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Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

a profile image of TSA author Alex

Written By Alex Petrović

Certified Sleep Consultant

Two dogs sleeping

8 April 2024 9 min read

Dogs also need sleep to rest from daily activities and regenerate the organism. But why do dogs sleep so much? It solely depends mostly on his breed and daily activities.

We all tend to view our dogs almost as much as humans and consider them family members. However, we often do not pay enough attention to some of their characteristics, and one of these characteristics may be sleep.

For example, many people wonder why do dogs sleep so much, because we create them compare to humans and then we find it strange that they spend more than half a day sleeping.

Dog's sleeping habits are influenced by many characteristics of the breed itself, but also by many other factors. We wanted to analyze everything related to dogs and sleeping in detail, so we wrote this article which we hope you will find useful.

What’s the average number of hours dogs sleep per day?

The dog sleeps an average of 14 to 16 hours a day. However, puppies and senior dogs can also spend more time sleeping. For example, puppies need far more sleep just like human child. Depending on their age, a dog sleep can take 16 hours or sometimes even more.

Only after they turn one year they do adopt a sleep routine that is typical of adult dogs. It has also been observed that most dogs of larger breeds spend more time in deep sleep or napping while smaller dogs do not so much because of their activity.

an image of a jack russell dog in a bed

So these animals sleep more than humans. They mostly sleep during the night hours, while they nap for about 3 hours during the day. It is important to note that their sleep changes with age, just as human sleep develops during life. We can say that a dog's normal sleep patterns shouldn't take more than 5 hours during the day for a quality rest.

This is very important for them, because the more they rest in their pet beds during the day, the happier and more relaxed they will be, which is very easy to notice on them.

Do dogs sleep at night?

Dogs sleep at night like most animals. That is so-called polyphasic sleep cycle, which means that their sleep flows intermittently. So, their sleep was interrupted up to several times, and you could notice that after many daily naps. You'll notice this especially if your pet sleeps in bed with you.

Their sleep at night largely depends on activities during the day. For example, adult dogs sleep up to 14 hours a day, and if one dog really sleeps that much during the day, it is unlikely that he will be able to combine 8 hours during the night as a human.

On the other hand, this can be influenced if the owner works on the dog's daily routine in which he will include more quality activities. Therefore, how much sleep your dog gets, often has to do with you.

3 factors that influence the dog’s sleep patterns

Just like a human, a dog goes through several developmental stages during its life. During them, there are changes in routine, functioning on a daily basis and other changes. This usually happens during the period of entering your golden years.

 At the same time, his sleep schedule changes and a drastic difference between a puppy and an adult dog is noticed. However, his physical appearance is another factor that affects his activities and thus his sleep.

The breed of the dog also has a great influence, because some dogs are much more active than others. There are so many different dog profiles and each breed has different personalities.

Dog’s age

For example, older dogs get tired more easily. This means that even a short walk can be a big effort for them, and in that case they need more time to replenish their energy.

That is why they will often sleep more during the day and less at night. On the other hand, very small puppies will sleep most of the time while those a little older will actively explore as much as they can.

Dog’s weight

Although puppies and older dogs will generally spend more time sleeping, overweight dogs can also sleep much more than thinner dogs. In addition to some races being more prone to sleep, they can have a large number of pounds that will slow them down in their daily movements.

an image of cane corso dog laying

It will also limit their many activities, but it can also lead to the development of certain diseases. Poor health due to the large number of kilograms is often the cause of excessive sleep.

Dog’s breed

Some dog breeds are quite different. While some adore physical activity such as hiking, swimming, running or walking, others would lie on sofas all day. That is why the owners mostly harmonize the dog's personality with their own.

Either way, dogs that have a calmer personality will be happy to spend hours and hours sleeping. On the other hand, races like the Beagles and others will have much more energy which means they naturally need less sleep.

In general, large dog breeds need more sleep, while smaller dogs have a different situation.

Do dogs have sleep patterns and REM phases?

