Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties

If you’re a dog parent, you know they love to sleep. But why do they sleep so much, and are they really dreaming when you see their paws twitch in their sleep? Keep reading to discover the answers to these questions and more.

How much do dogs sleep?

On average, dogs spend 12 to 14 hours per day sleeping. Your dog’s particular sleep needs may vary around that range, depending on his age, size, breed, activity level, and overall health:

  • Larger breeds tend to sleep more than smaller breeds.
  • Working dogs with activity-filled days sleep less, while those who lead sedentary lives will sleep more.
  • Puppies can spend up to 20 hours sleeping a day. Growing and learning how to be a dog takes a lot of energy!
  • As dogs age into their senior years, they spend more time sleeping since they tire more easily.

Wild dogs and wolves may sleep even more than domesticated dogs. They have to hunt for their food, which expends more energy. When food is scarce, they need to conserve their energy. An expedient way to do that is by sleeping.

Do dogs experience the same sleep cycles as humans?

Like humans and other mammals, dogs progress through different stages of sleep. Also like us, dogs experience REM sleep.

The main difference between dog sleep and human sleep is how much time they spend in the different stages, as well as a dog’s tendency to sleep in bursts throughout the day. Dogs tend to experience sleep-wake cycles of 16 minutes asleep, 5 minutes awake – quite the contrast with our typical sleep-wake cycle of 7 to 9 hours asleep, 15 to 17 hours awake.

When dogs fall asleep, they enter deep sleep. Their breathing and heart rate slow while their blood pressure drops. About 10 minutes in, they enter REM sleep and dream like humans. You can often identify this stage because their eyes roll under their eyelids, and they may start twitching in their sleep as they dream of chasing after squirrels.

Since dogs are always on the alert to protect their pack from intruders, they’re able to wake more easily. It’s common for them to wake up before completing a full sleep-wake cycle, from deep to REM sleep. As a result, scientists estimate they need to sleep more often overall in order to get their sufficient amount of REM.

What does a day in the life of a dog look like?

The typical dog spends half of his day asleep, and nearly a third of his day just lying around. The rest of his day is reserved for playing, using the restroom, and begging for treats.

Dogs are flexible sleepers. They have no problem adjusting their sleep schedule to their owner’s needs. If you work a 9 to 5 job, your dog may adapt to spend more of the daytime sleeping, so he can be awake and available to play with you when you get home at night. Working dogs like police or service dogs have more energy, and can stay awake for longer stretches of time performing their important duties.

Dogs don’t sleep as deeply as we do. That’s why they can wake up immediately if necessary and bound out of bed to raise the alarm for an intruder or gobble up the kibble as you pour it.

When is my dog sleeping too much?

If you note drastic changes in the amount of time your dog spends sleeping, or he seems excessively lethargic, it could be indicative of a larger problem. Lethargy is a common symptom of diabetes, parvovirus, Lyme disease, depression, and hypothyroidism in dogs.

If a major upset occurs in the life of your dog, such as the death of a loved one or a big move, he may sleep more or less than usual. This is a normal reaction, as dogs find comfort in routine and a major change affects their emotional wellbeing, but keep an eye out if their sleep doesn’t return to normal within a reasonable amount of time.

Some dogs with shorter noses are also at risk for sleep apnea, which can make your dog more tired during the day due to experiencing less restful sleep.

What are the common dog sleep positions?

Does your dog have a favorite sleeping position? Dogs tend to sleep in one of three positions, and they have a reason why for each.

  • On their side with four legs stretched out: This is a comfortable position for your dog when he’s feeling very relaxed. It also exposes some of his belly to the air which can help him cool down.
  • On their back with all four paws in the air: When a dog is in this position, he’s at his most vulnerable. It’s the toughest for him to get up from and it exposes his neck and belly. If you catch him in this position, you know that he feels safe and secure. It’s also a good way for him to cool down since his belly is exposed.
  • Curled in a ball: This is the least comfortable position for a dog to sleep in, as it requires them to use their muscles to stay curled up. However, it is the easiest for them to spring up upon waking, making it a defensive position. Dogs who have been abused or are unsure of their environment often sleep in this position. However, sometimes dogs sleep curled up simply to keep warm.

