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How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?

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Dog Care By Meg Marrs 3 min read April 2, 2019 2 Comments

how much sleep do dogs need

How Much Do Dogs Usually Sleep?

Most dogs sleep 12-14 hours a day, although this number can vary considerably based on a dog’s:

  • Age. Puppies and senior dogs often need more sleep than adults dogs, usually getting closer to 18-20 hours of sleep per day.
  • Size. Larger dogs often sleep more than smaller ones (especially giant breeds like Newfoundlands or Great Danes).
  • Activity Level. Dogs that are less active are more likely to nap out of boredom than active dogs or working dogs. Keep your dog happy by ensuring they get enough walks and have toys to amuse them.
  • Personal Preference. Some dogs simply like to sleep more than others (just like people).

How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?

It’s hard to know exactly how much sleep dogs should be getting. It’s not as cut and dry as it is for humans. Dogs don’t conk out for 8 hours at a time like people do. Instead, dogs:

  • Nap Consistently Throughout The Day. This is an instinct taken from their wolf ancestors, who would constantly half-sleep throughout the entire day in order to stay generally alert and aware of their surroundings in case of predators. It simply wasn’t safe back then for dogs to go completely into sleep mode like we do.
  • Are Super Flexible Sleepers. While humans stick to a fairly regular sleep schedule, dogs are very flexible sleepers and don’t have a consistent sleeping pattern. They can be napping one minute while bored and off barking at an enemy squirrel the next moment. Dogs need to be flexible sleepers so that they can rest when it’s convenient but be on full alert if trouble comes calling.
  • Need Very Little REM Sleep. Humans spend a significant amount of sleep time in REM mode (20-25%), but dogs only spend 8-12% of their sleep time in REM mode. While humans do a shorter period of deeper sleep, dogs do a longer period of napping half-sleep.

When you break down a dog’s day, you may be surprised to learn that:

  • 50% is spent sleeping
  • 30% is spent lying down, but awake
  • 20% is spent being active and moving around

Is My Dog Sleeping Too much?

Even if your dog seems to be sleeping a lot, it’s probably not something to be concerned about. Some dogs just like to snooze more than others!

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However, you will want to keep an eye out if your dog’s sleeping habits suddenly change drastically. Sleep changes can occur as a result of:

  • Food. If you switch to a new dog food and see your dog’s energy languish, this could be a sign that your dog is not getting the nutrients he or she needs.
  • Health. Sudden shifts in sleep habits could mean that your dog has an underlying illness.

If you witness drastic, sudden shifts in your dog’s sleeping habits, it’s best to consult a vet to be safe and rule out anything sinister and to make sure your dog is getting the nutrients he or she needs to stay healthy.

Is My Dog Not Sleeping Enough?

Maybe instead of sleeping too much, you worry your dog is not sleeping enough. Again, it’s important to be aware of sudden shifts in your dog’s sleeping habits.

Some reasons why dogs may have trouble sleeping include:

  • Physical Pain. Dogs experience arthritics or other pain may not sleep well.
  • Emotional Discomfort. Dogs suffering from stress or anxiety may have a hard time resting.
  • Medication. Trouble sleeping could be a side affect of a medication your dog is prescribed.
  • Not Enough Exercise. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise throughout the day, he or she may be antsy and energetic.

If your restless pup isn’t sleeping through the night, make sure to check out our guide on how to get your dog to sleep!

Where Should Dogs Sleep?

Some owners prefer that their dog sleep in their own bed, while others share their bed with their canine pal.

Even if your dog tends to sleep with you when you go to bed at night, we recommend that you have a dog bed or comfy, cushioned area in your home just for your dog, where your dog can lounge and nap. You’ll definitely want to get a dog bed if you have a senior dog, as they aren’t as easily able to jump up on beds and couches to find a comfortable sleeping spot.

Remember, dogs nap throughout the day, but they still want to be by your side! Set up a dog bed in an area of the house that you frequent, so that your canine pal can snooze away while still keeping an eye on you.

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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Dries Lubbe

Thanks.I have a Dobermann.He is about 10 years old.During the night he sleeps on the couch but only a few hours and will then sleep with us on the bed.If not desturbed he will sometimes stay in the room untill 12:00.I dont think he is really sleeping because as soon you enters the room he is awake.We some times leave him alone at home when we go away over weekends with the backdoor open and enough food and water.I guess that is why he likes to stay in the room.At 17:00 he becomes active and will remain barking untill I went outside with him.He will then bark at all the neighbours dogs and want me to call them if they are not in sight.He even wants me to talk and pet the other dogs and only then he is satisfied and allow me to go back in the house without barking.I used to walk with him on a chain in the street which he enjoyed a lot.The moment I put on my running shoes he goes mad knowing that we are going for a walk.Unfortunately I lost my leg last year so we cant do the walk thing any more.My wife cant take him for a walk as he is to powerfull and might brake loose if he sees a cat,other dog or a person coming to close to you.

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Di Woodward

Interesting information on sleeping dogs. My girl is 13 and has some arthritis – she has boxes at different levels to get on my bed and the sofa. No longer sleeps with her head on my pillow, sadly. Gets off after a couple of hours and likes to sleep on the carpet. She has a thick duvet doubled with a cover and pillow near my bed. I have noticed she is always sleeping on it when I wake up. Very worrying in the mornings as she doesn’t stir when I get up and I always check she is still breathing! Still has one walk in the park to be social and have a little scamper. Also smaller walk after lunch and we sit outside to watch people . A last wee about 7pm. Eats well and loves cooked chicken. Vet said no red meat as she is a little overweight.

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