Did you know that dogs need more than a good night’s sleep? Where most people need eight hours sleep to function properly, our furry companions need more. They need at least 10 to 13 hours sleep. So, when your dog doses off for a couple of hours during the day, in addition to sleeping at night, it is getting enough sleep.
On the other hand, if your dog is not getting enough sleep, you might notice a deterioration in its behavior, being quite grumpy, just like us when we don’t get enough sleep. Dogs who don’t sleep enough may make moaning sounds and generally appear dopy during the day. Sleep deprivation is a serious problem because it causes an elevated release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to all sorts of health problems. In addition, like with people, a lack of sleep compromises the immune system putting your dog at risk for infections.
Problems that may interfere with your dog’s sleep
- REM Behavior Disorder
We are not talking here about a dog that seems to be chasing after some prey while it’s sleeping. One often observes that with dogs. No, this disorder causes actual physical movement in the form of violent motor activity, howling, barking, growling, chewing or biting. These behaviors occur during sleep at night and during naps in the day. The way the dog behaves is completely unrelated to what is happening in the environment, in other words, the dog is hallucinating. Treatment with a medication called clonazepam is used to reduce physical activity during sleep.
- Sleep apnea
Loud snoring may be an indication that your dog is suffering from sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, sleep is constantly interrupted by a cessation of breathing. Sleep apnea can be caused by allergies, being overweight, and obstructions like fat in the dog’s airway and nasal passages, or abnormal respiratory structures. Certain dog breeds are especially prone to this disorder; they include flat-nosed breeds like Pugs, English Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers.
Because the dog’s sleep is constantly interrupted, it doesn’t get proper rest and may appear tired during the day. Veterinarians usually treat the condition with diets for weight loss and surgery.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition and must be treated.
Narcolepsy is caused by low levels of the chemical messenger neuropeptide in the brain. This chemical is responsible for alertness and it influences sleep patterns. When these levels are low, it can cause sudden episodes of sleepiness, which is called narcolepsy. Narcolepsy in dogs goes hand in hand with cataplexy, or sudden muscle weakness.
A dog usually experiences an attack when they are overstimulated. In its excitement, the dog may suddenly topple over and fall asleep. Narcolepsy is characterized by three stages: during the first stage, the dog’s muscles are paralyzed but the brain experience waking EEG; during the second stage, the brain goes into REM sleep, and during the third stage, EEG is normal. A narcolepsy episode is usually short, but can return if the dog keeps being stimulated.
The condition is rare and not serious. Your dog may just be inactive afterward. Some breeds like Doberman Pinschers and Labradors are more prone to the condition.
Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from insomnia, however, it seldom happens. Insomnia in dogs can be caused by a lack of physical activity, which can be resolved by making sure your dog gets enough exercise during the day. Insomnia can also be caused by stress and anxiety, for instance, when the family has moved to a new residence or a family member suddenly is absent. It’s not uncommon for older dogs to experience insomnia, and it’s usually a symptom of an age-related medical problem, like pain from arthritis. Health conditions like hyperthyroidism and urinary tract infections can also interfere with a dog’s sleep.
Dementia in dogs has only recently emerged, ironically because people take better care of their dogs, and as a consequence, they live longer and can develop dementia. Dog Dementia or Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) affects elderly dogs and can be very distressing for dogs and owners.
The onset of the symptoms of dementia may be gradual so that by the time you realize something is wrong, the condition is usually far advanced. Signs that will indicate your dog is suffering from dementia:
- Pacing back and forth
- Turning in circles, often continuously in one direction
- Staring into space or walls
- Loss of body awareness
- Walking into corners or other tight spaces and not being able to get out again
- Appearing lost or confused
- Waiting at the “hinge” side of the door to go out
- Staying put when someone approaches
- Forgetting simple everyday routines
- constant growling, whining or moaning
- Aggressive behavior.
Dementia and its symptoms can cause a dog to sleep fitfully.
- Physical setting
Where a dog sleeps can affect the quality of its sleep. Dogs that sleep in a safe place seem to sleep deeper and better. Research shows that dogs that sleep indoors spend 80% of the night fast asleep; for dogs sleeping outdoors, the figure is 70% and 60% for dogs sleeping outdoors in an unfenced area. If your dog is sleeping outside, it might be more alert to all manner of sounds and goings-on, which might account for the fact that it might not be getting enough sleep.
What is CBD and can it help your dog to sleep?
CBD, or cannabidoil, is one of many chemical compounds present in the cannabis plant. CBD has been proven to help with various health conditions in dogs, and it’s through these functions that the compound can help dogs sleep better. Here is how a dose of CBD can help dogs to get a good night’s sleep.
- Reduction of joint pain caused by arthritis
Like humans, some dogs develop arthritis in old age, which can be extremely painful. Younger dogs can also develop joint pain due to a hereditary condition called hip dysplasia. These conditions make it difficult and painful for dogs to move about. Even lying down becomes unbearable for them.
Pain causes discomfort, which makes it impossible to sleep. Veterinarians usually prescribe anti-inflammatory medications like NSAIDs to soothe the pain, but these medications have unwanted side effects. Scientists have discovered that CBD has natural anti-inflammatory properties, which relieve arthritis pain, and many dog owners have started to treat their dogs with CBD for their pain.
The CBD oil for dogs won’t cure your dog’s sleeplessness, but it will alleviate the pain that might be keeping it up.
- Alleviate anxiety
CBD oil can improve sleep by alleviating anxiety. There are many reasons why your dog may feel anxious. Your dog may have separation issues or be troubled by thunderstorms or fireworks going off. Anxiety in dogs may also be age-related. As dogs get older, they can become more anxious as they gradually lose confidence.
If your dog is not sleeping due to anxiety, CBD oil can definitely help. CBD oil is able to relieve anxiety because of its interaction with the endocannabinoid system in the body.
This complex biological system has cannabinoid receptors distributed throughout the central nervous system, the organs and the brain. When endocannabinoid chemicals are ingested through CBD oil, the receptors on the chemicals connect to the cannabinoid receptors in the body and that stimulates the body’s natural ability to create serotonin, which is a natural mood stabilizer.
- Alleviate itchiness due to skin allergies
In addition to its anti-pain and anti-anxiety qualities, CBD can also relieve itchiness due to skin allergies, which can be very troublesome for a dog that’s trying to fall asleep.
Dogs can develop allergic reactions to something in the environment, like dust or to food. Allergies can cause itching and swelling, prompting constant scratching, which can make sleep impossible.
According to a 2012 study on dogs with a chronic skin condition, CBD improved the appearance of the dog’s skin. The skin didn’t seem so inflamed and sore, and the itchiness also improved.
If itchy skin keeps your dog awake, you might consider giving it CBD oil to alleviate its discomfort. Alternatively, you can treat the skin with a topical CBD lotion or cream.
If your dog can’t sleep, it may be because it’s stressed or anxious, or it may be in pain. CBD is known to be effective for these conditions. The cannabinoid’s pain and anxiety-relieving qualities may treat the dog’s underlying condition and, in the process, help it to sleep peacefully.
Seeing that dogs need quite a lot of sleep for optimal health, it’s important to take action if your four-legged family member is not getting enough sleep. With CBD being a natural product with no adverse side effects, it may be a good option to improve your dog’s wellbeing by helping it to sleep better.