Your dog may sleep in any of these positions with their back to you, or another human or animal member of the pack. In dog packs, dogs sleep close to each other for comfort and safety, so consider this a high honor. Your dog views you as part of the pack!

How can I help my dog get better sleep?

Follow these tips to give your pup more restful shuteye.
1. Give your dog plenty of exercise and playtime during the day to stimulate his mind and tire him out by bedtime.
2. Feed your dog well. Some pet foods contain fewer nutrients than others, which can lower your dog’s energy during the day.
3. Don’t miss your vet check-ups. These regular appointments are a good way to identify any health conditions early on.
4. Give your dog a comfortable place to sleep.
• If you choose to share your bed with your dog, like nearly half of dog owners do, make sure you get a mattress that’s big enough for everyone to fit, and offers excellent motion isolation so you’re not woken up by them moving around. Memory foam and latex mattresses are good options for pet owners.
• If you prefer your dog sleeps in a kennel or dog bed, make it cozy like a den would be in the wild. Give them a blanket or even a dirty old t-shirt that smells like you to provide comfort. There are various dog beds available to suit your dog’s favorite sleep positions – big ones made for stretching out vs. small nesting beds for those who like to curl up.

All of this is true, and as dog parents we’ve seen it first hand – every day. We asked Save-a-Bull adopters to share photos of their dogs showing off their best sleeping skills and here’s a little of what we got! Enjoy:

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Female/Female Dog Households

Female/Female Dog Households

The conversation comes up all the time, and it’s been a topic of discussion again recently: “Should you, or should you not, have two female dogs in the same household?” We hear plenty of stories about two females that get along great together – and that’s amazing, but it’s not typical. There are countless research studies that show females have a higher rate of aggression toward other females than they do toward males, or than males have toward other males. And we have to give creed to all this information. Here are just a few snipits of this type of research:

“There is a higher incidence of aggressive behavior between dogs of the same sex. Two males or two females will often view each other as rivals, even if they appear to get along most of the time. This is a fact for every breed.”

“When two dogs of the same sex live in a household together, they are required to decide which one will be the top dog and which one will be the bottom dog. The ‘decision making’ can become nasty and even violent. The ultimate pecking order can have an undesirable effect on both of the dog’s personalities—one of the dogs can become dominant to an unhealthy degree and the other can be pushed so far into submission that it’s not good for him. In this common scenario, the top dog becomes tyrannical and the bottom dog lives a nerve-wracking life of perpetual submission. This is an unyieldingly stressful set of circumstances for the entire household.”

“Generally, I like male/female pairings in a two-dog household, then male/male pairings, with female/female pairings at the bottom of the list. That is not to say you can’t see successful duos with all of these combos, but I think most behavior consultants would agree that the worst cases of interdog aggression are usually between females, and when these dogs live in the same home, managing the situation can be a nightmare for the owners — and is tough on the dogs, too. Generally, a second dog of the opposite sex is a good idea for most families.”

“Same-sex dogs are more likely to fight. Two males (or two females) are much more likely to fight than a male and a female. This is true of every breed, not just pit bulls, because two dogs of the same sex are likely to see each other as rivals.”

“The first thing that might be surprising to most people is that female dogs are more often involved in fights than are males. [In a recent study] only 32 percent of aggressive incidents involved conflict between two males, while in the remaining 68 percent, females were active participants. This is consistent with previous research which showed that when females get into an aggressive situation, injuries are apt to be more severe and the fights tend to be longer and more furious.”

To sum up, Save-a-Bull’s position is this: dog aggression is a behavior found in every breed, but because of their breed history, pit bulls might be less tolerant of other dogs. Add to this the research showing female dogs are less tolerant of other females and it can create a recipe for disaster. As pit bull advocates and owners, it is our responsibility to understand our dogs and to put them in a position to succeed. It is because of this that we will not place a female dog into a home with another female dog.

