Associations between osteoarthritis and duration and quality of night-time rest in dogs

Melissa I Smith, Michael T Mendl*, Jo C Murrell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


Human patients with chronic pain from osteoarthritis often report impaired sleep, but it is not yet known if sleep is also impaired in dogs with osteoarthritis. This study aimed to compare the night-time sleep behaviour of osteoarthritic (N = 20) and healthy control (N = 21) dogs over a 28-day period, using an actigraphic device (the FitBark activity monitor) and an owner questionnaire designed to measure sleep quality (the SNoRE). Actigraphic data were aggregated to estimate the time each dog spent resting each night, and questionnaires were completed every 7 days. Data were analysed using robust mixed-effects linear regression. The presence of clinical signs of osteoarthritis had a significant effect on actigraphic recordings, with osteoarthritic dogs spending lower proportions of the night period resting (and therefore higher proportions of the night period active) compared to control dogs (z = 2.21; P = 0.0268). However, there was no significant difference between the SNoRE scores of osteoarthritic and control dogs (z = −1.01, p = 0.312). The actigraphic findings of this study suggest that dogs with osteoarthritis may experience impaired sleep, which could have important welfare implications and merits further study.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105661
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Early online date27 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP) programme, grant number BB/J014400/1 . We are grateful to the owners of the dogs for their enthusiastic participation in the study, and to three anonymous referees for their helpful and constructive comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Actigraphy
  • Chronic pain
  • Dog
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep


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