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Is it normal for dogs to twitch and kick in their sleep?

(June 3, 2010)

Seeing your dog start to twitch and kick while seemingly sound asleep can be quite worrying the first few times you see it happen. Give it a few days and you will realize that this is a very normal reaction amongst most dogs. To understand the details of why this happens though, one should be aware of certain traits that most dogs share when it comes to their sleep patterns. Just as humans do, dogs also have stages of sleep. Studies have shown that dogs suddenly woken by children when in their REM, or rapid eye movement phase, account for about 60% of all dog bites all over the world – making it very important to, as the saying goes, ‘let sleeping dogs lie’. Dogs will generally sleep almost half of their lives away –with most clocking up an astounding 16 hours a day. If the dog is not allowed to sleep as much as it would like, it would result in the animal being rather irritable over the course of the day. Moreover, the atmospheric temperature of the room or outdoors will also play a significant role in how effectively the dog sleeps. As a result, regulating the temperature to some extent when the animal is indoors will help substantially.

The dog twitching and dog kicking that you notice occur in the REM phase of the dogs sleep – because of the heightened brain activity during this very deep and intense phase of sleep. It also helps to know that a canines sleeping position will also indicate how they sleep. For example, whenever you see a dog sleeping on his side, or on the belly with all four paws stretched out, it is simply snoozing. When the animal rolls over on its back with its paws up in the air, it is in a very deep sleep and most dogs tend to have the most relaxing dreams when in this position. Significant physical activity will be witnessed when the dog is in this position such as chewing motion, snoring or even muffled cries in addition to the twitching and running. Although the animal curling itself up in a ball will give the impression that it is sound asleep, this position is actually indicative of a light nap and most dogs will wake up surprisingly quickly from this position when required. As with humans, you would not like having a grumpy canine around, so paying close attention to dog health and its sleeping habits will allow you better canine management.
Submitted by M A on June 3, 2010 at 02:18


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