The fact that a dog sleeps with his eyes open does not necessarily imply that the dog is resting badly or that there is some problem. But watch out for other symptoms.
Seeing your dog sleeping with his eyes open can be a little creepy. However, it is something that is seen much more commonly in dogs than in humans, which may lead one to ask why this is so.
In this article, we explain the biological significance of this unusual behavior and give you some information about dog sleep. Addressing and knowing both topics is necessary for the well-being of your four-legged friend.
How is the sleep of dogs?
If you live with a dog, you will surely see him sleeping many hours a day. In fact, dogs require more rest than a human being to be healthy: depending on factors such as the amount of exercise, size or age , the hours of sleep they need vary between 10 and 20.
Although dogs have REM and NREM phases, just like humans, their sleep is lighter . They show it easier to fall asleep, but also to wake up. Your dog’s natural resting rhythm will change throughout his life stages, but living with you will surely lead him to adapt his schedules to yours.
What if my dog sleeps with his eyes open?
If you have seen that your dog sleeps with his eyes open and you are worried, you can rest assured: this is completely normal. This trait comes from his wild ancestors , who had to be moderately vigilant at all hours in case of attacks.
Either way, once you detect this behavior, you need to look into a number of traits. If your dog’s pupils are fixed and dilated and his eyes are wide open, you should consider that he may be having a seizure. If he also starts moaning, howling, shaking or urinating, this possibility is heightened.
If your dog is suffering from any of these attacks, simply clean up the area, so he doesn’t fall off or injure himself with objects around. Right now, you can only wait for it to pass.
It may also be that the sudden moans and movements are due to a nightmare . If so, opt for what suits the pet best – some dogs enjoy being woken up, but others don’t.
What if he rolls his eyes?
This detail is also often a source of concern for owners. The recommendation is the same as the one already presented – you don’t have to worry. It is normal for the dog to turn his eyes when he assumes certain positions during rest, as the skin on his head is stretched and the sclera is exposed.
You may also think that the dog has white eyes. Many times, what is observed when the dog sleeps with his eyes open is his nictitating membrane or third eyelid . This membrane is translucent, which allows the animal to continue perceiving changes in light and, in addition, keeps the eyeball adequately hydrated.
If the dog sleeps with his eyes open, does he sleep well?
Having his eyes open is not necessarily a sign that the dog is not resting well. In fact, it is a mechanism that is activated precisely when the rest is deepest.
Like any animal, if a dog has sleep disturbances, he or she will be more restless and in a worse mood. On the other hand, a correct rest will also affect your temperament: you will be happier, more balanced and active during the day . Plus, this will also make you more likely to learn new things.
Tips for the correct rest of the dog
If you want to improve your dog’s sleep, here are some helpful tips. If you follow them, your pet will be able to enjoy a good rest after each nap:
- Provide physical and mental exercise : Physical activity helps your dog use his energy and sleep well. However, you shouldn’t neglect mental activity, which you can stimulate with workouts, mental challenges or sensory enrichment.
- Avoid Stress : Dogs need a steady, safe and dark place to sleep. While awake, try not to expose your pet to situations that could cause stress or anxiety, as both can harm their sleep.
- Establish a Routine : Just like it might happen to you, disrupting a dog’s sleep routine can alter their health and mood. Also, dogs are animals of habit, so they appreciate routines that are as fixed as possible in their daily life.
- Give him a comfortable doghouse : find the doghouse best suits the needs of your dog. Of course, comfort is directly related to the quality of sleep.
As you can see, the dog’s sleep mechanism and recommendations for proper rest are intuitive, as they are quite similar to those of humans. However, if you have any doubts that your dog can sleep poorly, don’t hesitate to go to the vet.