We often joke about how dogs spend their lives eating, playing, and sleeping. But have you ever wondered why dogs sleep so much? Maybe you’ve noticed that your furry friend is sleeping more than usual, and you’re not sure if that’s normal. In this article, we’ll discuss why dogs sleep so much, how long they should sleep, and their sleeping habits, so you can better understand your pup’s behavior.
Why Do Dogs Sleep a Lot?
Aside from that, there are also other factors why your dogs sleep so much. It can be about their age, breed, health, nutrition, environment, and entertainment.
Sleep is a vital part of life for all living beings, including dogs. Dogs sleep more than humans, which is normal, and they nap when they feel their body needs rest, particularly after physical activities.
There are several factors that contribute to a dog’s sleeping habits. Puppies and senior dogs require more sleep than adult dogs. Puppies sleep more because they are growing and more active, while senior dogs sleep more because they tire easily.
If your senior dog is napping excessively or has changes in their sleeping schedule, it could be a sign of an underlying health condition. It is important to monitor their sleeping habits and consult with a veterinarian if needed.
Boredom is another reason why dogs may sleep excessively. Lack of entertainment, socialization, or playing time can lead to boredom, which can cause health issues like obesity and heart problems. You can keep your dog entertained by providing interactive toys and longer playing and walking time.
The amount of sleep that dogs need varies by breed, with large dog breeds requiring more rest than small dog breeds. Your dog’s environment can also affect their sleeping habits. A dull environment can lead to boredom, causing your dog to sleep more.
Health issues such as diabetes, kidney problems, and urinary tract infections can also cause dogs to sleep excessively. Unbalanced or incomplete diets can also deprive dogs of essential nutrients and cause them to feel tired during the day.
To ensure your dog is healthy and has enough energy to get through the day, provide a balanced and complete diet with all the necessary nutrients. You can also consult with a veterinarian to ensure your dog’s diet is appropriate for their needs. Establishing a feeding schedule can also help manage your dog’s calorie and nutritional intake.
With that, let’s explore other factors why do dogs sleep a lot:
Puppies and senior dogs sleep more than adult canines. Puppies sleep more since they are still growing and developing. Plus, they are more physically active in this stage. Puppies also sleep more during the day and less at night.
Moving forward, senior dogs sleep a lot because they get tired easily. Simple activities like mild playing and walking can already wear them out. But, senior dogs usually sleep more during the night, the opposite for puppies. Despite that, they still have their frequent short afternoon naps.
In addition, even though it is normal for senior dogs to nap more, pet owners should still monitor whether they are napping too much or if there have been changes in their sleeping schedules. Since senior dogs are old, they are more prone to various illnesses, and signs of those illnesses can show in their sleep schedules.
Dogs in any life stage will resort to sleeping if they don’t have anything to do. Lack of entertainment, playing time, or socialization leads to your dog’s boredom. Sleep is beneficial, but too much can lead to health issues like obesity and poor heart conditions. With that, you need to do something to ease their boredom.
You can give them interactive puzzle toys! Thus, they don’t only get to be entertained but also stimulate their brains. Aside from that, you can also improve their activities with longer walking and playing time.
The amount of sleep that dogs require also varies by breed. For instance, working dogs must stay awake to do the physical and mental responsibilities assigned to them. Meanwhile, dogs not bred to do tasks will spend most of the day lying around and prioritizing slumber. Thus, working dogs sleep less.
Furthermore, large dog breeds like Mastiffs and St. Bernards tend to sleep more than small dog breeds because they require more time to rest.
Your dog’s environment can be another reason why they sleep so much. Related to entertainment, if your dog finds its surroundings boring or lacks anything interesting, it resorts to sleeping or staying on its bed. With that, it is vital to walk your dog daily or let them wander in your backyard and such (under your supervision). This activity will help them find their environment more interesting and enjoyable.
In addition, the weather and season can also be the culprit behind your dog’s sleeping schedule. If you live in hotter areas, your dog can get exhausted easily and settle for more sleep. During these times, ensure they are located in a cooler area since heat strokes among dogs are prevalent during hot seasons.
