A dog’s sleeping pattern is quite different from a human’s, and the amount a dog sleeps is dependent upon size and breed. Generally, smaller breeds of dog require less sleep than bigger breeds.
An inactive dog, one that spends most of its time at home, in the yard, or indoors, tends to sleep more often than a dog that spends its time outdoors at the park or on long walks with the owner.
Stages of a Dog’s Sleep
Because dogs don’t have a regular sleep pattern like humans, they tend to need more rest to achieve the R.E.M stage of sleep.
The first stage of sleep is called Slow Wave Sleep (SWS). It occurs when the brain has less activity and mental functions are slow, but the body is still alert.
The second stage of sleep is called Rapid Eye Movement, more commonly known as R.E.M. This is a deeper sleep when the brain has significantly higher brain activity, noticeable eye movements, body twitches, and noises.
As an example, humans tend to spend anywhere between 20 and 25 percent of their sleep time in the R.E.M stage, whereas dogs only spend between 8 and 12 percent in the R.E.M sleep mode.
How Long Do Dogs Sleep?
On average, dogs tend to sleep for 12 to 14 hours a day, but if you think that this duration is applicable to every dog, then you are mistaken. The number of hours that a dog sleeps a day depends on whether it is a puppy, an adult dog, or an old dog.
To begin with, puppies sleep throughout the day as they need to recoup their energy. Surprisingly, puppies can sleep up to 20 hours a day. On the other hand, an average old dog sleeps for about 12 hours a day.
In addition, just like older adults, even old dogs need more rest than average adult dogs. Old dogs, for their part, can sleep for up to 15 hours a day, while they have been recorded to sleep for as long as 20 hours as well.
Which Age Category Dogs Sleep The Most?
If you were thinking dogs that throughout their lives, dogs sleep for the same amount of time, you are definitely mistaken. The napping of a dog depends on its physical age and a couple of related factors. Let’s have a look at them.
A puppy generally sleeps for about 18 to 20 hours a day. At this stage, puppies are growing incredibly fast, and they are experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells.
To process what they are experiencing in the physical world, puppies need constant energy, and sleep provides them with the opportunity to recoup their energy.
Young dogs who are between 1 to 5 years old sleep for about 12 to 14 hours a day. There is no specific reason behind this napping time. Dogs, in general, sleep for about half a day, which includes their daytime naps and overnight sleeping time.
Old dogs also sleep for about 18 hours a day, owing to lower energy level and their failing health conditions. Senior dogs often develop health issues like diabetes, arthritis, and hypothyroidism, and these conditions can make them sleep for longer hours.
Do Dogs Dream?
Since humans dream during the R.E.M. stage of sleep, many may wonder if dogs dream as well.
You may notice while your dog sleeps that it often makes noises and movements, sometimes a little growl or even seeming to kick or appear to be running. It’s been a topic of debate for a long while now, but one of the most widely accepted theories is that dreams are a way for the brain to process the data of the day’s events. Researchers have studied the brain waves of sleeping dogs and compared them to known data of the human sleep pattern and have discovered very similar results, leading to the strong belief that yes, dogs do dream.
Signs That Your Dog Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep
Just like humans, animals, including dogs, need ample rest and sleep for the proper functioning of their bodies. Please remember that if your dog is not getting enough sleep, it may suffer from weak immunity, obesity, and other illnesses.
Although it is difficult for pet owners to be certain if their dog is sleep-deprived, there are certain outward signs which you should always look out for in your dog. The major symptoms that your dog is bound to show if it is sleep-deprived are the inability to understand and recall basic commands that your dog is well-adapted to, continuous irritability, prolonged disorientation, and difficulty in performing basic tasks.
In addition, you may also notice that your dog has lost all interest in doing things they like. For instance, they may lose interest in playing games or going to the dog park, which they otherwise love. They may lose their appetite and refuse to munch on their favorite treats!
Factors That Determine How Long a Dog Sleeps
Determining how much sleep your dog needs during the day is dependent upon several factors:
The age of the dog. Puppies, for instance, sleep up to 18 hours a day. Older dogs also tend to sleep more — as the body starts to age and slow down, it requires more sleep time.
The activity level of the dog. The more active the dog, the less sleep it will require. Inactive dogs get bored more quickly, so they tend to nap more often.
The dog’s diet. There are a lot of poor-quality dog foods on the market that contain a lot of filler and lack the sufficient vitamins and minerals required for healthy canines. A lack of proper nutrition and energy levels provided by quality products can leave a dog feeling tired and will affect its sleep patterns. It’s advisable to get proper advice on feeding your dog.
As stated above, the size and breed of the dog play a part in the sleep required; larger dogs require more sleep than smaller breeds.
Why Does My Dog Sleep That Way?
Like their human counterparts, most dogs also have their favorite sleeping positions, the most common positions being:
Sleeping on their side. Sleeping on its side or stomach with the paws stretched out is the most common position for a relaxed dog, usually for short naps.
Sleeping on their backs. Facebook and YouTube are full of hilarious pictures and videos of this position: the dog stretched out on its back, paws in the air. One of the reasons for this could be to expose the belly to the elements. Since the belly has little to no fur, this could help with cooling off on a hot day. Another possible reason is that this helps the muscles relax, leading to greater comfort.
