why does my dog stop breathing in his sleep

Sleep disorders aren't just a problem for humans, they can affect your dog as well. Dogs sleep a lot, but can adapt their sleeping patterns, so they should be able to sleep through the night. If your furry friend is waking up and whining during the night, is extra tired during the day, or seems to fall asleep suddenly, they may have trouble sleeping, or even a sleep disorder. Certain sleep disorders seem to be related to genetics and family history, and some breeds are more likely to suffer from sleep disorders. , and
all have an increased risk of sleep disorders. Why aren't they getting enough sleep? Sleep disorders usually keep your dog from getting enough sleep during the night, or from getting enough Rapid-Eye Movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is the period during which humans dream, and is the most important form of sleep to recover and rest properly. REM stages get longer throughout the night, so if your dog wakes up for any reason, they may interrupt the cycles and not get enough REM sleep. Not all sleep disorders are the same, and treatment is different for each condition. Learn about the 4 most common sleep disorders below to help determine if your pooch may be suffering. 1. Insomnia Insomnia means trouble sleeping, either at the start of the night, or waking up during the night and being unable to fall back asleep. Insomnia is often a sign of some other problem, like an injury, or illness, but is also associated with old age in dogs. As dogs get older, they are more likely to have a condition which causes discomfort, such as joint or digestion problems. This makes it harder for them to get comfortable and sleep throughout the night. may also wake your senior dog, and they may need to go out during the night, even if well-trained. 2. Narcolepsy Narcolepsy is a rare but note-worthy sleep disorder which affects dogs.


It can cause a disruption in the dog's sleeping and REM cycle which may lead to extreme sleepiness during the day. Narcolepsy symptoms can include sleep attacks or cataplexy which is sudden muscle weakness and paralysis while remaining awake. These attacks (which last a few seconds to a couple minutes) can be brought on by strong emotions, often at feeding time or while playing. Narcolepsy can be particularly dangerous if your dog has access to pools or streams, or any other place which may be an unsafe location for a sleep attack to occur. 3. Sleep Apnea Sometimes your dog just has a snoring problem, but loud snoring might be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is most commonly seen with English Bulldogs and dogs, and causes problems breathing during sleep. Dogs with sleep apnea may temporarily stop breathing, which wakes them up. If this happens multiple times during the night, the dog won't be able to have uninterrupted REM sleep. This may lead to your dog being extra tired during the day, even though they seemed to sleep all night. Veterinarians usually prescribe a with sleep apnea, or even surgery if the nostrils or respiratory systems are malformed (which causes the apnea). Steam or humidifiers can also help open up airways. Sleep apnea can sometimes be fatal, but can usually be treated before it causes serious problems. 4. REM Behavior Disorder and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder Dogs are known for pawing at the air while they sleep, but some dogs are very active during REM sleep, and show symptoms of a human disorder called REM behavior disorder. Dogs with this active REM cycle may run into walls, attack objects, or bite, even if they are usually gentle while awake.


Different from sleepwalking, these dogs may not seem disoriented if awoken during these active REM periods. If you think your dog isn't getting enough sleep, or may have a sleep disorder, it's important to talk with your veterinarian and take some steps to help them sleep better. If sleep deprivation continues, it can lead to health, emotional, or mental problems. Document your dog's habits so that you can describe them fully to your vet and together determine appropriate treatments to help your dog and you have a restful night. This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy. Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder in dogs that causes disruption of sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can be dangerous for your pet s health. Sleep apnea can cause your pet s breathing patterns to become altered during sleep. His breathing may become very shallow or interrupted and the interruptions in breathing could last from 10 to 20 seconds. Your pet might have as many as 100 interrupted breathing episodes in one night resulting in a drop in blood oxygen levels. When the breathing is paused or interrupted, the pet is jolted out of his normal sleep pattern and breathing resumes with a gasp. The pet may or may not be aware of the interruptions in breathing. Sleep apnea can result in chronic sleep deprivation that can, over a period of time lead to health problems. Sleep apnea is most common in dogs that have flat faces. Such dogs are termed as brachycephalic, the Greek for short head. Breeds with short heads such as English bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers are prone to this sleeping disorder.


This is because dogs with short heads have small nostrils, a very long soft palate, small sacs in their throats that protrude in the airway and a short windpipe. Dogs that are overweight are also prone to sleep apnea as the internal fat causes the airways to collapse partially during sleep resulting in interrupted breathing. If a pet suffering from sleep apnea is not treated for a long time, it can lead to chronic sleep deprivation and health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart disease and stroke. Swollen air passages can cause the airway to get narrow. A narrow airway could result in interrupted breathing and cause disturbances in the normal sleep patterns. Anti-inflammatory medication can help control the swelling and widen the airway. Allergies to food, chemicals or toxins can also cause disturbances in breathing and sleep patterns. Anti-histamine medications can help control the allergic reaction and provide relief. Dogs find it difficult to breathe in warm and humid weather and this too can result in sleep apnea. If your pet has sleep problems in the summer, you should let him sleep in an air-conditioned room. It s best to ensure that an overweight pet loses undesired weight to help resolve his sleeping problems. Surgery to correct abnormal anatomy is the standard treatment to cure a pet suffering from sleeping disorders. There are several types of surgeries that can cure a pet of sleep apnea and these procedures depend on the part of the body that has to be corrected. Some such surgeries are maxillofacial surgery, nasal palatopharyngeal surgery and upper airway surgery. Canine sleep apnea can be life threatening and should be treated by a qualified vet at the earliest.

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