How Many Hours a Day Do Dogs Sleep?
Sleep, eat, nap, play, nap, eat, sleep, repeat….the wonder of a dog’s life! For many pet owners, the sleeping schedule of a dog is an enviable life!
But how many hours of sleep a day do dogs really need? Do Dachshunds need more or less sleep than Danes? Is it ‘normal’ if your dog is sleeping more than half the day away? Omlet knows dogs and we are here to support you and your sleepy pup so everyone can get a good night’s rest!
Why do dogs need so much sleep?
Dogs are natural born social sleepers. Unlike humans who abide by circadian rhythms (or a natural sleep-wake cycle in a 24-hour period), dogs can doze anytime of the day and often in any place! But why so many siestas? Sleep provides the same benefits to dogs as it does their owners – it’s a time for the mind to process all it learned that day. Periodic snooze fests throughout the day allow dogs to rest their brains and process all of the information they have absorbed. Just like humans, a dog’s brain needs time to filter through life events and sleep offers the perfect outlet for that! In addition, dogs have heightened senses of hearing and smelling so their brains are taking in more information at a faster rate. Napping and sleeping gives a dog the recharge they need to keep those sniffers active!
Do certain breeds need more slumber? All tails wag “yes” to that question! Age, breed, and even activity levels all play a role in a dog’s snooze schedule. Sleep is essential for all dogs but there are definitely some that like a good cat, er canine, nap more than others! And if you are a new dog owner with a puppy at home, you need to keep reading…
How much sleep a day do dogs really need?
On average, most dogs sleep 12-14 hours a day. Yes, that is correct – half a day spent in a snoozy dreamland! However, unlike humans who get all their beauty sleep in a 7-9 hour restful night stretch, dogs tend to sleep in more irregular patterns. Our furry friends are sleep savourers and rarely get all of their sleep in one long stretch.
While puppies and senior pups sleep closer to 18-20 hours a day, most dogs clock in the shuteye in 45 minute increments throughout the day. Precisely why a good dog bed is imperative for your four-legged napper to truly relax!
Adult dog slumber
Each breed is different, however, most dogs are considered ‘adult’ between the ages of 1 to 5. Since dogs age faster than humans, this stage of their life is when they are the most active, so sleep is still important…just not as much as when they’re a growing puppy. Adult dogs typically only need 8-12 hours of snoozy time to fully recharge.
You may notice your adult dog playing a hard game of fetch or energetically running around in the backyard only to come to a full stop moments later and go straight to sleep. Consider this their automatic reset and totally normal! Dogs are great listeners to their bodies and very good at reacting to what they physically need. So when their body says it’s time to rest, off to a quick nap they go! In addition, dogs process the environments around them through sniffing, hearing, and seeing. After taking in a lot of smells and sounds all at once, a quick snooze is often in order to help their brain make sense of it all. But don’t worry, they will be up and at it again in no time!
Sleep for puppies and seniors
What do puppies and older senior pups have in common? The need for more sleep! If you have ever had a puppy, you know all too well why raising them is often compared to raising human babies. Puppies are pro-nappers! They grow quickly – reaching full maturity as early as 6 months old for some breeds – so they also burn energy quickly. With all that playtime in the early months, puppies need to recharge with frequent sleeps to maintain that level of fun.
Senior dogs like lots of naps too, but not because of the same reasons as puppies. Around age 6 for most dog breeds, their metabolism starts to slow down so sleep is imperative to restore their energy. Just like humans, as dogs get older, their sleep gets longer. Your senior pup will tire faster from any exertion and sleep is their conduit to recharge, replenish, and refresh. So don’t worry if your pouncing puppy or senior pup is snoozing 18-20 hours a day off and on – it’s completely normal!
Day vs. night sleep
If you had the option to stay up late or sleep in late, which would you choose? Your dog may choose either – OR both – depending on the day! We know that dogs can sleep for 50% or more of their day, but when they get that sleep is dependent upon their age, breed, and the sleeping habits of you, their owner. While humans wait until night time to rest the brain to organize the thoughts and events of the day, dogs can get the same organization of thoughts with frequent sleeps throughout the day.
