9 Explanations For How Long Your Dog Sleeps
Between nighttime sleep and daytime naps, dogs sleep 10-14 hours each day on average. Very young or old dogs usually sleep longer, as do larger breeds of dogs, and environmental factors like exercise and meal frequency can affect the length of sleep, too.
Since dogs are lighter sleepers than humans, they need more naps during the day.
Some natural factors like age, breed, and size can lead to increased drowsiness.
External factors like co-sleeping, frequency of meals, and busy environments can also impact sleeping habits.
Did you know?
Newborn and senior dogs can sometimes sleep as much as 18 hours every day. During the middle years, 10-12 hours of sleep is more common.
The average dog sleeps twelve hours every day, with that number changing based on the pup’s situation. That amount of snoozing is normal most of the time, but it can be an indicator of underlying problems. Here are 9 explanations for how long your dogs sleep.
1. Dogs Sleep More Than Humans
If you’re reading this, you’re probably human. And if you’re a human, you probably need to nod off for about eight hours, most of which will come while you’re snug in bed at night.
Your furry friends, however, are slightly different.
How much sleep a dog needs depends on several factors, as we’ll see throughout this article, but their overall baseline is higher than humans
On average, dogs require about twelve hours of sleep per day – two hours more than humans. And if they don’t get what they need, there can be consequences similar to what happens when their owners get sleep deprived. Sadly, this has been proven in some old studies.
So, it’s possible that it just seems like your dogs are sleeping a lot because they’re sleeping more than you are.
2. Dogs Sleep Differently Than Humans
Another possibility is that your pup’s sleeping schedule makes it seem like they’re sleeping a lot when really they’re just sleeping differently than you do.
There’s no doubt that plenty of people enjoy a good nap, but nine times out of ten, dogs will beat us in a midday sleepathon.
A study on canine sleep habits showed that dogs have much more fragmented sleep during the night, meaning they wake up more often. This makes them great guards, but it also means they need to make up for lost zzz’s. That typically comes in the form of afternoon naps.
So if your little guy sneaks off a couple of times during the day to lay down, leave him be.
3. Dog Age Influences Sleep
Dogs and humans are very different in how they sleep, but they also share plenty of similarities.
There’s a reason we describe heavy sleep as “sleeping like a baby,” and dogs must bark something similar, because young puppies have an enormous appetite for sleep. And just as humans tend to sleep more as we age, so do dogs.
Studies looking into how much dogs sleep by age found that the first eight months in a dog’s life are similar to the first 2 years in a human, meaning they need a whole lotta sleep – as much as 18 hours in a day. From 8-14 months their sleep patterns seem to resemble humans in early childhood and on.
A separate study from 2012 found that daytime activity in 11-14 year-old dogs was 42% lower than 1.5-4.5 year-olds and 17% lower than those aged 7-9 years. So, just like humans, when a pooch gets older their hours in bed pile up.
If you’re wondering why your dog is always sleeping, age may be one of the first things you should consider.
4. Active Dogs Sleep More
Another similarity that dogs have with humans is that the more they move, the more easily they end up drifting off into dreamland.
A study from 2018 that looked at the effects of high activity levels on dogs’ sleep showed that the busier the dog was, the sleepier they got.
The study took 16 family dogs from 1.5-7 years of age and put them through things like competition and advanced dog training on an active day. At night, the dogs’ sleep was studied with the same type of recording methods (otherwise known as polysomnography) used to measure human sleep.
According to the findings, “Following an active day, dogs slept more.” A deeper dive into the results revealed effects including falling asleep faster and spending more time in rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep.
In other words, how much dogs sleep is heavily influenced by how much energy they consume throughout the day.
5. Different Dog Breeds Sleep Differently
How much dogs sleep by breed is another important factor contributing to a dog’s sleep needs. Some of that comes down to size, but being smaller doesn’t always mean that a dog needs less sleep. Just ask a bulldog owner.
If a dog is bred for more activity, they usually need less sleep. Examples of that include border collies that could chase sheep all day or golden retrievers that just want to fetch things for their hunting human. Dogs that sleep more may include giant breeds like Mastiffs and St. Bernards.
If their original purpose wasn’t to be super active or if they’re on the larger side, this may explain why your dog is often sleeping.
6. Environmental Factors Make a Difference
Your puppy is a sensitive creature, and changes to their environment can have important consequences. Overstimulation, for example, can make it very hard for them to sleep.
A study looking into the effects of different environments on dogs found that placing them in a shelter led to them sleeping 14.3% less during the day, but much more heavily at night.
If you’ve put your dog in a new or unexpected environment, it could explain why your dog is sleeping more at one part of the day than another.
7. Sleeping With A Human Can Impact A Dog’s Sleep
It’s the same for our four-legged friends. Since dogs are light sleepers, any disturbance during the night from their human partner can lead to more nighttime awakenings, and more naps during the day to compensate.
This can turn into a difficult cycle since dogs are known to produce more awakenings in humans, too.
To prevent awakenings and allow higher quality sleep, the American Kennel Club recommends dog beds so that both pet and human can get better rest. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t co-sleep with your dog, but it does mean it’s important for your dog to have the option of retreating to their very own bed.
If you’re looking for a dog bed that will last, our Pupper Pod might be a helpful option. It’s made with breathable, eco-friendly materials, and it molds your dog’s body to provide soothing anxiety relief (as reviewed by Petkeen also). Using a bed like this can help your furry friend find the quality sleep they need and keep them from excessive sleepiness during the day.
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8. Feeding Habits Impact Sleep Patterns
Ever had a big plate of thanksgiving dinner and felt like you could fall asleep right at the table? Your pets may feel the same way after a large meal!
One study found that regardless of age, giving a dog more frequent meals led to fewer, but longer naps. In addition, that extra sleep during the day meant that the dogs went to bed earlier and woke up earlier, too.
Total sleep times didn’t really differ. Only the sleep patterns did.
If you think your dog is sleeping too much, it may be a good idea for you to look closely at how often it’s napping and for how long. The feeding situation could explain that schedule.
9. Health Factors Might Be At Play
If you’re still concerned with how much your pup is sleeping, poor health could be to blame.
Dogs can suffer from many of the same conditions as humans, from temporary illnesses like food poisoning and infection to chronic issues like diabetes. Even hypothyroidism can affect dogs.
Keep an eye on symptoms like serious lethargy, weight gain, and shedding. Sudden changes in your dog’s habits could be cause for concern, so if your active pup is suddenly prone to sleeping all day, it’s a good idea to reach out to your vet.
On the other hand, if your pup just tends to be a couch potato in general, it might be perfectly normal! It’s always worth checking with a veterinary professional, but as long as your dog is healthy and getting enough exercise, lots of naps might just be a part of their ideal lifestyle.
Dogs of different ages and breeds have different sleep needs. Changes to your pup’s sleep pattern may come about as a result of a shifting environment or health factors, so if you notice your dog dozing off a lot, you may need to consider if it’s a symptom of another problem. However, dogs snooze a lot more than humans in general, so there’s a good chance it’s perfectly normal.
As a dog owner, paying attention to your pup’s sleep habits and making sure they’ve got a comfy spot to rest can go a long way towards keeping your best friend healthy and happy.