Resources, Advice & Tips for Covid-19
Read More

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much? Know What's Normal

Christy Caplan
puppy sleeping indoors

Dogs sleep more than humans, but it varies by sleeping schedule, breed, age, lifestyle, and overall health. Once a dog is a senior, they may require less exercise, and you'll find their energy shifts to snuggles and naps. Certain canines, including police dogs and livestock guard dogs, sleep less as they're busy all day with their humans.

Why Do Dogs Sleep so Much?

Dogs have a polyphasic sleep pattern, so they sleep multiple times during a 24-hour period. Polyphasic sleep differs from monophasic sleep, which is one period of sleep during 24 hours. Since humans have a monophasic sleep pattern, they do not share the same sleep cycle with their canine best friends.

When your dog is in REM sleep, you'll see them twitch, bark, or even growl! REM sleep in dogs occurs after about ten-minutes of slumber.

Dogs Sleep Twice as Much as Humans

One of the most frequently asked questions is, "How long do dogs sleep?" and many pet lovers don't realize they need a lot more sleep than humans. On average, dogs sleep 12 to 14 hours a day, and humans only need seven or eight hours of sleep. Canines are different from humans and sleep throughout the day and nap. While human sleep bouts are about eight-hours long, dog sleep bouts are only around 45-minutes long.

Seniors

Older dogs suffering from dementia may experience a decrease in normal sleep patterns. A symptom of dementia or canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome is a disruption of the sleep-wake cycle.

Puppies

Puppies sleep an average of 18 to 20 hours a day. Create a schedule for your puppy and ensure there is plenty of time throughout the day for them to rest. For your puppy to stay healthy, he needs beauty sleep. A lack of sleep impacts a dog's immune system, hormones, central nervous system, muscles, and bones.

Lack of Exercise May Cause Restlessness

If your dog requires two or three walks a day, then pet parents need to stick to the schedule each day. Dog trainers work with pet parents on daily schedules, including when it is appropriate to incorporate dog sports, hikes, and other activities that may happen outside of your dog's regular daily schedule.

French Bulldog sleeping on sofa

Medical Conditions Cause Dogs to Sleep More

Illness, depression and lethargy caused by medical conditions are all reasons dogs sleep more but ideally, this is a short-term issue. For example, if your dog is depressed and you need to work with a vet or vet behaviorist on a plan to increase his activity level during the day, so sleep patterns return to normal.

  • Loss of hearing
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Nutritional deficiency

Sleep Varies by Breed

Certain breeds do require more sleep than other breeds. For example, the tiny Pomeranian dog breed prefers dog sports like agility over a nap.

Working Dogs

Dogs performing farm duties and watching over livestock are active throughout the day. These dogs may need 18 to 20 hours a night of sleep. These breeds include the Anatolian shepherd, German shepherd, and Great Pyrenees.

Bigger Breeds

Larger dog breeds sleep more than small breeds. For example, large breeds like Newfoundlands, mastiffs, St. Bernards, and great Pyrenees need more sleep than pet parents may think.

Dogs Need More Sleep Than Pet Parents

Whether your dog is a senior, a therapy dog, or a puppy, each individual requires a varying amount of sleep. Dogs sleep 12 to 14 hours a day, but this may vary. The amount of sleep and sleep patterns specific to dogs are undoubtedly different from humans. With that in mind, dogs need their beauty sleep just as much as pet parents do, but may wake you up to snuggle multiple times each evening.

Was this page useful?
Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much? Know What's Normal