Sleep Duration and Behaviours: A Descriptive Analysis of a Cohort of Dogs up to 12 Months of Age

Animals (Basel). 2020 Jul 10;10(7):1172. doi: 10.3390/ani10071172.

Abstract

Sleep is a vital behaviour that can reflect an animal's adaptation to the environment and their welfare. However, a better understanding of normal age-specific sleep patterns is crucial. This study aims to provide population norms and descriptions of sleep-related behaviours for 16-week-old puppies and 12-month-old dogs living in domestic environments. Participants recruited to a longitudinal study answered questions relating to their dogs' sleep behaviours in surveys issued to them when their dogs reached 16 weeks (n = 2332) and 12 months of age (n = 1091). For the statistical analysis, subpopulations of dogs with data regarding sleep duration at both timepoints were used. Owners of 16-week-old puppies perceived their dogs to sleep longer during the day and over a 24 h period, but for less time during the night than owners of 12-month-old dogs. At both timepoints, dogs were most commonly settled to sleep by being left in a room/area without human company. However, of dogs that had access to people overnight, 86.7% and 86.8% chose to be around people at 16 weeks and 12 months of age, respectively. The most common sleeping place was in a kennel/crate at 16 weeks (49.1%), and a dog bed at 12 months (31.7%). Future research within this longitudinal study will investigate how sleep duration and behaviours change with age and impact on a dog's health and behaviour.

Keywords: co-sleeping; companion animals; dogs; human–animal interaction; sleep; sleep behaviours; sleep duration; sleep habits; sleeping positions.

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