A new study using a wearable sensor to track dogs’ activities provides new insight into the average dog’s day. The results may surprise you.
Dogs sleep less than you think.
Experts commonly report that dogs sleep an average or 14 hours a day, with some reporting 16 or more hours of sleep per day. That may not be entirely accurate. A new study using a wearable sensor, Vetrax, finds that on average dogs sleep about 10.4 hours per day. That sleep time is as important for dogs as it is for humans. Not only do dogs dream, but sleep may help them learn. Sleep researchers have studied the sleep patterns of dogs learning a new language. These dogs were taught commands in a foreign language. Scans of their brains during three-hour naps demonstrated that these dogs experienced what are known as sleep spindles, or brief bursts of activity during slow-wave sleep that are linked in humans to learning, intelligence, memory, and healthy aging. The number of sleep spindles experienced by the dogs was correlated to how well they learned the foreign commands.
Dogs rest more than you think.
The Vetrax study showed that dogs spend a lot of time just chilling: 9 hours per day. Yes, dogs are sedentary creatures.
Dogs spend less time than you think walking and running.
On average, the Vetrax dogs spent about 68 minutes a day walking and only five minutes a day running!
Dogs benefit from exercise with you.
Of course, the activity level of dogs varies by breed and life phase. But one of the messages from this study is that your dog will not move much during the day if you leave her to her own devices. Dogs need exercise, and a sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity and disease in dogs, just as it does in humans. Find an exercise that you both enjoy, or train your dog in a new sport. Both of you will benefit, and the interaction will make your dog’s day a better one.