Have you ever found your furry friend snoozing in the coziest corner of your home and wondered, “Is this…excessive?”
Sure, dog parents are none too likely to shake a stick at blissful doggy slumber, but it’s natural to wonder how much is too much. And the truth is, understanding your dog's sleep patterns can help you keep them healthy, happy, and frisky.
So let’s explore the world of canine sleep, from playful puppies to sedate seniors, and discover just how much shut-eye your four-legged friend really 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 sleep 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
Puppies are sweetness incarnate, so it’s almost a pity their boundless energy is reserved for their limited waking hours. But that’s just the way it goes: Puppies 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 your furry bundle of joy is snoozing the day away, they're actually hard at work growing into the healthy adult dog they're destined to become.
Adult dogs need their snooze time, too
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 more listless breed might spend more time in REM heaven.
Energetic breeds might have less need for sleep due to their high energy levels, while a more listless 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
As your dog reaches their golden years, you might notice them spending more time in their favorite 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.
Ah, the joys of lying down, lounging, and light dozing! 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 aging, and their energy levels are dropping. In other words, they’re seniors! C'est la vie.
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 orthopedic support to ease any discomfort.
Can dogs sleep too much?
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 behavior, 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
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 orthopedic 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 for your drowsy doggo.
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 not just helping them catch some Zs; you're also 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.
And the optional (non-insurance) ManyPets Wellness Plan, which offers reimbursement for preventative care, is designed to help you keep your pup’s health in check so they can continue to enjoy restful sleep and sweet dreams.