Why Does My Dog Sleep With Its Eyes Open? - DogGear

Why Does My Dog Sleep With Its Eyes Open?

Many dog owners have a habit of staring at their pet while they are sleeping. They may feel relaxed by doing this. However, if you are a dog owner, you may have stumbled upon your dog looking a little different while it’s sleeping. Have you been startled by seeing your dog’s eyes open while they are asleep? While some dog owners may find it fascinating, some may feel worried by this occurrence. But why does your dog sleep with its eyes open, really? Should you feel worried?

What’s The Reason?

To put it simply, a dog’s eyes may sleep with its eyes open because it acts as a form of defense mechanism. Although many of us have adopted dogs and made them out pets, they are still wild animals. This means that they have the natural ability to guard themselves against nature and the world. They have somehow developed this ability naturally, and it has become part of their body or being. In the past, way before we have made them our pets, dogs needed to be constantly alert to make sure that they survive. As they evolved, they were able to develop sleeping with their eyes open, which may be the reason why your dog has this ability as well.

To provide you with a more scientific explanation, this is because dogs have a third eyelid. Their third eyelid can be referred to as the nicitating membrane. Basically, this membrane helps keep, create and sustain the moisture in their eyes while they are sleeping. This keeps their ayes from drying out. Why do they have this membrane? Similar to the previous explanation, dogs have this membrane because of evolution. Unlike humans, dogs cannot rub their eyes when some type of foreign object suddenly gets into their eyes, and their nicitating membrane does the work and protects them against it.

Basically, this may be what you are seeing depending on the type of breed your dog is. There are some breeds that have a nicitating membrane that are much more visible compared to others. Not to worry though, because this eyelid should go back to its original position once your dog is awake. If your dog is a Labrador, Chihuahua, Beagle or Bulldog, then the reason for them sleeping with their eyes open is because these types have more prominent nicitating membrane compared to other breeds. You can also do your research about which other types of breeds have this.

If Your Dog Is Sleeping With Their Eyes Open

Generally, there really isn’t anything to worry about when you see your dog sleeping with their eyes open. This is a natural occurrence, and their quality of sleep or health isn’t normally affected by this.

However, make sure you still pay attention to their eyes from time to time, and check if their have the right amount of moisture. Your dog may be suffering from dry eyes, and you haven’t noticed it. Also watch out for severe twitching, because open eyes accompanied by twitching may be signs of seizure, which needs medical attention. Mild twitching isn’t a cause for alarm because your dog may simply be dreaming. Make sure to watch out and observe.


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