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Home Blog Dogs

Why Does My Dog Sleep with His Eyes Open?

Feb 11, 2023

Author:Jackson Watson

You stain your dog with open eyes. It comes to caress the head, but does not react to the approach of the hand. As you lean closer, you hear that you are snoring. Yes, he is asleep, but his eye is open. How is this possible?

A cool, if not creepy, ability

Although it is not a trait that is shared with all dogs, some puppies do have the ability to sleep with their eyes open. It is something that can trap owners a little off guard if they are not aware of the ability. It is quite interesting to see if you have never seen it before, especially because you can clearly detect when the dog wakes up.

Why dogs can do this trick?

The reason dogs have this ability can be traced back to their wild heritage. Early dogs used this trick as a defense mechanism so that they were not involuntarily scarfed by the larger beasts while they slept. Even though your dog has no chance of being devoured inside your house, as the capacity has still maintained. Usually, seeing your dog sleeping with his eyes open is no cause for alarm. However, there are exceptions to this golden rule. Eyes open during sleep could be the sign of an attack, or it could be accompanied by spasms.

dogs trick

Seizures Versus Contractions

The difference between seizures and spasms is a very wide gap. Seizures are neurological conditions that can be caused by inheritance or external factors such as the environment, genetics, or disease. Involuntary spasms are also neurological, but in general it is considered to be a sign that your dog is in the middle of a good sleep. In both cases, your dog may have his eyes open. They will also have Herky-spasmodic movements that may have problems to differentiate if you are not smart enough to pick them up. So, how can you tell the difference?

It's all in the eyes

One of the great ways you can differentiate if your dog is having a seizure or is limited to the condition is by controlling his eyes during the episode. If a dog just twitched, his eyes partially closed, giving it an appearance of peace and relaxation. During an attack, the dog will have a blank look still open passing.

dogs eyes

Why Twitch a dog?

It has been theorized that your dog will contract when it comes to rapid eye movements or REM, the stage of its sleep phase. As in the case of humans, it is believed that a dog dreams during this particular phase. The condition is representative of your body reacts to movements congruent with the movements within the dream. It has been observed that puppies and older dogs tend to experience more movement during sleep than adult dogs. however, there must be a specific reason why this is the case. 

It has also been observed that dogs that tend to stretch when they sleep are more prone to nervous behavior. Of course, if you happen to be asleep next to a dog that goes through a phase of contraction, it is possible to know that the moment you inadvertently start with an unequal leg. If this happens, or if you get to see your dog spasming a lot, you can calmly call his name to wake him up. With that being said, it is generally advisable that you leave things as they are.

What happens during a seizure?

A dog seizure can be a terrible experience for an owner, especially since there is really nothing he can do to help him apart from letting the seizure run its course. This is particularly alarming because seizures can last a long time and look very scary. For example, a dog can vocalize in the middle of a seizure. When this happens, you may hear it emit a howl, a moan, or even a scream. Fortunately, the owners can rest easy knowing that these sounds are involuntary and not signs of suffering on the part of the dog. Your dog may also experience involuntary movements that are more pronounced and deliberate. Movements such as thrashing, uncontrollable trembling, or violent muscular activity can all be witness. 

dog sleeping

They also tend to last considerably longer than the typical spasmodic movements. You could see the decided physiological changes happening to your dog during a seizure. For example, you may hear labored breathing, frothing through your mouth, or losing control of your digestive system. Your dog may also bite his tongue during the episode. Perhaps most important, seizures can not be interrupted. You just have to let the episode run its course. One thing you can do to preserve your dog's safety is to move objects away from where he is taking advantage of, so that he does not accidentally break into something and gets hurt.

What to expect after the results

When a dog wakes up after spasms, things will return to normal quite quickly. After all, it only essentially woke him up from a dream. If you remember what you dreamed of, of course, it's still a mystery. The seizures are decidedly different in the sense that they are going to be completely disoriented and stunned when they come to. They may also have difficulty walking in the moments after a seizure. Such sequels could leave you feeling helpless. However, the best thing you can do for your dog in the aftermath of an attack is to treat it as gently as possible. With time it will be the same again. You just have to give it enough time to do it.

Look at the eyes

They say that the eyes are the window of the soul. Because some dogs can sleep with their eyes open, their voyeurs can sometimes be the biggest clue whether or not they are enjoying a dream or having an uncontrollable attack. It can be a scary thing to look for a dog in the eye to make that call, but it can help determine exactly what is going on. 

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