Animal House: Creating A Sleeping Environment For A Happier Healthier Dog

Animal House

If you google 'the importance of sleep', you’ll find about 73,700,000 results. It is obvious that we are obsessed with getting a good night’s sleep. Who can blame us? Many of us feel like there is not enough hours in the day to get things done, and when we do finally get to bed, our minds are racing with planning for the next day. We are asleep one third of our lives, so when it comes to getting a good night’s rest, it’s not so much about the money under the mattress as the money invested in the mattress, in white noise machines, sleep apps, etc.

What about the importance of sleep to the health of our pets? Did you know that dogs sleep as much and more as their owners? In fact, where we, humans, need around eight hours of sleep, adult dogs require almost twice that amount of shut-eye. Given the importance of sleep to good health, and the fact my dog Logan does love his sleep, I decided to look further into sleeping habits of dogs and how to help mine get the best rest possible.



The recipe for a good night’s sleep doesn’t change much between us humans and our cuddly pets. The ingredients are quite simply diet, exercise and restful sleeping environment. Here are a few interesting facts and tips for creating a sleeping environment for a happier and healthier dog.

First, it’s no secret that eating healthy and incorporating the right foods into a diet can ensure a sound slumber. This is true for our pets, as well. Our dogs need balanced nutrition to maintain health and wellness, but there are so many food types and brands out there that it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the right one. Your dog’s veterinarian should be the first one to talk to about a proper diet for your pup. Your neighbourhood, independent pet store is also a great place to visit to learn about food options. Here are my faves in Leslieville —> Top Treats For Top Dogs In Leslieville And if you’re around the Danforth neighbourhood, Wag on the Danforth is a fantastic pet store to visit —> Family-Run Wag On The Danforth. It’s important that dog owners have a good understanding of their dog’s nutritional needs to live a long, healthy life.


If you’ve been reading my blog 'Monika’s Animal House', you’ve noticed that I often stress the important of exercise and social interaction for your dog’s health. Wild dogs live in packs, and your dog needs canine interaction, as well. While some dogs are more social than others, if your dog enjoys the opportunity to regularly romp off-leash with same species buddies, make sure to fit this into your weekly schedule. This doesn’t mean you have to budget for doggy day care every day of the week, but consider making a Saturday trip to a dog park part of your and your pup’s routine. As Toronto is a pet-friendly city, there is no shortage of dog-friendly parks and off-leash areas to choose from in our neighbourhoods. Here are a few of my favourite spots —> My Top Toronto Off-Leash Dog Parks.



While you are at work, if left alone and bored, your pup will undoubtedly fill his hours snoozing. Not only can this create sleeping problems at night but it can also lead to obesity and behaviour problems. Having raised a Border Collie since he was 8 weeks old, I can tell you that a bored puppy will chew anything in his way, whether it’s your favourite sweatshirt or the arm of a sofa! Keeping your dog active and busy during the day doesn’t just mean playing outside. Most dogs (especially work and herding dogs) love to have ‘jobs’ while they are home alone. I don’t mean laundry or vacuuming, so don’t get too excited! Chewing is part of life for your dog. It’s helps maintain jaw strength, keeps teeth and gums healthy and relieves anxiety. But to dogs, chewing is simply fun, so make sure your four-legged friend has lots of safe chew toys around. Another fun indoor activity includes food puzzles. These are often in the form of a chew toy with compartments that hold food inside and challenge your dog to reach it. Food puzzles require patience, time and problem solving skills, which are a great way to give the pup some mental exercise in your absence.



The best way to ensure your dog gets a good night’s sleep is to engage him during the day, but it is also important to take time to wind down at night. Make sure your dog has a comfy sleeping spot, and limit pre-bedtime activity to a soothing petting session. Your dog will wake up refreshed and ready to wag. So how do you determine what’s the right kind of ‘comfy sleeping spot’ for your dog? When it comes to sleeping preferences, not all dogs are the same. Whether your dog is an inside dog or “outside” dog, allowed on the furniture or not, will factor into where you bunk your fur-baby down for the night. Of the most popular options, many owners either allow their dog to sleep on their bed, in a dog bed or in a crate. Sleeping on the bed is a cozy option for a dog that's comfortable with its owners. But where a 40-pound dog who sleeps curled up in a ball will probably fit tidily in a bed with two small or medium-size people, an 80-pounder who sprawls may not receive a pleasant welcome.

Also, often dogs with a heavy coat are just too warm to sleep on a mattress with layers of sheets on top of it. My boarder collie, Logan, is one of those dogs. His favourite spot is on the floor, beside the bed, right by the window. The only thing that motivates him to snuggle up on the bed is a thunderstorm.



Although Logan doesn’t seem to mind sleeping on the bare hardwood floor, many dogs prefer a more cushy spot to snooze in. It’s especially important for older dogs that struggle with hip and joint pain to rest on low, soft surfaces. But lets be honest – not many dog beds found in the major chain pet stores are complimentary to our personal design aesthetic. If your home is suffering from “drab dog bed blues” and you don’t mind splurging on your pup, this mid-century modern, handmade bed from Canadian designer Vurv Design is a great solution. If you're looking for a piece that will stand out (in a good way) in your home, you will love these modern dog accessories. 



If you’re looking for something chic but a bit more budget friendly, you will love Bowser, a high-end designer of pet beds. All Bowser beds are manufactured in Canada are are inspected to ensure superior quality and craftsmanship. Also the fabrics are made in domestic mills and do not contain or are produced using harmful substances and chemicals. There is definitely no shortage of options at Bowser. You’ll find a comfy bed for your pet that will also fit with your design style. How cute is this Buttercup Pet Nest for small dogs or cats? It expands to suite the size of the pet and also great for travel.



We can’t talk about creating a restful sleeping environment without mentioning Casper. This mattress maker known for designing an award-winning mattress-in-a-box, has designed a dog mattress that is a universally comfortable sleep surface that caters to canines’ natural behaviours. Similar to the human version of the Casper mattress, this mattress combines pressure relieving memory foam and durable support foam to create the perfect sleep surface. The surface features excess material on top to mimic the sensation of pawing at the ground for a cooler surface as many dogs do before they lie down. The mattress cover is made of durable material, similar to ones used in performance footwear so if your pup likes to chew and scratch, this might be a great option.



Our dogs bring us so much joy. It’s often said that owning a pet enriches one’s life and can make us happier and healthier, so why not return the favour. If you share your life with a four-legged friend and looking for helpful tips on living with pets, check out Tips To Help Pet Owners Keep Their Homes Clean to help you maintain a tidy home. And if you’re looking to purchase a pet-friendly urban space, check out Buying a Condo Your Dog Will Love.

Are you on the hunt for that perfect place to share with your pooch? Do you have questions or topic ideas about caring for dogs in the city? Contact for insights and information as it pertains to Toronto real estate and living with pets.

And please know I’m here to help!

~ monika and the urbaneer team
  earn your trust, then your business

Monika MacMillan, Sales Representative
One Of Steve Fudge's Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 530-1100

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Monika’s Animal House

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