Moving forward, health issues are also a common cause of too much sleeping time among dogs. Dogs who are overweight and have diabetes, kidney problems, and urine infections sleep more than healthy dogs.
If you notice that your dog suddenly sleeps more than usual and there have been no recent lifestyle or environmental changes, visit your veterinarian and have your dog checked for possible health-related causes.
Unbalanced and incomplete diets may deprive dogs of essential nutrients that provide their bodies the energy they need to go through the day. So, they might have trouble staying awake during the day, and simple activities can tire them easily.
To prevent this, ensure that your dog’s food and treats are packed with needed vitamins, nutrients, protein, antioxidants, and more. Plus, establishing a working feeding schedule for them is also helpful.
With a feeding schedule, you can control your dog’s nutritional and calorie intake. Moreover, we recommend consulting your veterinarian about the appropriate food and other specific vitamins your dog might need.
How Long Should Dog Sleep Daily
So, if most people need 8-10 hours of sleep a day, how about our dogs? Let’s find out as we discuss how long the normal sleep hours are for puppies, adults, and senior dogs!
Puppies need more sleep than adult dogs as they are still developing, and sleep helps them grow and build a stronger immune system. They sleep for around 16 to 20 hours a day, which means they sleep more than they are awake. Puppies are also more physically active and energetic than adult dogs, spending their time exploring new things and places. It is normal to see your puppy playing and then fall asleep after a minute, and they usually take a 30-minute to 2-hour nap after playing or walking.
Adult dogs, aged 1 to 6 years old, sleep less than when they were puppies, only requiring 8 to 14 hours of sleep to be healthy and fit. Unlike puppies, adult dogs sleep more during the night, and their usual bedtime is between 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM. However, this schedule depends on their owner and environment. Even though they are already adults, they still need their occasional afternoon naps, and according to Garstecka and Berman (2016), adult dogs can spend 37% of their day napping.
Senior dogs (7 years old and above) need more sleep than adult dogs because they get tired easily. In fact, they can sleep more than in their puppy years. According to Schaible (2021), senior dogs sleep around 16 to 18 hours a day. But, they spent some of these hours in peaceful relaxation rather than actual sleep.
Moreover, pet owners should also pay extra attention to their senior dog’s sleeping patterns since unusual changes can signify an underlying medical issue. Some of these unusual behaviors are suddenly waking up in the middle of the night being confused and oversleeping.
These required amounts of sleep need to be taken seriously since according to Dr. Joan C. Hendricks, a veterinary doctor, sleep-deprived dogs (and all animals) are more prone to illnesses and other infections. Also, lack of sleep makes dogs moody and irritated easily.
Sleeping Pattern of Dogs
Dogs’ sleeping patterns are similar to humans, but they differ in one crucial aspect. It takes them around 10 minutes to switch from slow wave to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During the REM period, dogs may react to dreams while their eyes are closed, which explains why we often see them moving or even running and swimming in their dreams.
Unlike humans, dogs spend only 10% of their sleeping time in REM sleep due to their irregular sleep patterns. As a result, they wake up quickly and are easily aware of their surroundings.
Dogs need more sleep to compensate for their decreased REM sleep. Humans, on the other hand, typically sleep through the night, spending up to 25% of their time in REM sleep.
Although both humans and dogs are diurnal, meaning they sleep more at night and are active during the day, dogs are polyphasic sleepers. This means that they have multiple wake-sleep cycles instead of one long sleeping period. (Bódizs et al.,2020).
When to Be Concerned About Your Dog’s Sleeping Pattern
It’s normal for dogs to have irregular sleeping patterns. However, if you notice any unusual changes in their sleeping habits, it’s time to consult your veterinarian. Some of these changes can include:
- Sleeping more than usual
- Difficulty waking them up
- Preferring to sleep rather than eat, drink, or play
- Waking up in the middle of the night confused or distressed
- Increased frequency of urination and defecation
In addition to sleep changes, dogs may also exhibit behavioral changes, such as pacing, drooling, reluctance to engage in any activity, sudden aggression, and other anxiety-related behaviors.
If you observe any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s best to consult your veterinarian as they could be signs of a more serious medical condition. Taking notes of these behavioral changes can also help your veterinarian assess your dog’s situation.