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Why do dogs sleep with their eyes open?

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If you’re a dog owner, it’s highly probable that you let your adult dog or puppy sleep in the bed with you.

In fact, according to a recent poll run by People magazine – approximately 75 percent of dog owners can be found at night cuddled up with their four-legged friends.

It’s certainly comforting to have a dog sleeping next up to you at night, and your pup can be a great source of warmth and comfort. 

While you’re snuggled up to your dog – because we know that you do – you might notice that your companion looks like they’re sleeping with their eyes open.

It can be a little disconcerting to see your dog sleep with its eyes open; but rest assured, it’s quite common for your puppy or adult dog to occasionally do so during the various sleep cycles they go through during the night.

We promise they aren’t watching to see when they can steal your pillow, or to confirm with your partner that you do actually snore! 

Do dogs sleep with their eyes open?

 

Most dogs, on average, sleep approximately 12 to 14 hours a day. That number, of course, varies in terms of the dog’s age – with older dogs and young puppies needing a bit more – whether your dog has had a lot of exercise that day, or can even depend on the breed of dog.

During sleep, dogs go through different sleep cycles just like humans. So, when your dog is in very deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and if they are dreaming, you may just see their eyes flicker open once in a while as they chase those bunnies and squirrels around in their dreams.

Dog dreaming of three scenes: a cat, a sweeper and a postman

 

So dogs do sleep with their eyes open – it’s perfectly normal. 

Now, if your dog has just been to the vet for a procedure, and they’re sleeping with their eyes open after surgery and anesthesia, you should carefully monitor your dog, to make sure they are making a good recovery.

It is somewhat common for dogs to sleep with their eyes open after anesthesia, and sometimes your vet will provide you with ointment or drops to keep their eyes moist during this time. 

Why do dogs sleep with their eyes open?

 

White dog of the bichon breed sleeping with one eye open

For some dogs that were originally bred to be hunters, such as Great Danes or Beagles, sleeping with their eyes open is a natural reaction to being “on guard” or ready to hunt, or to be wary of intruders at a moment’s notice, answering the question: Can dogs sleep with their eyes open? 

In other breeds that have more bulgy or prominent eyes, such as French bulldogs or Pugs, their eyes may appear open while they’re sleeping, but in reality, these dogs have an additional inner eyelid that is somewhat translucent and is actually covering the eye itself for protection while they sleep.

Bulldog dog lying down opening his eyelids

 

So, if you’re among the three-quarters of North Americans that admit to sleeping with their dogs in bed at night – we KNOW you are! – then rest assured, if you wake in the middle of the night and see your dog’s eyes open, they aren’t planning to steal your blankets because dogs can actually sleep with their eyes open! 

Most, if not all, dogs do have occasions during their regular sleep patterns when their eyes flicker open.

Of course, if you notice that your dog’s eyes are open too regularly while sleeping and are concerned about their eye health, then make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Otherwise, cuddle up to your four-legged friend and enjoy their company as you sleep at night on your favorite Polysleep’s mattress.

 

Dog lying on the Polysleep mattress and ready to sleep

Order our ideal mattress for your dog !

 


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