How Much Sleep Does My Dog Need?

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Watching your dog snooze throughout the day can be such a treat, but have you been wondering why your dog sleeps so much? Are you worried that something might be wrong with him? Read on to find out more.

Sleeping pug; Pixabay

Dogs Have Different Sleeping Patterns

Dogs need more sleep than humans do per 24-hour cycle. Adult dogs need an average of 12-14 hours of sleep per day. This is completely normal and should not be a cause for alarm. Most dogs adapt to their human-owner’s sleeping pattern, hence they usually sleep while you’re asleep (about 6-8 hours). The additional sleep that they need will usually occur throughout the day in the form of naps.

Age and breed will also play a part in determining how much a dog sleeps. In general larger breeds such as Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards will need more sleep – about 16-18 hours a day, and smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas or Toy Poodles may get by on as little as 10 hours of sleep a day.

Sleeping Eurasier puppy; Pixabay

Puppies and senior dogs need even more sleep than adult dogs, they average about 18 hours of sleep per day. A puppy will require this much sleep for its growth, and also because he probably wakes up once or twice during the night. On the other hand, you might notice that once your dog reaches his senior years, he sleeps more – this is a natural part of his aging process.

Why Do Dogs Need So Much Sleep?

One reason dogs need so much sleep is because of the quality of their sleep. Dogs reach Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM sleep, aka “deep” sleep) only 10% of the time that they’re asleep, as opposed to humans, who reach REM sleep 25% of the time they’re asleep. It’s during REM sleep that humans and dogs dream, also there may be some twitching of the body and quickened pulse & breathing. Enough REM sleep is needed for health, and for that refreshed feeling when you wake.

Other reasons your dog may sleep so much during the day is he probably awakens a few times during the night, either to get a drink of water or because he hears something that wakes him up, all without you ever knowing. Lastly, your dog may sleep during the day simply because he’s bored, he has nothing else to do while you’re at work during the day. (Check out the stimulating dog toys posted below, to keep your dog entertained while you’re away!).

It’s completely normal for adult dogs to spend 50% of their day asleep, and an additional 30% of their day awake but inactive. That leaves only 20% of the day that your dog is expected to be awake and active.

When You Should Be Concerned

The main thing to watch out for is a sudden change in your dog’s sleeping habits. A good example is older dogs – you might expect that it’s normal for your senior dog to be sleeping longer; however if you’ve noticed that the increase in sleeping hours has occurred suddenly, such that he was sleeping 12-14 hours one day and suddenly he’s asleep up to 18 hours or more each day, and that he’s sluggish even when awake, he may have a health problem that caused this change, and it would be a good idea to see your local vet to for a consult.

Health problems that may affect your dog’s sleep-wake cycle include thyroid conditions, heart conditions, and kidney or liver conditions. Alternatively, a low-quality diet may be the problem. Without the proper nutrients, your dog may be sluggish throughout the day.

If you pay close attention to your dog’s behavior, and make it to that annual consult with your vet each year, you should be able to catch these problems, and hopefully even prevent them.

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