How do dogs sleep?

In Emotional Support Animal by Emotional Pet Support TeamLeave a Comment

Dogs are loyal friends of humans and having a pet as your friend relieves stress. But knowing ins and outs of having pets is equally significant. If you are a canine lover and have a dog, then you might have observed that dogs sleep in varying postures and moan during sleep. You might have thought about it and maybe you are curious to know. Then in this article, you will go through the sleeping habits of dogs, especially how they sleep and what does it mean when they groan/whimper in sleep. 

Three interesting facts about sleeping dogs

Before moving further about dog sleep, I would like to share three interesting facts about dog’s sleep. 

  1. Dog sleep too much; almost 14-16 hours a day and you can say they spend half their life sleeping. 
  2. Let sleeping dogs lie; do not awake a sleeping dog because it may get irritated. 
  3. Older and younger dogs dream more than middle-aged dogs. 

Sleeping Behaviors of the dogs

You can get the idea of a dog’s sleep from the behavior and posture when it is napping. Sleep is as important for dogs as for humans. Even the sleep of hunting dogs is deeper than humans and they go in REM state in almost 10 minutes while humans take more than 70-90 minutes for it. The following list of behaviors will give you an idea about the quality of sleep of your dog. 

  • Dogs circle their sleeping area before lying down for sleep or sometimes they dig a bit. It is an evolutionary habit or an instinct of dogs. 
  • Dogs also run in circles around the place of sleeping before lying down. It is normal behavior but your dog is doing it too much that is abnormal than usual behavior, then it is time to consult a vet. 
  • Light dozing is another sign of sleepy dogs. If a dog is getting bored or resting then it is tired and wants something pleasurable to enjoy. In other words, a dog is not sleeping rather dozing only either due to boredom or tiredness. 
  • Dogs dream more than humans when they are in a REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. It is the deepest stage of sleep and very helpful for healing and repairing the body. 
  • If you have ever observed a sleeping dog, you might have observed twitching of the body, groans, soft barks, and jerks. Yes, wagging tails, kicking legs, grunts, and twitching are normal things of a dog’s sleep. When a dog is in this stage, it is enjoying a sound sleep that is restorative for its health. You should let your dog lie when it is in this condition and no one knows the reasons behind this behavior of dogs. (Note: Sometimes the body of dogs twitch due to cold and it needs warming up). 
  • Sometimes, your dog is showing signs of distress during sleep. It may be due to any type of nightmare, or some sort of pain. Yes, dogs also can have nightmares like humans. If you see signs of distress and agitation, try to pat your dog gently and pacify them. Use smooth tones to calm down. 

What if a dog moans during sleeping?

The sleep cycles of the dogs are like that of humans but a bit different yet. Human sleep sounds for longer hours while dogs sleep in periods and can attain a state of deep sleep quickly. Another interesting thing is that as dogs sleep quickly, they awake quickly as well. Even a small disturbance is enough to awake them from a deep sleep. It is their evolutionary instinct to stay alert. Moaning, groaning, grunting, and sighing are among the normal expressions of the dog but unusual moaning can be an alarm of a grave situation in case of pain or a sort of distress. If you are traveling with your dog when he/she moans, then you should be careful. 

Sometimes unusual moaning during sleep is the sign of health problems. Three health problems are listed here. 

  • Osteoarthritis that is called joint pain
  • Panosteitis also known as growing pains
  • Ascites

But this is not the situation always. Dogs moan, whimper, bark, and cry during sleep. Do not try to awake your dog. It is fine and dreaming. Yes! These signs are of dreaming. 

When dogs sleep many electrical activities occur in their brain just like that occur in the human brain. During the deep sleep, you will see that the eyelids of a dog are moving quickly. It is a sign that your dog is dreaming about what went on that day. The dreams of a dog are mostly about its fun activities and daily exciting experiences. 

Such vocalizations are also a notion that your dog is trying to grab your attention by whimpering and moaning


By taking care of your dog and moderating the signs of its usual sleep, you can easily feel anything wrong. Moaning during sleep is normal for dogs but if you are a pet expert then you will know when something goes wrong and unusual. Puppies are cute when they are sleeping. Do not disturb them and let them lie. 

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