Dog Sleep Cycle: REM Sleep in Dogs

by Vivvy A
Golden Retriever Sleeping on Couch

Dogs need more sleep as they age because their health and energy level deteriorates. This is a reason why some dogs sleep so much. They need to rest their joints and muscles. It’s ok for them to sleep 12-14 hours per day.

If your dog is super active, still plays with you every day, and gives you the same response when you stimulate him, then he is likely doing great. Don’t be concerned if your dog spends a lot of time sleeping. It’s vital that your dog gets his rest.

SWS is Slow-wave Sleep or Deep Sleep, and REM is Rapid Eye Movement. During REM, the brain is active, but the body feels paralyzed. Dogs and cats wake up very quickly and need more sleep than humans to complete their full sleep cycles.

Beagle Dog Sleeping

REM in Dogs

Our sleep cycle from SWS to REM is long and drawn out. This cycle happens more quickly for dogs and depends on the breed. Dogs enter REM sleep about 20 minutes into their sleep and might stay there for 2 or 3 minutes. If you watch your dogs while they sleep, you might even see their eyes twitching involuntarily after they have entered REM sleep.

During REM sleep cycle, your dog can possibly dream about experiences that they had during the day. During this stage, your dog may have muscle twitches, and you might feel the need to wake your dog, but that may not be a great idea because touching your dog when he is dreaming may frighten him and cause him to bite or scratch you involuntarily.

Some dogs may whimper or give off a low woof when they are at this stage of their sleep cycle, and that’s because the part of their brain which dampens muscular activity in sleep is less well-developed.

Is your dog sleeping about the same amount of hours he is used to or longer? Has anything changed with his sleeping? If you notice a significant change all of a sudden. Like your dog who didn’t sleep as much suddenly sleeps all day.


Speak with your Vet if you see anything out of the ordinary.

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