Why Dogs Sleep With Their Eyes Open (What to Do About It)

Thanks for stopping by to read why dogs sleep with their eyes open. Dogs sleep a lot more than we do, right? They need to catch more zzz’s, but most of the time, they’re just dosing.

Like humans, our furry-friends process daytime events in their dreams, often putting themselves in strange postures and moving their eyes and legs. Although their sleeping habits are different from ours, they can have disturbing dreams or make weird faces while sleeping with their eyes open.

Have you observed your pup sleeping in a funny position that seems to be uncomfortable? Or, you notice your dog rolls its eyes when sleeping or moves its paws?

The main difference between the sleeping behavior of dogs and humans is the intensity of sleep. However, the one thing we have in common with our pet is the different sleep phases, such as light and deep sleep.

Although dogs have REM phases and light phases, just like humans, their sleep is more sensitive. Also, canines need to sleep more hours than we do.

They can fall asleep in seconds, but just as quickly as they fall asleep, they wake up. Their rest schedule adapts to our sleep routine, although deep down, dogs have their natural rest rhythm.

How Many Hours Does a Dog Sleep?

Cute dog sleeping with one eye open

A dog can sleep 10 to 20 hours a day. The hours a dog sleeps depends a lot on its age (puppies sleep more) and the physical and mental exercise it receives in a day. Also, dogs do not always sleep soundly but tend to doze throughout the day.

Here's Why Dogs Sleep With Their Eyes Open

You might notice your pup sleeping with its eyes open or partly open; however, its no reason for concern. This behavior comes from their ancestors, who lived in nature and had to be alert, even if they were resting.

Canines have evolved and recover energy by resting or sleeping with their eyes open or half-open, but at the same time being attentive to their surroundings. As we can see, there is no need to worry, as it’s natural and intuitive behavior.

Moreover, they move their eyes slowly or blink so that their eyes do not dry out when they are open.

However, you need not worry the majority of the time, and sometimes this behavior can indicate other things. If your dog's pupils are relaxed, indeed, your dog is fine and dreaming.

But if they are fixed and dilated and its eyes are wide, it could be having a seizure, and you should not hesitate, get your dog to the vet.

Take a good look at your sleeping dog and if it also begins to whine and howl, make sure your dog is in a safe place, where it can’t fall or hurt itself. Right now, you can just wait for it to pass. Then look for a vet to find out the reason for the seizures.

My Canine Rolls Its Eyes When It’s Asleep

Canine rolling eyes while sleeping

Have you ever watched your dog rolls its eyes? When a dog starts falling asleep or is already sleeping, it often rolls its eyes.

What should you do if your dog rolls its eyes when sleeping? Nothing! Typically this takes place when the canine is in a posture that pulls the skin on its head and opens its eyelids while sleeping, causing the eye-whites to appear suddenly.

It could also be that your dog is trying to stay awake and half-open its eyes. If your dog rolls its eyes when it sleeps, i’s not a health problem. It means that your pup is very relaxed and happy. Therefore, you do not have to worry or wake it up. As soon as it changes position, it will most likely close its eyes.

If you suspect that your canine is suffering from a possible health condition, don´t hesitate to consult with your veterinarian.

How to Know If Your Dog Sleeps Well

Black lab dreaming of chasing a squirrel

Like us humans, dogs must sleep to recharge. A good night's sleep is crucial for our furry friends. Why? Well, your canine is processing with rest the adventures of the day. This means that after a full day of activities, your dog may have a night of troubled sleep. 

If your pup moves its paws or frowns, it does not necessarily mean that it’s having a nightmare. It’s simply dreaming. Maybe your pupster is running across a green meadow chasing a squirrel. 

Dogs are like children and shouldn’t be woken when asleep, for the simple fact that they have to time-out to be in a good mood. If your dog does not get enough rest, it will be more restless and less susceptible to learning. In this sense, a dog that rests well will be happier, more balanced, and active during the day. Also, a dog’s sleeping postures can help you know whether or not it sleeps well.

If your pupster suddenly moves its paws or starts crying in its sleep, it may be a heavy sleeper. Watch your pup but be careful if you want to wake it up. If your dog is suffering from a nightmare and wake it up, it could freak out and bite you, or start hyperventilating, which could develop into a panic attack.

Tips For Helping Your Dog to Sleep Well

Cute puppy sleeping in comfy dog bed

Some factors improve or worsen the depth and effectiveness of your dog's sleep. The following tips ensure a good night's sleep for your dog:

Mental & Physical Exercise

Taking your pup for a long walk (physical activity) will help your sweet-pea to relax and rest. But don’t stop there. Why not try challenging your dog’s brain with games or even obedience training that will help with your canine sleep.

Avoid Stressors

If your dog isn’t sleeping or is sleeping below par, it may be that it’s stressed. A nervous dog needs to feel safe and requires a dark and distraction-free place to rest its head.

Keep a Schedule

Dogs like routine, and if you go to bed simultaneously every day, you provide them with security, and they can sleep better. Keep in mind to include in the routine the fixed time to eat and go for a walk.

Comfortable Bed

It’s also essential that you equip your pal with a cozy place to nap. There are various styled beds for canines, so we advise you to do your research and find the perfect fit for your dog’s sleeping needs.

Final Thoughts

It’s generally normal for dogs to sleep with their eyes open. However, in the odd case that it’s not, we hope the tips above help you and your best friend get better sleep. If your pup falls into the sleeping with open eyes category, we would love to hear from you. Please tell us all about it in the comments below!

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