When I returned home with my Labrador puppy, I was expecting she would sleep quite a bit similar to me and my Chihuahua puppy. In the first few weeks, I saw my Lab sleeping with her eyes open and assumed she was watching me since I could see the rapid eye movements. However, she did not move one centimeter when I called her. it appears that she was in fact experiencing a dream and breathing extremely fast during sleep.
As I’ve never witnessed my Labrador dog sleeping with eyes open I was worried, scared, and confused at once. Is my Labrador ok? Do I need to be concerned?
Dogs sleep with their eyes open! It’s quite normal for dogs to rest in a position where the eyes of one, or both are closed. The majority of the time this is usually harmless. But there are instances when dogs that sleep with their eyes open can be cause for concern.
If you’ve ever seen your dog asleep with its eyes open and you’re concerned about it, we completely understand because we’ve experienced it too. We’re fortunate to have spoken with my dog’s veterinarian and study the nitty-gritty of this issue so you’ll be more well-informed and knowledgeable than I.
Do dogs sleep with their eyes open?
Yes, sometimes dogs do sleep with their eyes partially open and it is completely common. However, for many new dog owners witnessing this for the first time can be an unsettling one.
Why do dogs lie down with their eyes open?
If you own a dog who sleeps with eyes open and you are wondering, ” why does my dog lie down with his eyes open?” and whether it’s normal.
Our canines are domesticated today they are descendent of a previous generation of dogs who lived in the wild and needed to adapt and utilize survival strategies to endure. One of them was to rest with their eyes open.
The reason that dogs are sleeping with their eyes open can be a sign that they’re awake to the events happening in the surrounding area. Eyes that are open partially as they sleep could be a sign that a part of their brain is active and is vigilant to threats in their environment, while the rest of their brain sleeps.
When their eyes are open this can trick predators into believing that the dogs are alert and aware of what’s going on. This can deter predators from attacking them.
Can dogs rest without their eyes open?
As you can see, dogs certainly sleep without their eyes shut and it’s quite normal. The reason is that dogs are able to rest with their eyes open without causing any irritation to their eyes, such as dryness or itching.
If you see your dog sleeping with its eyes open for a small amount it’s likely that you won’t be able to see his eyes immediately. It’s because canines have what’s known as the nictitating membrane or third eyelid. A majority of people won’t be able to discern the third eyelid of the dog from a distance as only a small part of their third eyelid can be seen and lies just behind the eyelid’s outer.
The third eyelid, also known as the nictitating membrane assists with the following issues:
- Cleans and maintains the cornea of your dog and moist with each blink of the third eyelid.
- Guard your dog’s eyeball against injury and damage.
- Produce tears to ensure that the eyes are always clean.
- Create antibodies and serve in the role of a lymph node in order to protect against infections.
If the eyelids of the third eye close or blink it functions as the broom that sweeps off tiny particles or dirt from your eyeballs.
When your four-legged friend opens their eyes once more their third eyelids will automatically open as well, and retract into the inside of the eyes. As you can observe the third eyelid functions in the same way. If your dog closes its eyes for sleep, its nictitating layer is also open. When your pet’s K9 pals are awake and open their eyes, the nictitating layer opens as well.
A majority of the time, your dog is asleep with their eyes open the dog’s owners usually be able to see their third eyelid rather than the outer surface of their eyeballs because the nictitating membrane has been placed in its open position.
What is the reason that certain dogs lie down with their eyes open?
To be able to understand why some dogs have their eyes open, we’ll examine the typical sleeping patterns of dogs and determine if those who sleep with their eyes open are an issue to be concerned about.
If you own dogs then you’ll be aware that it’s normal for them to rest for between 12 and 14 hours every day. Actually, puppies require more sleep than the average dog and can be asleep for as much as 18-20 hours per day. After a day of playing or learning to explore, and spending time with their pet trainers and owners They are bound to be exhausted. It is the best way to recharge, feel refreshed and replenish their energy.
As with young pups and senior dogs, many older canines also require more as they tire quickly and are more quickly. If you own larger breeds such as a German Shepherd, or Border Collie as well as a Bernese Mountain dog, they require more rest than smaller breeds such as those of a Chihuahua, Beagle, or Bichon Frise.
