Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much

People often joked about how a canine’s life is composed of eating, playing, and sleeping. And speaking of sleeping, do you ever wonder why do dogs sleep so much? And have you been bothered by whether your dog is sleeping more than normal?

Now, to help you understand your pup’s sleeping behavior, this article will discuss the factors behind why do dogs sleep a lot, how long they should sleep, and their sleeping patterns.

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 very crucial part of life for every living thing. For dogs, it is noticeable that they sleep more than us – which is normal. Moreover, pup sleep every time they feel like their body needs one, especially after their long day of physical activities.

With that, let’s explore other factors why do dogs sleep a lot:

Age

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.

Boredom

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.

Breed

The amount of sleep that dogs require also varies by breed. For instance, working dogs must stay awake to do 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.

Environment

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.

Health

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 has been no recent lifestyle or environmental changes, visit your veterinarian and have your dog checked for possible health-related causes.

Nutrition

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

As mentioned, puppies require more sleep than adult dogs because they are still at a developing age. Sleep helps puppies grow and build a stronger immune system. With that, they sleep for around 16 to 20 hours a day! That means that they sleep more than they are awake.

Furthermore, puppies are more physically active and energetic than adult dogs. They mostly spend their time exploring new things and places. Thus, it is normal to see your puppy playing and then fall asleep after a minute. Puppies usually take a 30-minute to 2-hour nap after playing or walking.

Adult Dogs

Dogs aged 1 to 6 years old are considered adult dogs. Since this life stage is their prime years, adult dogs sleep less than when they were puppies. They only need 8 to 14 hours of sleep to be healthy and fit.

Unlike puppies, adult dogs sleep more during the night. Their usual bedtime is between 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM. However, this schedule depends on their owner and environment. In addition, even though they are already adults, they still need their occasional afternoon naps! According to Garstecka and Berman (2016), adult dogs can spend 37% of their day napping.

Senior Dogs

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 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 resemble ours but vary in one crucial manner. When they fall asleep, it takes them around 10 minutes to switch from the slow wave to rapid eye movement (REM). Their body may react to dreams while their eyes are closed during the REM period. That’s why we often see dogs moving while sleeping. Some dogs even look like they are running or swimming in their dreams.

Due to their irregular sleep patterns, dogs only spend 10% of their sleeping time in REM sleep. With this, they also wake up and become aware easily.

Dogs need more sleep to make up for their decreased REM sleep. Humans, on the other hand, may stay up all day and sleep through the night, spending up to 25% of their time in REM sleep.

In addition, even though both dogs and humans are diurnal (sleep more at night and are active during the day), dogs are polyphasic sleepers. With that, instead of having one long sleeping time, dogs have multiple wake-sleep cycles (Bódizs et al.,2020).

When to Be Concerned About Your Dog’s Sleeping Pattern

Irregular sleep patterns among dogs are normal. However, if you notice that there has been an unusual change in their sleeping behavior, it might be time to consult your veterinarian. Some of these changes can be:

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • It’s getting hard to wake them up
  • They prefer to sleep instead of eating, drinking, or playing
  • Your dog suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night confused or distressed
  • More frequent urination and defecation

Along with these sleep, changes comes behavioral changes too. Examples of these changes are pacing, drooling, unwillingness to do any activity, sudden aggression, and other anxiety-related behaviors.

When you observe that your dog is exhibiting some of these symptoms, it is best to go to your veterinarian since it might be a sign of a more serious medical concern. Taking notes of these behavioral changes is also helpful in assessing their situation.

In conclusion, different factors like age, health, nutrition, entertainment, breed, and environment are some of the main reasons why dogs sleep so much. Moreover, even though it is normal for dogs to sleep a lot, you should still pay attention if they are sleeping too much since it can be a sign of an underlying medical issue.