“Let’s not blame the dogs for a trait bred into them by the evilness of man. Let’s understand them instead, so we can provide responsible ownership and give them a chance to show the world why they are so deserving of our love.
~ Unknown

Fall in Love with Mr. February, Bo

Fall in Love with Mr. February, Bo

This handsome hunk is four year old pit mix Bo. He was adopted from Rochester Animal Control by Adrianne and Jacob and is the light of their lives. Bo loves his toys, especially his Kong balls as you can tell from his photos. He also loves playing fetch, even if he doesn’t give the ball back 100% of the time.

Recently, Bo got a new sister when Adrianne and Jacob adopted from Save-a-Bull. Her name is Zelda (fka Bridget). Although Bo was a tad bit hesitant of his new sister at first, they soon grew to love each other and are now the best of buds!

Bo was photographed by Tangerine House of Design as part of our annual Save-a-Bull calendar fundraiser and contest. Watch for next year’s contest details coming later this year, or purchase your 2018 calendar here.

Give to the Max Day, dedicated to…

Give to the Max Day, dedicated to…

One of our favorite parts about Give to the Max Day is seeing the dedications that come with the donations. We know every supporter values the importance of the spay/neuter clinics, but we love seeing the real driver, the heartfelt reason, they are making a donation today. Donations today were dedicated to:

  • For Quinny!
  • For Zach and Molly – we miss you!
  • Frankie & Alice
  • From Mac and Mary & Bob
  • From the Cottle Family in memory of Milton.
  • In honor of Jolene Coleman
  • In honor of Norma Buddy and Dave — the Gavin Dogs
  • In honor of Thunder the wonder pup
  • In loving memory of our best friend Mikey.
  • In Memory of Baby Tabi
  • In memory of my father Jerry McDonald
  • In memory of my sweet angel Nellie
  • In Memory of Vinnie
  • Jefferson & Madeline – best granddogs ever
  • In memory of Kathy Carlson
  • Nova, Tillie & Duke
  • Opal
  • Fay
  • Thanks for all you do!
  • The crew of 5Pawz
  • To help pups like Linus find the right home
  • To my Jozee miss you everyday baby
  • To our first furry child Shug
  • To our sweet Ernest

Thank you again to everyone who was supported us so far and is yet to make a donation. You are a warm and wonderful part of the Save-a-Bull family and we appreciate your support today and every day!


Fix Your Pit; A Volunteer Perspective

Fix Your Pit; A Volunteer Perspective

In 2015, we officially launched our Fix Your Pit program and over the past two plus years, we have hosted and funded 11 clinics by partnering with Kindest Cuts at the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley. These clinics are so important to our organization that our volunteers jump at the chance to help! Our volunteers love attending our other fundraising events, but what they appreciate about these clinics is seeing the direct, positive impact our clinics are making in the local community.

On clinic days, teams of  nine volunteers assist the veterinary staff with a variety of jobs. Volunteer Cassie Riddle notes “The [vet] staff truly cares about the animals. Everything goes very smooth and the animals’ welfare is the top priority.”

Volunteers also greet clients, help check dogs in, and assist with paperwork. ”Many of the clients are anxious about leaving their dogs at the clinic. Surgery is an unsettling idea to a lot of pet owners, especially those that have never been to the vet before, but our volunteers are there to help clients feel at ease. “So many people are nervous to drop their dogs off, which tells me they really love their pitties.” says volunteer foster manager Lorelei Noire. “They want to do what is right, but might not always be able to afford it. I’m so glad we can make this happen for them.”

One of our volunteers’ favorite parts about working these clinics is walking dogs after surgery to gently wake them from their anesthetic. The kennel room following surgery is enjoyed by our volunteers as there is a lot of howls, lovingly called the “morphine moos,” coming from the pups!


When we initially launched our first Fix Your Pit clinic, we were only able to offer free spay and neuter services. As we hosted more clinics and interacted with the community, we realized that although spay and neuter was helping, there was more we could do to give back. So, we made the decision in 2017 to offer free vaccinations and microchipping at all 6 of our clinics for our clients who requested it.

Our Fix Your Pit clinics allow us to continue our rescue mission outside of just homeless dogs. Save-a-Bull volunteer Jolene Coleman says “The clinics show we support the community that supports the rescue, and that Save-a-Bull truly cares about reducing the number of pitties that are homeless or in shelters.” Further, our clinics aid in creating a healthier community while assisting pet owners in the area by giving services to their dogs they would otherwise have access to.

