Dog Daycare and Sleep
With many people sharing articles and photos from a Dog Daycare in Korea this week and some comments being shared about welfare concerns surrounding staged photos such as those. I really wanted to address an issue I see over and over again. When dogs attend daycare rarely is sleep discussed. Yes, I did say sleep!
As an adult dog needs around 14-16 hours of sleep a day and being polyphasic sleepers (they do not sleep all the way through the night) they need plenty of opportunities to rest throughout the day. When I see dogs for behavioural issues, it is frequently an issue raised that the dog is in fact sleep deprived. I don’t know about you, but I am useless when I am tired.
Key signs of sleep deprivation in dogs
Phase 1: Restlessness and over-excitement
Phase 2: Lack of concentration, poor motor behaviour
Phase 3: Nervousness and irritability
Phase 4: Reactivity and ill-health
Phase 5: Serious and/or chronic disease
When choosing a Daycare for your puppy or dog, in addition to whether they are licensed, for how many and what they do if a dog does something they like or something they don’t like, where and how often they sleep is a vitally important question to ask.
Many say there are places the dogs can take themselves to to rest if they want to, but rarely do they use it. Others have a routine of play time, nap time, enrichment, walks etc.
Whilst it may seem like a good idea to have them running around all day, in the hope they will be exhausted in the evening, I can honestly tell you that this takes its toll and often results in issues, if not seen in the short term, they come out in the long term, just like long term sleep deprivation in humans too.
When I saw photos shared by a Daycare local to us showing their sleep set up I jumped for joy and had to share. There are two ‘Home Daycares’ close to us I frequently recommend, not only are the providers constantly keeping up to date with their Continued Professional Development and have all attended our Dog Body Language Seminars (if you are a dog guardian, walker or daycare provider this is available online now here) but they both heavily focus on making sure the dogs in their care rest during the day and even more importantly have a selection of surfaces to choose from to do this all important sleeping on.
Have sleep and a choice of surfaces at the forefront of your thoughts when choosing a daycare. It really will make all the difference.
A Selection of Surfaces
Giving dogs a selection of beds or surfaces to sleep on that don’t inhibit their ability to stretch out is vital in preventing long term muscular skeletal damage. If your dog likes to curl up make sure in addition to a circular donut bed they have access to flat open surfaces to stretch out on too. As shown here at Noah’s Bark Doggy Daycare, every dog likes to choose a different position to lay in.
A Selection of Surfaces
Whether you encourage your dogs to sleep on the sofa, bed or anywhere else it is so important to make sure they have the option to prop their heads or necks up or stretch them out too. As shown here at Don’t Forget the Goldfish. By placing a throw or blanket on the chair you can help make it clear when your dog can go on the chair or not too. Keeping all the family happy.
To help encourage more Daycare’s to promote sleep and more guardians to embrace giving choice to their dogs’ as to how and where they sleep, why not help spread the word, share your photos of your dogs at home or daycare sleeping in the places they love to on Instagram follow us @believeinmagic.dog and use the #ohmydognaptime we would love to see your dogs favourite position, type of bed or place to nap.
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