Certain dogs that were bred to hunt as well as working breeds like Border Collies and German Shepherds can be able to sleep with their eyes open. It is because they were bred for specific tasks such as watching for predators, or herding sheep and be alert all the time.
Sleeping patterns typical for dogs
If your four-legged companions hit the mattress, they fall into a deep sleep, and then begin in a short-wave or slow-wave sleep for approximately 10 minutes. You’ll be able to see that their heart rate and breathing rate slow and their blood pressure decreases.
In the majority of cases, after an interval of about 10 minutes, your pet could be in the “repeated eye movement” (REM) stage and begin dreaming. In this stage, the eyelids of your dog usually remain closed because they are in a dream.
My dog has his eyes open! Why?
When your dog is deep asleep and his eyes should be shut, why does your dog seems to sleep with his eyes open? Do you think it is a problem that requires you to notify your veterinarian immediately?
Breathe deeply because most times, dogs asleep with their eyes open isn’t anything to be concerned about. Even if you’re a bit scared of this because it doesn’t seem natural to you it’s not a sign that you’re not happy with your dog’s precious.
If your dog is sleeping soundly and their eyes are partially or only slightly open, then there’s no reason to awaken them and disrupt their sleep.
Since dogs are naturally alert to defend their family members or their owners from burglars or intruders It’s not difficult for them to rise and it’s normal for dogs to get up even before they’ve completed their full sleep-wake cycle.
If this occurs, your dog might be able to open his eyes and you spotted him at a certain period of time when his eyes are open before he snoozes and falls back asleep.
Dogs Sleep with their eyes open What happens when it becomes problematic?
In some rare instances, dogs that appear like he’s asleep may be suffering from a serious seizure. It is possible that a seizure is hereditary and is usually a result of the brain of the dog. If your dog is sick, it might also suffer from seizures.
It’s important to understand that when dogs suffer from seizures, they’re different from the normal twitching of the legs or the body that typically occurs when a dog dreams. We’ll look into the differences.
If your dog is experiencing seizures, the eyes of your dog will typically be wide open and you may observe odd eye movements or an unfocused gaze. Dogs who are just blinking from having a nightmare usually have their eyes shut and appear calm.
Seizures in dogs with eyes open are usually an uncommon occurrence. In most cases, pets suffering from seizures suffer from other health issues pet owners know about, so seizures with eyes open shouldn’t be shocking to them. If you suspect that your canine family members are experiencing seizures call your veterinarian immediately and take your dog to the vet for a visit.
I’ve also talked to my dog’s veterinarian and she has pointed out that breeds of brachycephalic dogs designed with flat faces could be unable to shut their eyelids completely. Brachycephalic breeds like the French Bulldog have flat faces and their eyes extend to the point that their eyes aren’t in a position to shut without difficulty.
There are instances where your dog suffers from narcolepsy the eyes could remain open when they are asleep and this can lead to irregular sleeping.
Another scenario is when your dogs suffer from epilepsy. Epilepsy dogs may appear like they’re asleep, even though they aren’t at all.
In both cases, the dog may not be sleeping properly with their eyes open and you’ll need to speak immediately with your vet.
Dogs Sleep With Their Eyes Open: When you should leave your dog alone, and when you should call the vet
Most of the time, dogs that sleep with their eyes open are quite normal and should not be a cause of worry. If your dog is sleeping with its eyes open, make sure to discuss your observations with your veterinarian during the next appointment.
If you spot this, ensure that your vet is aware of this, too:
- Your furry friends are asleep with their eyes open regularly and their eyes appear to be red, watery, and itchy or dry.
- When you exercise, go out for a walk, or any other unplanned time when your dog abruptly is asleep.
- If they have their eyes open and you gently call to them from about two feet away, they’re in no position to fall asleep.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that pet owners should not attempt to awaken their pets who are asleep with their eyes open by yelling or touching them. This could wake the dog and cause a sense of disorientation upon awakening and could cause them to become aggressive.