While we may not always be mindful of it, dogs have similar issues as us humans. They may not have quarrels with their significant other about how to furnish their bedroom, or complain about somebody who cut them off on the way to work, but there are some commonalities nevertheless, such as doggy insomnia, for example. If you know how it feels to lay in bed restless and not be able to fall asleep quickly, you can probably relate to how your pup feels when they don’t get enough exercise. Dogs need mental and physical stimulation every day to stay happy and healthy. If they don’t, you’ll likely notice a change in their behavior and overall personality, which directly affects your interactions with them. Make sure you’re giving your furry friend the exercise they need to get a restful night of sleep -- or else you’ll probably have an antsy, unsettled pup to take care of at night.
Dogs Need Plenty Of Sleep
It’s common knowledge that cats are big time sleepers, but dogs surprisingly need about the same amount of sleep as cats do. The exact number varies depending on the dog’s age and size, but they generally need more sleep than you’d probably guess.
- Puppies: 12-18 hours
- Adults: 14 hours
- Large Adults Dogs: Up to 18 hours
- Seniors: 18+ hours
Dogs should have their own designated sleeping space so they know it’s time for shut eye whenever they approach their dog bed (similar to humans and their mattresses). Chihuahuas prefer a smaller bed where they can feel cozy and secure, while dogs like golden retrievers who are more prone to back pain might love a memory foam dog bed. Back pain can hold a dog back from play time in the same way you’re restricted when you have back pain. If you’re waking up with pain in your upper or lower back and it’s stopping you from going outside with your pet,deal it might be time to invest in a mattress designed to alleviate back pain. Not only will you likely start to feel better, but your dog will appreciate it too.
Play Time Requirements For Your Pup
All dogs need a healthy balance of sleep and exercise in their life, just as humans do. Interestingly enough, the most common cause of pup insomnia is bottled-up energy due to lack of exercise. The amount of exercise your animal needs depends heavily on their breed, size, age, and health. In a perfect world, your dog should be getting about two hours of exercise each day. If you have a bigger dog breed with high energy like a Border Collie or Belgian Malinois, they’ll need even more than that.
However, we realize this isn’t always possible. As such, we recommend your dog should get 30 minutes of exercise per day at the very least. Take them for a walk around the block, let them go for a swim, or spend half an hour playing fetch with a flying disk toy to get them running around. There are tons of other ways to get your dog engaged in physical activity -- just make sure you get their heart rate going for a half-hour or more.
Signs You Aren’t Exercising Your Dog Enough
There are only a few things dogs love in this life, and exercise is in the top three -- right next to you and food. Your dog always shows you signs when he’s needy or hungry, and he’ll do the same when he isn’t getting enough physical activity.
More Aggressive Play - If you have other dogs or animals, you might notice your dog playing a little rougher with them than usual when he or she has pent-up energy. They might even be a little more ornery with you. This could be a sign they have pent-up energy they don’t know what to do with.
Bad Behavior - Sure, our pets get into the garbage every once in a while after a delicious dinner -- and it can be pretty annoying. If your dog needs more exercise, however, those annoying and trouble-making things your dog does could be kicked up a few notches if they have too much energy.
Restlessness - Is your dog running around your backyard and house, or constantly pacing back and forth? Again, this is a big tell they’re trying to get some kind of stimulation.
Sluggish Attitude - On the other side of the coin, a lack of exercise can lead your dog to depression since they require a lot of movement for their physical and mental health. This results in a lethargic, tired looking dog who you probably don’t recognize.
Weight Gain - What happens when you hibernate in your house and eat a lot of junk food without getting exercise? You’re probably going to gain a bit of weight. The same logic applies to your pet.
If your pup is showing you any of these signs and they’re out of the norm, odds are, he or she is in dire need of some play time. The more exercise you give your dog, the less likely they’re going to chew on your shoes or dig endless holes in the backyard.
Tips For When You Leave Your Dog Alone
There will be times, inevitably, when you’ll be gone all day and you won’t be able to take your dog out for his daily exercise. Whether you’re on a day-trip or putting in extra hours at work, you’ll still want to make sure your dog or dogs are taken care of. When folks are gone all day and their dog has no means of stimulation, they sleep. So when you finally come home and you’re ready to hit-the-hay, they’ll be wired and ready to play.
Ideally, you should put your pet in a doggy day care if you’ll be gone for a long period. He’ll have the chance to interact with other dogs, and he’ll get tons of exercise without you having to do any work. Of course, we recognize this option isn’t accessible to everyone -- so you do have other options if need be.
If you have more than one dog, leave a tug of war toy out for them so your pups can go at it as long as their hearts desire, and they can tire themselves out in the process.
You can also buy your dog a toy with a treat hidden inside, which is great for mentally stimulating dogs. If you can’t bring them outside for physical activity, at least they can have a way to keep their mind occupied (and not just focus on when you’ll be getting back).