at all; they hardly have the time to make their own decision to take a break from their two-legged pack members, especially small very active children, never mind make the choice to rest and sleep.
Dogs can sleep and laze about between 17 and 20 hours per day, puppies and old-timers even more . But how are they able to get this so important sleep, when there are so many activities planned for them. Often day care is also in the equation, and depending on the facility it can mean hours of play.
Of course I am not against these services, there are some wonderful places out there, where the well-being of the dogs are made priority.
When overtired, dog’s brains are not able to compute properly, they get out of sync with their surroundings, can get aggressive, hyperactive, and lose concentration and often develop unwanted behaviours.
Extreme mental and physical stimulation, so for instance extreme sports, but also a constantly loud and active environment can be very stressful for dogs. It might be enjoyable at the time, but definitely stressful. It can take up to 3 days for a dog to recuperate and get that inner calm.
Also not getting enough sleep and rest can have a knock on effect on the immune system and weakens it, which will have consequences on the whole body. Due to immune suppression dogs are not able to fight of infections and diseases. So as you can see, it is imperative to minimize stress in dogs, otherwise small health issues might become a bigger problem.
The old saying ‘Let sleeping dogs lie‘ , hits the nail on the head.