The Sleep of Shelter Dogs Was Not Disrupted by Overnight Light Rather than Darkness in a Crossover Trial
Department of Clinical Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Centro de Investigaciones Cerebrales, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa-Enríquez 91090, Mexico
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 September 2019 / Revised: 3 October 2019 / Accepted: 6 October 2019 / Published: 14 October 2019
Dogs are often left unattended overnight in shelters. This has led shelter mangers to worry that the dogs were suffering from separation anxiety and, therefore, exhibiting stereotypic or repetitive behaviors such as pacing, barking or digging at exits. Mangers also worried that dogs exposed to light at night were not able to sleep or slept less because some areas of the shelter were lit for security reasons. The ten dogs in this study were walked twice daily and provided with many enrichment devices and music during the day. They were housed in individual rooms each with a window allowing visualization of the dog by the public and vice versa. The dogs slept 10.8 h/night when in darkness and 10.5 h/night when their pens were lightened; there was no significant difference. They exhibited no stereotypic behaviors. They slept in bouts of slightly less than an hour, arising after each bout to stand up and then lie down again. Apparently, these well-stimulated shelter dogs slept soundly in the absence of people.