It’s common for first-time dog owners to be surprised at just how much time their new canine pal spends sleeping.
It appears that our dogs sleep while we sleep, doze while we’re at work, and snore on the sofa as we try to watch TV! It’s as if they sleep all day, every day, and do little else!
Of course, this isn’t the case, but how much do dogs sleep? How many hours per day? And why do dogs sleep so much?
Contents & Quick Navigation
- How Much do Dogs Sleep? How many Hours a Day?
- How Much do Puppies Sleep?
- Why do Dogs Sleep So Much?What’s the Science Behind Dog Sleep Patterns?
- When There’s Nothing to do, Dogs Will Sleep
- The Link Between Diet and Sleep
- Can Excessive Sleeping Signal Health Problems?
- What if My Dog Isn’t Sleeping Much at All?
How Much do Dogs Sleep? How many Hours a Day?
Although the exact amount of sleep your dog will enjoy in a 24-hour period varies, the average is generally around 12 to 14 hours a day.
Older dogs are known to sleep more although they tend to get up and move around more at night due to their weaker bladders.
Similarly, larger dogs tend to indulge in more sleep time than smaller breeds just because they tire quicker and require more energy to be active.
How Much do Puppies Sleep?
Just like human babies, puppies will sleep even more than adult dogs – for up to around 20 hours a day in some cases!
According to vetinfo.com, puppies sleep a lot more because they are developing at an incredible rate, burning up vast amounts of energy by growing and so they need more rest.
Puppies do need this extra rest too. If they have too much play and awake time, their bodies generate adrenalin to keep them awake and they become restless and unable to settle down. This can not only result in slightly stunted development but typically results in bad behavior too.
Why do Dogs Sleep So Much?What’s the Science Behind Dog Sleep Patterns?
The primary reason for dogs sleeping so much more than humans is they snooze much less deeply and so their quality of sleep is much lower.
This explains why they’re so quick to start barking at any sound of someone at your front door, regardless of whether they’ve been asleep just moments before.
REM (Rapid eye movement) sleep is the state of deep sleep that’s most needed and rejuvenating, (and also where we’re most likely to dream.)
While humans spend around 25 percent of their sleep time in REM, dogs are likely to spend much less time in this deep sleeping mode – as little as between 10 to 12 percent of their total sleep time, in fact.
Additionally, while we humans sleep in one long block of 7 to 9 hours every night, your dog’s sleep pattern is much more interrupted. Consequently, they need much more sleep time to be as well rested as us humans.
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When There’s Nothing to do, Dogs Will Sleep
Another reason you may find your dog sleeping a lot is because there is little else for them to do.
Dogs don’t have TV or Facebook to occupy them in moments of boredom, so they’ll sleep instead. This is why you’ll typically find working dogs sleep less than their domestic counterparts, as they are stimulated for more time during the day.
If you think your dog could be bored, remember that it’s easy to start engaging with them – walks, playing games like fetch and simply interacting with them will keep their minds and bodies active when they would otherwise be napping.
This video is full of ideas on how to best relieve your dog’s boredom and keep them active:
The Link Between Diet and Sleep
Diet can also play a significant role in your dog’s sleeping habits as it’s from their food that dogs source their energy.
If you’re feeding them low-quality food that’s full of cheap filler, they won’t be getting the nutrition they need to be active so are likely to sleep more.
A small tweak to your dog’s diet allowing them to eat more nutrient-dense food should mean that they have more energy to engage in play and exercise. Lower nutrient food requires more time and energy to digest so can really slow your dog down.
Can Excessive Sleeping Signal Health Problems?
While plenty of sleep is normal for the majority of dogs, a sudden change in sleeping patterns – for instance, sleeping a lot more or displaying signs of lethargy – is not. This could indicate a health problem.
Canine depression, diabetes and hyperthyroidism can all cause your dog to become lethargic and sleep much more than normal. Infectious diseases like distemper, parvovirus, rabies and Lyme disease will also have a similar effect.
Be sure to consult your vet if you notice any sudden changes in your dog’s sleeping pattern or if you’re concerned they’re sleeping excessively, to rule out any underlying health conditions.
What if My Dog Isn’t Sleeping Much at All?
On the flip side, you should also consult your vet if you’re worried that your dog isn’t sleeping enough. Certain factors that can cause restlessness in dogs include metabolic conditions like hyperthyroidism, medication side effects, anxiety, chaotic households or even allergies.
There are plenty of high-quality dog beds on the market that will ensure your dog has a restful and supported night’s sleep, which is particularly important for older dogs or those suffering from physical discomfort.
If you live in a particularly hot or cold climate that you think may affect your dog’s ability to sleep, take a look at the relevant accessories on the market.
Cooling pads and air-conditioners may be necessary, for example, if you live in an unusually hot climate while blankets and special dog sweaters may be in order in colder locations.