Sleeping curled up like a ball. Although this is not a very relaxed way to sleep, as the dog needs to use muscles to maintain this position, it is still very common. The dog in this position is alert and ready to respond.
Sleeping back to back. If your dog touches you or another dog while asleep it indicates affection and attachment. Pack dogs usually sleep next to each other, and this is the dog’s primitive way of showing this attachment.
The environment where the dog sleeps also affects the amount of rest it gets. Dogs generally will sleep anywhere, but just like humans, they also want a comfy place to sleep on a regular basis. Some dogs prefer to sleep under tables or beds, while other dogs like to use blankets or cushions for a relaxed sleep. Providing your dog with a comfortable spot to sleep will go a long way to ensuring a restful, relaxed night’s sleep.
When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Sleep Habits?
It is best to monitor your dog’s sleeping habits, as they may be an indication of health issues or other factors at play.
If the dog appears to be sluggish and has signs of physical discomfort, it may be a parasite or flea infestation, arthritis, hip dysplasia, allergies, or a urinary tract infection.
Old age, as with humans, can cause painful conditions such as arthritis to develop.
If your dog is on medication after an illness, it could be a reaction to or side effects of the drugs.
The dog may be suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression, which could be caused by a favorite family member being away for an extended period of time or a move to a different house in a different area, causing disruptions to your dog.
In general, if you feel that your dog is not getting enough sleep or that there may be some medical reasons for the dog’s lack of or too much sleep, it’s always best to take it to the veterinarian for a check-up. It may just be a case of refining the dog’s diet or taking the dog for a run around the block on the weekends.
Is Your Dog Suffering From A Sleep Disorder?
Whether your dog is suffering from a sleep disorder, you may have to evaluate physiological processes such as cognition, physical ability, immunological response, pain perception, and illness risk. Certain narcolepsy, REM sleep behavior disorder, and sleep breathing disorders are the most common conditions that might disrupt a dog’s ability to sleep.
Additionally, sleep issues may be a marker of other primary illnesses, where they may increase the clinical symptoms.
Sleep disorders can affect your furry friend, and there are certain physical indications that you should be looking out for. These conditions include: loud snoring, insomnia, continuous pacing at night, restlessness during their normal sleeping hours, physical movements while sleeping, and sudden collapsing after any physical activity.
So, if you find these symptoms for a prolonged period, then you need to seek medical attention sooner for your pet buddy.
Yes, dogs do sleep for substantial hours. On average, a dog sleeps 12-13 hours a day, including their napping time, both during the day as well during the night. Moreover, if you have a puppy, it will need longer hours of sleep, typically around 19 hours a day, until they are almost 3 months old.
However, if you find an apparently healthy dog sleeping for more than half a day, do consult your vet, as it might be an indication of some serious problem.
Although an average dog sleeps for around half a day, it is not natural for a dog to sleep for 20 hours a day unless it is a sick dog, an old dog, or a newborn puppy. So, if your dog is sleeping for 20 hours a day, it is probably an indication of some serious health-based issue, and it would be best to get them to the vet on time.
It is normal for dogs to sleep for 12 to 14 hours a day, and as long as they are sleeping for this much time, it is perfectly normal, and there is nothing wrong with them. On the contrary, dogs who get ample rest and are well-rested are quite jolly, playful, and happy. But sleeping more than 14 hours a day might be an indication of some other physical ailments. Hence, this issue should be given due consideration.
Most of us are aware that dogs sleep for around 12 hours a day. Also, the sleeping tendency is found more in dogs that are left alone while their owners have to go to their offices. But a normal dog is bound to get all excited when their owners return home, greet them, and wag their tails.
But if a dog doesn’t show these above-mentioned characteristics, there is something wrong with your dog, which might be both physical as well as mental. You may be shocked to hear this, but your dog may be suffering from acute depression if your dog is sleeping all day, and it probably needs medical attention.
Although, on average, most dogs like to sleep for about half a day, there are certain dog breeds that like to sleep more than others. Some of the dog breeds that like to rest and sleep more than others are Shih Tzu, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Basset Hound, Pug, Chow Chow, and Cocker Spaniel, Pekingese, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, and Saint Bernard.
To begin with, it is perfectly normal for a dog to sleep with its tongue out. The major reason behind this is dogs try to regulate their body temperature while sleeping by sticking their tongues out. This may be due to the reason that your dog is extremely dehydrated.
Otherwise, dogs feel relaxed and comfortable while sleeping. You will also notice that they won’t sleep for long with their tongues hanging out, and as soon as they wake up from their deep slumber or change their position, they will bite their tongue back into their mouth.
Hi, I’m Walter,
I live in Oklahoma City, USA, and have extensive dog caring and grooming expertise. In addition, I provide dog training tips and tricks through my blogs in Canine Weekly. I have a Dog Behavior and Training diploma and have previously worked as a Dog Trainer at ROC Animal Training and Behavior and Tip Top K9 of OKC Dog Training.
Apart from writing on Canine Weekly, I share my views on Twitter and Linkedin.