Development of a non-invasive polysomnography technique for dogs (Canis familiaris)

Physiol Behav. 2014 May 10:130:149-56. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.04.004. Epub 2014 Apr 12.


Recently dogs (Canis familiaris) have been demonstrated to be a promising model species for studying human behavior as they have adapted to the human niche and developed human-like socio-cognitive skills. Research on dog behavior, however, has so far almost exclusively focused on awake functioning. Here we present a self-developed non-invasive canine polysomnography method that can easily be applied to naive pet dogs. N=22 adult pet dogs (with their owners present) and N=12 adult humans participated in Study I. From these subjects, N=7 dogs returned on two more occasions for Study II. In Study I, we give a descriptive analysis of the sleep electroencephalogram of the dog and compare it to human data. In order to validate our canine polysomnography method in Study II, we compare the sleep macrostructure and the EEG spectrum of dogs after a behaviorally active day without sleep versus passive day with sleep. In Study I, we found that dogs' sleep EEG resembled that of human subjects and was generally in accordance with previous literature using invasive technology. In Study II, we show that similarly to previous results on humans daytime load of novel experiences and sleep deprivation affects the macrostructural and spectral aspects of subsequent sleep. Our results validate the family dog as a model species for studying the effects of pre-sleep activities on the EEG pattern under natural conditions and, thus, broaden the perspectives of the rapidly growing fields of canine cognition and sleep research.

Keywords: Canis familiaris; Day-time experience; Dog; Polysomnography; Sleep deprivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Dogs / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polysomnography / methods*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology
  • Species Specificity
  • Young Adult