We all know how important a good night’s sleep is for humans, but it’s just as important for dogs to get enough sleep. The major function of sleep is to increase behavioral efficiency which means a dog needs adequate sleep to be on its best behavior. A good night’s sleep is even more important for dogs in a shelter setting because it can impact their chances of being adopted. Read below for more reasons why sleep is so important for dogs.
Generally, sleep allows dogs to recuperate from the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisone, helping them to be on their best behavior the next day. You may have heard of the term REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, also known as active sleep, and may have seen your own dog experience REM sleep, as their eyes flickered or paws twitched.
REM sleep also is known as active sleep because it’s the time a dog’s brain is most active during the sleep cycle. This type of sleep helps a dog’s body repair and regrow tissues as well as build bone and muscle. The release of melatonin during REM sleep also helps strengthen a dog’s immune system.
However, noises will frequently awaken dogs if they are on “guard duty” which, in shelters, is very often. They also may sleep lighter throughout the day if there is a lot of stimulation around them or if they feel unsafe. This lack of sleep can have a negative impact on a dog’s behavior, which in turn can lower their chances of being adopted.
At the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, our team strives to give our animals the best environment possible in order to enhance their adoptability. We are currently researching ways to reduce the noise level in our kennel areas, and also have been implementing strategies to lower stress such as in-kennel enrichment via toys and music.
We also promote “respite” fostering, or fostering for a long weekend to give dogs some “out of shelter” time. If you would be interested in fostering in this capacity, please contact Samantha Threadgill at SThreadgill@HSNEGA.org.
As far as your own pups, let them sleep, sleep, sleep and you’ll have a good dog!
Written by Leah Hodges, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern