How Much Do Dogs Sleep? How Much Do Dogs Need To Sleep?


how much do dogs sleep

There are some things most animals can’t exist without, and sleep is one of them. Humans value sleep, but dogs seem to enjoy it extensively. As a pet parent, you might have realized weird sleeping patterns in your dog, and you want to understand: how much do dogs sleep?

On average, an adult dog sleeps for about 12 to 14 hours daily—puppies who spend the entire day exploring and learning sleep longer. Senior dogs’ sleeping hours lie within the average. Aged dogs require much rest and might sleep longer. Your dog’s breed also influences sleeping patterns.

Here, we’ll discuss, in detail, how much do dogs sleep, how much dogs are expected to sleep to remain healthy, factors that influence your dog’s sleep pattern, and much more. By reading this article, you get to find out the importance of sleep to your dog, and when to get worried about your dog’s sleeping pattern.

Ready to learn? Let’s jump in now!

How Much Do Dogs Sleep?

sleeping grey haired dog

Do you ever wonder why your dog is always napping? It may appear as if your dog sleeps all day and does nothing much. Most of the time, this is a natural occurrence; other times, it’s not normal, and you have a reason to worry.

Even as you read this article, chances are, your dog is probably sleeping! Most dogs typically spend half of the day sleeping. It’s interesting to know that unlike humans, dogs spread out their sleep across the day. That tells you they have flexible sleeping patterns.

Your dog will readily spring up when it’s action time and go back to sleep when bored. For instance, dogs that keep guard remain awake throughout the night. That explains why farm dogs and police dogs sleep less compared to other dogs.

Sleeping patterns will always vary from one dog to the other. According to experts, the amount of sleep a dog needs changes with age. All dog parents should know that irrespective of the age, how much your dog sleeps also depends on their lifestyle, environment, and health status. More on this later.

How Much Do Dogs Need To Sleep?

So how much is normal when it comes to your dog’s sleep?

Pups tend to be awake most often. It’s because they’re spring-loaded and always bouncing from one corner to the other with so much life. Despite their aggressiveness and extra energy, pups require up to 18 hours of sleep daily. Due to the daily activities of learning and exploring, puppies consume a lot of energy, and they need to sleep more to relax and rejuvenate.

Adult dogs need 12-14 hours of sleep to remain active and healthy. Most people may think that this is a lot, but in the wild, dogs spend a lot of their time napping, only to wake up when it’s time to hunt, play or mate. Large breeds of dogs usually sleep more than smaller breeds.

A dog that is seven years and above is considered to be senior. Some dogs like toy poodles, Chihuahuas, and terriers have a longer life span. They become seniors when they turn ten years. Old dogs sleep much more (16-18 hours a day) compared to younger dogs. Their sleeping pattern shifts because of no stimulation and boredom.

What Are the Factors Affecting Your Dog’s Sleep?

You already have the idea that a dog’s sleeping time varies based on several factors. Without further ado, here are factors that may affect your dog’s sleeping pattern. They include:

Age

Dog owners who have puppies know that they are champion nappers. One of the main reasons why puppies sleep more is because they are growing up. They grow at a faster rate, and this consumes a lot of energy. A puppy’s body needs a lot of time to recover from the many activities they indulged throughout.

Senior dogs sleep more due to biological reasons. As a dog ages, its metabolism slows down. Therefore, they need to rest more frequently to recover lost energy.

Breed

Your dog’s breed affects its sleep immensely. Big dogs sleep more than small ones. A St. Bernard, for example, sleeps more than a Chihuahua. Bigger dogs sleep more because they grow tired faster—the weight they haul around will tire them out fast. According to experts, some of the sleepiest dog breeds include boxers, beagles, German shepherds, bulldogs, golden retrievers, and Labrador retrievers.

Working breeds, despite their size, sleep a little during the day. These dogs get most of their sleep when off duty. Short snorted dogs sleep more than other dogs. However, their short snouts may cause them to snore when sleeping, resulting in restlessness during the napping hours.

Activity Levels

Active dogs tend to sleep more than those who lie about idle. Dogs that exercise daily also sleep more compared to those that don’t. Depending on the age, size, and breed, a dog requires at least two daily exercise hours. Bigger dogs need more exercise to maintain acceptable health standards.

Police dogs and farm dogs are known to sleep fewer hours than other dogs. It’s because they’re regularly engaged to perform duties. On the bright side, such dogs will sleep well when they get time. Sleeping helps them to relax for them to cope with routine activities.

Environment

Our environment keeps on changing, either for better or worse. All these changes can affect your dog’s sleep. For example, artificial light may affect how your dog sleeps; it may fail to know day or night. Also, if your dog finds itself in a new environment, it may have trouble sleeping.

You probably don’t know that dogs are social sleepers. By that, it means that their sleep is heavily influenced by the environment they occupy. A dog owner who doesn’t keep their dog in a clean environment may affect its sleeping pattern. For instance, it’s hard to sleep in a place that is wet and unclean.

Still, on environmental changes, here’s what you’re likely to realize in your dog if it’s in such a situation.

  • Introducing a new disturbing pet will alter the dog’s sleep because they’ll need to find a calm spot in the house.
  • Hot weather in summer exposes your dog to heat exhaustion, and this influences its sleep throughout the season.
  •  A change in residence or apartment will alter the dog’s sleep because it’s not used in the area.
  • Change in your schedule. If you change or do away with the time you spent with your dog, everything becomes boring, which alters the sleep.

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions disrupt your dog’s sleeping schedule negatively. A dog that struggles to sleep may have an underlying medical condition. If you notice a dog that was once sleeping well change its sleeping course, don’t stare and look confused, it is advisable to take it to the vet for a check-up.

Some medical states like lethargy may be an indication of a chronic condition. Some conditions are life-threatening if left unchecked. Others are quite painful, and this may affect your dog’s sleeping schedule.

dog with eyemask and clock

Dog Clothing, Especially Collars

A collar may look good on your dog, but it may be causing so much discomfort. Before acquiring the collar and dressing your dog on its neck, make sure it doesn’t hurt or burden your furry friend.

If it’s a burden, the dog will rarely sleep with peace. Even when you have dressed your dog rightly, ensure you monitor it closely. The best thing is to take it off at the right time to allow your dog maximum comfort. As for puppies, always take their collars off when they are in their crates.

Understanding Your Dog’s Sleeping Schedule

Before we talk about the sleeping schedule, let’s understand the dog’s sleeping stages.

You may have realized that your dog spends around 50 percent of its day sleeping. The rest of the time is spent lying or walking around. Like us, dogs experience different stages of sleep. Usually, dogs sleep a lot, but in little increments. The bursts of sleep may be short, but deep. Surprisingly, in as little as 15 minutes, your dog may be off in wonderland.

Back to the sleeping schedule: Each dog has a unique sleeping cycle. Dogs sleep multiple times in the day. Scientists describe this sleeping pattern as polyphasic. Understanding your pet’s sleeping schedule will help you notice when something goes wrong. One of the easiest ways of monitoring sleeping habits is by establishing a routine.

By keeping a consistent routine, your dog will know when it’s time to play and sleep. You can engage your dog in an activity like walking before and after work. While the routine may be disrupted during holidays and weekends, it is advisable always to try to stick to one pattern.

More so, your dog should sleep in a particular bed every evening. Taking your furry friend with you to bed will deprive both of you adequate sleep due to tossing and turning. New pet owners should take the time to understand their dog’s behavior. The sooner you can identify an issue, the earlier you can fix it.

Several common signs show that your dog’s sleeping pattern has been disoriented. They include:

  • Restlessness
  • Grumpiness
  • Disorientation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Poor concentration
  • Moodiness

How Does Sleep Impact Your Dog’s Health?

The quality of sleep your dog gets is directly linked to its health. Exercising your dog will help it utilize excess energy. It will also help improve the quality of sleep it gets. Quality sleep plays a critical role in ensuring your dog lives a long and happy life. Sleep ensures that your dog’s physical health remains on point. Science has also shown us that sleep helps the body heal and repair blood vessels and heart.

A dog deprived of sleep is at the risk of acquiring conditions like obesity, heart disease, depression, and heart disease. Your dog’s immune system grows weaker if it doesn’t get adequate sleep, and that may expose your dog to many medical conditions. Quality sleep also enhances your dog’s cognitive abilities. It will be able to learn and retain information quickly.

Sleep is a great pain reliever. Dogs that go through chronic inflammation due to conditions like arthritis stand to benefit immensely from sleep. During the deep rest, your dog gets to curb levels of inflammation. When inflammation reduces, your dog gets relieved from pain. Joint pain, for example, becomes worse when your dog is unable to sleep.

When Should You Be Worried About Your Dog’s Sleeping Schedule?

While it is normal for dogs to sleep for long, excessive sleeping, or no sleep at all may be a sign of trouble. So, when should sleeping be a cause for alarm? Monitor your dog for the following:

Signs of Lethargy

A lethargic dog will have difficulties eating, and that will alter its sleeping pattern. When your dog exhibits such signs, you should take it to a vet immediately. Lethargy, commonly thought to be excessive tiredness, is a significant symptom in many dog diseases. It’s a symptom associated with diseases like diabetes, depression, and parvovirus.

Signs of a Sleeping Disorder

Both humans and dogs suffer from various sleeping disorders. The signs you exhibit when you have a sleeping disorder are often similar to those your canine friend shows. We now know that dogs sleep between 12-14 hours a day.

A dog suffering from a sleep disorder may always cry, whine, and remain restless during the night. During the day, you may notice that the dog is sluggish and has difficulties performing ordinary tasks. Again, most dogs that have a sleeping disorder will engage in physical activity while sleeping.

Loud snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea. However, this is not always the case, but it is worthy of investigating. If your dog collapses after engaging in physical exercise, it may be experiencing narcolepsy. Narcolepsy causes a dog to fall asleep or fall sideways suddenly. Luckily, this condition is not life-threatening. It’s manageable through lifestyle changes.

Signs of Aggressiveness

Since your canine lacks adequate sleep, stress hormones build up in their body. When this happens, the dog will show behavioral problems and become aggressive. The physical activity may even turn violent in some instances.

Signs of Insomnia or Dementia

Like people, dogs also suffer from insomnia. Dogs are rarely affected by this condition, but there have been a few cases. The leading causes of insomnia are lack of exercise and underlying medical conditions. Senior dogs are usually at a higher risk of getting insomnia compared to younger ones.

If your dog continually paces at night, it may be suffering from dementia. Cries usually accompany the pacing. Senior dogs are generally very vulnerable to this condition. Dementia causes your dog to lack sleep.

How Do You Improve Your Dog’s Sleep?

Quality sleep is not just a matter of hours. There are many things that pet parents need to do to ensure their dogs get quality sleep. They include:

Exercising your dog is an excellent way to enhance your dog’s health. Exercise will help your dog get rid of excess energy; this will help your pet sleep soundly.

Well-fed and watered dogs have no problems sleeping. You must ensure that your canine friend gets adequate food and water at all times. The food offered must be well balanced to ensure it has all the essential nutrients your dog needs to remain healthy.

Comfort is also essential if you want your dog to sleep well. Make sure your dog retires to a clean, warm, and comfortable place. Dog parents should consider buying their pet a comfy doggie bed. Your dog’s resting place should also have enough space roll over, curl up, and stretch.

Visit the vet regularly to help you discover problems before they escalate. It will also allow you to find out what you can do to improve your pet’s quality of life.

A dog that experiences pain due to medical issues may lack sleep. Buying an orthopedic mattress for your pup will significantly improve its chances of getting a good night’s sleep. The bed will help to get rid of pressure points. With time, the dog will start feeling better. 

funny sleeping chihuahua tongue out

How Much Do Dogs Sleep? The Summary

So, how much do dogs sleep? How much do dogs need to sleep? The simple answer is dogs sleep for 12 to 14 hours daily. However, the sleep duration depends on the particular dog’s breed, age, lifestyle, health well-being, and environmental changes.

Dogs are our best friends and deserve kind and humane treatment. By understanding intricate things about your dog’s sleep, you improve its living standards because you can know when things get out of hand.

How has the experience been for you? Does your dog have a perfect sleeping schedule? What about your dog’s sleeping hours? Let’s hear from you, and thank you for reading up to this far.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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