Since dogs have a dream that is very similar to a human, it is divided into two phases. So, the dog sleeping pattern for dogs also includes REM and NREM. This would mean that they sleep in NREM while the real dream is REM.

It allows them to really gather all the energy they need to function properly. However, the difference between a dog and humans is that dogs spend only 10% of their sleep time in the REM cycle. That is why they are said to be flexible sleepers, because they can wake up at any moment if they hear some sounds, etc.

On the other hand, this means that they always lack extra sleep in order to reach the optimal level of that restorative REM sleep.

Signs that tell your dog sleeps too much

It is normal for a dog to sleep day and night. Although it is not clear to many why dogs can sleep so much, they are capable of sleeping more than 14 hours. However, dog's sleep habits vary depending on the age, weight and breed of the dog.

Sometimes too much sleep can be an indicator of poor health. Either way, there are a few basic signs that say something more about it. For example, this refers to a situation in which a dog sleeps even though there is something next to it that would otherwise distract him. If the dog has difficulty waking up, there may be a problem.

It happens that the dog simply falls asleep suddenly due to play or some other similar activity. A sudden state of wakefulness or the appearance of stress is another sign that points to the same thing.

an image of a dog laying down on a floor

It can also happen that the dog's sleep pattern changes abruptly due to insufficient water intake on a daily basis, inadequate food, etc. Increased sleep often comes with behavioral problems such as anxiety, increased aggression, lameness, fear, laziness, etc.

In that case, it is best to experiment with a change in routine or seek advice from a veterinarian. The veterinarian usually asks the owners additional questions so that he can identify the problem, but often some tests are done that give even more useful information.

Can a dog's health be the cause of excessive sleep?

Excessive sleep can be a consequence of some change in the dog's life, but also an indicator of a health problem. Sleep is usually accompanied by sudden weight loss, slow movements, anxiety or some other conditions.

On the other hand, it is natural for a dog to sleep more than usual if there has been increased activity. For example, the amount of exercise has increased lately or the length and intensity of exercise have changed. Therefore, it is recommended to gradually increase the exercise.

Stress or boredom can also be the cause of excessive sleep, and it is mostly due to a sudden change in routine such as moving. Excess weight means that the dog gets more tired, which means that he needs more sleep or he needs extra energy.

In that case, the most important thing is to establish a nutritionally complete, balanced diet. Pain is another common cause of frequent sleep, but it is very difficult for owners to recognize it. However, the pain is usually accompanied by other symptoms that indicate that something is wrong with the dog.

How to make your dog’s day happier so he sleeps less?

If the owner fills his dog's day with productive activities, he will sleep just enough for him to function normally during the day. It will also be less active at night and thus adapt to the owner's routine.

That's why people try to improve their pet's routine by taking him for a walk at about the same time every day. They do the same with meals by feeding them a few hours before bed. However, there are still many ways to make a dog's day more fulfilling.

For example, dogs are very similar to energetic children who also need a meaningful plan of daily activities.

an image of a woman hugging a dog

Get him toys

Whether the toy for dogs is plush, rag or some other material, it is a great source of fun for them. However, because of the great possibilities such as rolling, jumping, or something else, they need them for a lot more. For example, it is a great tool that they use for exercising the jaw, but also for releasing excess energy and entertainment.

Play with your dog

Dogs play less and less as they get older. Therefore, they need to be encouraged to continue playing, and this is best achieved by joining them in an activity. This is also an opportunity to establish a better relationship with pets.

an image of a woman playing with a dog

For example, playing with a frisbee is a great opportunity to run a dog. Balls are equally good for them, because throwing the ball is an activity in which the dog expends the most energy while exercising at the same time.

Walk with your dog

Experts recommend that the dog walk at least once a day. In this way, the dog will remain motivated and acquire a positive habit, which will affect the quality of his life. Walking has a great effect on many aspects of the overall health of the dog, and those are primarily weight and body condition.

Since obesity is very bad for a dog, walking is a good way to prevent it. It also encourages better functioning of the digestive and urinary system, mental health and emotional health of the dog and much more.

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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