“Rescue isn’t only about foster and adopting,” says Lorelei. “It is about what is best for the pitties in the community and advocating for the breed.”

With your support today, we will fully fund 6 more clinics in 2018 that will include spay/neuter services, vaccinations and microchipping for low income families in the Twin Cities. When we asked our volunteers what they would like to communicate to you, our generous donors, on Give to the Max Day, the unanimous response was a HUGE THANK YOU! Jolene reminds us that, “without your continued support, this program would not exist.”  Volunteer Matt Guest echoes her thanks by saying “You are helping to keep dogs alive and out of shelters. I appreciate you all!”

From all of us at Save-a-Bull, thank you for helping us continue our mission of providing a healthier community for pit bulls in the Twin Cities area.

Your donations on Give to the Max Day make these incredible clinics possible. Please continue your support by giving today!

Adult dogs: the hidden gems of rescue

Adult dogs: the hidden gems of rescue

Everyone loves puppies! We love their whole body wiggles, their soft fur, and even their puppy breath. But in rescue, we don’t discriminate by age. We take in dogs of all ages and give them a second chance at finding their forever family. Save-a-Bull currently has 10 dogs seven month and older. Now that we have your attention with all this Give to the Max Day excitement, let us share a little more information about our adoptable adults!

Sweet Hallie has been with us for over a year. This adorable “white buffalo” as she is affectionately called around Save-a-Bull, is just over 4 years old. She is a master at entertaining herself! She loves toys and will toss them in the air before gracefully galloping after them. She can entertain herself for hours with play time! But, once playtime is over, she makes a beeline to the couch where she demands a snuggle time with her fosters.

Linus is a one-year-old tripod! Prior to coming to rescue, Linus experienced broken bones in his leg that required an amputation. However, only three legs can’t slow this boy down! This summer, Linus could usually be found in his foster’s pool. He loved having his toys thrown into the pool where he could swim over to retrieve them. Once he gathers them all, he brings them back to his humans and waits for them to be thrown back in so he can get back to swimming!

Jill, also known as Jillybean to her fosters, is a two year old sweetheart who has been in rescue since March.  Jill is a HUGE fan of her squeaky toys! She loves to chase them, chew them, shake them, and carry them around the house with her. While doing so, she squeaks the songs of her people the entire way! Her fosters are endlessly entertained by her playtime. We are sure, if Jill were a part of your family, there would never be a dull moment!

Ravioli is a mischievous little spit fire that loves to explore the world around him. At eight months old, he’s an excitable and fun-loving dude! In exchange, he will happily give you unlimited kisses, Netflix and chill, long lazy weekend mornings in bed, and the ability to learn tricks in a snap! He also loves car rides, brewery patios, and is a certified foodie who hasn’t met a snack he didn’t like. This boy is smart and funny, is great company, and could very possibly be your best friend ever!

Royal is a sweet 8 month old pup who came to rescue in May. He has a lot of personality and enjoys being near his people! He wants to be as close to you as possible. He is a unique pup as he is one of the only dogs from our rescue that has part hairless breed – and he’s also a leftie! Still looking for his forever home…



Coral is a 3 and a half year old, white pittie who LOVES her foster family and their kids! The children in the house love to keep her entertained with her toys and Coral is happy to oblige. However, she also enjoys her downtime as well. She is the sweetest snuggler. She has even been known to pick snuggling with her foster family over the delicious smells of bacon cooking in the kitchen.


Vince is the oldest of our available adults at 5 and a half years young! Vince loves to show his love to his fosters by drenching them with kisses and snuggling his face as close to theirs as possible. This pitties is definitely going to need snuggles in the winter as he was unimpressed by his first snow experience. He saw the white stuff and ran his brown butt right back into the house! Vince would love a forever family to help keep him warm and loved this winter.

All of these older dogs are available for adoption. Did you see one that would be the perfect addition to your family? Fill out an application today!

Linus, Royal, Hallie photos by Tangerine House of Design