How many hours a day do dogs sleep?

20 January 2024 - 4 min read
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s care, treatment, or medical conditions.
Image of a dog with a sleep mask on

Have you ever found your furry friend sleeping in the cosiest corner of your home and thought: “is this excessive?”

It’s natural to wonder (and get jealous of) how much your dog is sleeping. The truth is that understanding your dog's sleep patterns can help you keep them healthy and happy.

So let’s explore the world of canine sleep, and discover just how much shut-eye your four-legged friend needs.

How much do dogs actually sleep?

Our canine companions spend a big chunk of their days sleeping. Dogs snooze for about 12 to 14 hours on average, though this can vary widely.

Larger breeds, like Tibetan Mastiffs and Great Danes tend to sleep more than their smaller counterparts. On the other hand, smaller breeds and breeds with high energy levels, like Chihuahuas or Border Collies, might spend less time napping.

Age plays a role, too; puppies and senior dogs often need more rest than adult dogs. You’d be wise to stay aware of your dog's sleep habits as they grow and age and make sure their patterns align with their changing needs at each stage of life.

How many hours do dogs sleep by age?

Puppies and sleep—dreaming of growing up

newborn puppy wrapped in pink blanket

Puppies are sweetness incarnate, so it’s almost a pity their boundless energy is reserved for their limited waking hours; they save a lot of their playtime for doggy dreamland.

Puppies typically sleep for around 18 to 20 hours a day. That might sound like a lot, but it's essential for their rapidly developing bodies and minds. This extended sleep helps puppies process new experiences, build their immune systems, and grow physically. So when they're snoozing the day away, they're really hard at work growing into the healthy adult dog they're destined to become.

Adult dogs need their snooze time, too

Image of an older brown-and-white dog who looks tired

As dogs get older, they often begin to sleep less, but that doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a furry insomniac. An adult dog typically needs about 12 to 14 hours of sleep daily. But again, this can vary by an hour or two in either direction depending on their breed, size, and daily activity. Energetic breeds might have less need for sleep due to their high energy levels, while a less active breed might spend more time in REM heaven.

Energetic breeds might have less need for sleep due to their high energy levels, while a less active breed might spend more time in REM heaven.

A dog's lifestyle heavily impacts their sleep needs as well. A pup who’s regularly engaged in walks, mentally stimulating playtime, and satisfying exercise will expend more energy, which often leads to deeper and more uninterrupted sleep. On the other hand, a dog with a more sedentary routine may experience lower levels of physical and mental tiredness, which can lead to lighter sleep and more frequent waking periods.

The active pup with deeper sleep is better off. Making sure your dog gets the right amount of physical and mental stimulation can lead to more restful and rejuvenating sleep, which boosts your dog’s physical and mental well-being.

Senior dogs: Welcome back to sleepytown 

senior dog laying on a carpetAs your dog reaches their golden years, you might notice them spending more time in their favourite sleeping spot. Like adult dogs, senior dogs may sleep around 12–14 hours a day. But they tend to be a lot more fond of good, old-fashioned rest.

Between sleep and other forms of inactivity, you may observe your senior dog resting for around 16 to 18 hours. They’re not being lazy; their bodies are just ageing, and their energy levels are dropping.

Also, keep in mind that older dogs might experience joint pain or other age-related health issues that make rest more appealing and necessary. If you have a senior dog, make sure to provide a comfortable and accessible sleeping area, possibly with orthopaedic support to ease any discomfort.

Can dogs sleep too much?

Image of a black-and-white Boston terrier lying on the floor

Unfortunately, excessive sleep can be a sign of an underlying health issue. If you notice a sudden increase in your dog's sleep duration, or if they seem lethargic even during their waking hours, it might be time for a vet visit.

Conditions like hypothyroidism, depression, or even diabetes can all affect a dog's sleep patterns. Also, pay attention to other changes in behaviour, appetite, or weight. It's always better to err on the side of caution and consult with your veterinarian so you can rule out any potential health concerns.

A change in sleep habits doesn't always spell trouble, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

How to make sure your dog gets enough quality sleep

Cute dachshund pet lies in dog bed at dog-friendly hotel looking at camera.

Making sure your dog gets decent sleep is just as important as providing a balanced diet and healthy exercise. Sleep can aid in everything, from mental well-being and stress reduction to physical recovery and immune system support.

Here are some tips to help give your canine companion some spectacular shut-eye:

  • Create a comfortable sleeping area. Invest in a good-quality dog bed that suits your dog's size and age. Older dogs might benefit from orthopaedic beds, while younger ones might prefer something with a bit more cushion. Or you could just relent and let them sleep in your bed — we’re not here to judge.

  • Establish a routine. Dogs thrive on routine. Try to keep their bedtime and wake-up time consistent, even on weekends.

  • Provide adequate exercise. A well-exercised dog is more likely to enjoy good sleep. Tailor the amount and type of exercise to your dog's age, breed, and health.

  • Watch their feeding times. Avoid feeding your dog a heavy meal before bedtime. A light snack is okay, but a full meal can disrupt their sleep.

  • Limit late-night water drinking: While it's important to keep your dog hydrated, try to limit their water intake right before bed to avoid middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.

  • Create a calm environment. Keep their sleeping area quiet and free from disturbances. And some dogs might appreciate a soft blanket or a piece of clothing that smells like you.

Remember, every dog is different. What works for one might not work for another, so it might take some trial and error to find the perfect sleep solution.

How pet insurance and wellness can help

Whether they're a sprightly puppy, an energetic adult, or a dignified senior, each stage of your dog's life comes with its own sleep requirements.

By keeping an eye on their sleep habits and creating a comfortable environment, you're contributing to their overall health and well-being.

If your dog shows signs of sleep problems, it could indicate an underlying health condition. In such cases, dog insurance can be a lifesaver, providing financial support for needed veterinary care, whether it’s diagnosing a disorder or treating an associated health condition.

A person high fiving a dog

Get £15,000 lifetime vet fee cover with our Complete policy.

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David Teich
Lead Content Editor

David Teich is Lead Content Editor at ManyPets. He loves pets, Scrabble, Oxford commas, and typing loudly.