Dogs will often mimic the sleep patterns of their owners. If you maintain a 9-5 work schedule, you can expect that your dog will catch most of their zzzs while you are at the office. Exercise and activity are important for both a dog’s physical and mental health, so be sure to get your canine companion out for a walk or a good game of fetch before turning in for the night. Tired dogs will stay at rest longer for a night time slumber!
Does breed matter?
So your pug is sleeping more than your border collie? We know that age plays a role in a dog’s sleep patterns, but breed of dog can also be a factor. If you are looking for a lazy fur friend to spend your days with, you may want to consider a Mastiff, Bulldog, St. Bernard, or Beagle as your companion. Conversely, if you are seeking a minimal nap active pup for lots of outdoor activities, then Pomeranians, Labrador Retrievers, or Airedale Terriers will be more your style.
Why do certain dogs need more sleep than others? Exactly how much sleep a dog needs depends on what their specific breed was bred for. For example, dogs that were bred to watch over the livestock or be alert to dangers are less likely to doze off as frequently during the day as their canine counterparts. In addition, large dog breeds may tend to nap more often because they tire faster with all that extra puppy love to carry around!
Let sleeping dogs lie
Don’t bother fixing something that isn’t broken, right? When it comes to dogs and sleep, that is mostly true. Keeping an eye on your dog’s sleep patterns is always important as it will tell you a lot about their physical and mental health. Here are a few key indicators to keep in mind!
A dog in motion stays in motion! Especially for dogs that are home alone most of the day without any stimulation, it is important for their health and sleep to still get exercise each day. Walks, chew toys and interactive games are all good options to keep fido active and sleepy!
Indigestible diets can lead to lethargy, so be mindful of what fido is feasting on. Just like we don’t always feel great after a huge buffet of greasy food, our canine companions can also feel the impacts of a not-so-indulge-worthy meal.
Anxiety isn’t just for humans – a worried dog can have irregular sleep too! Yes, our furry family members can feel stress, so if you start to notice a change in their normal sleep patterns (i.e. up all night when they used to snooze through until morning), schedule a visit to the vet to get your dog checked out.
Can you sleep well when it’s too hot or too cold? Neither can your pup! Remember, dogs don’t sweat – they pant. So if you notice they are panting heavily after exertion, they likely need to cool down before a snooze. And if they are curled up in a tight ball before bed, that might mean they need a blanket to get some zzz’s!
Better sleeping habits
Thankfully, identifying the reasons your furry friend may not be sleeping their best is a pretty easy task. Once you pinpoint the issues, you can easily encourage better sleep habits with these tips:
Give a dog a bone! Chewing promotes relaxation for your four-legged friend and is a great stimulation activity for fido while you are at work all day. So stock up on chew toys to encourage more restful slumber!
Healthy diets promote healthy sleepers
Well-balanced diets aren’t just for humans – your dog needs good nutrition, too! Nourishment of high quality proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber will ensure good health and good sleep. And don’t forget regular health and hygiene will also ensure better sleeping habits for dogs of all ages and breeds!
Comfort is key!
Finding ways to comfort an anxious pup can be as easy as finding the right bed! We spend hours debating over the right mattress for ourselves, we often forget that the right dog bed can make all the difference in our pup’s sleep!
Climate is everything!
In the hot summer months, or if your big dog is just a hot snoozer, consider a cooling mat to keep those naps nice and cool! And when the winter temps blow in, remember that dogs tend to sleep more because there is less sunlight for them to produce melatonin! So be sure to have their favorite dog blanket on hand to get cosy again.
So whether you have a puppy or a senior, a greyhound or a German Shepherd, all dogs need sleep! Life is ruff for our furry friends and sleep is how they grow and stay healthy. But as man’s best friend knows best, when the going gets tough, take a nap!
This entry was posted in Dogs