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How Much Do Dogs Sleep Every Night?

Blog Sleep & Wellness
How Much Do Dogs Sleep Every Night?

We all know that humans need at least 7 - 8 hours of sleep per night to rest and recover for a new day. But what about dogs? If your dog is spending about 12 hours of the day sleeping - then that’s completely normal. Anything above or below that timeframe might be an indication that your pup’s sleep cycle needs review.

If you're new to pup parenthood and have no idea how to know if your dog is sleeping enough, it can be difficult to figure out how you can help your dog get the best sleep possible.

This guide covers everything from how much dogs sleep, and the best dog beds to support a healthy sleep routine.

How much should dogs sleep?

How much should dogs sleep?

The canine experts at the AKC recommend that the ideal range of sleep for dogs is 12 hours. Like babies, puppies sleep for much longer and can be found snoozing for over 18 hours in a day.

The importance of sleep is similar for most mammals. Not only does quality sleep help restore energy, it’s also one of the most vital functions for the immunity system, nervous system, organ function, memory, mood, behavior, and growth.

Dogs spread their sleep out. There’s no doubt that you’ve caught your dog indulging in multiple naps throughout the day. If your dog is sleeping too much, or too little, it may be a sign that they have a health issue that a veterinarian can help identify.

Why do dogs sleep so much?

It can often seem like dogs sleep a lot more than they actually do because they scatter their sleep throughout the day. Most dogs will spend a longer amount of time sleeping during the night, then will have short bursts of sleep throughout the day.

Surprisingly, many dogs only spend about 20% of the day being active. 50% of a dog’s day is usually spent snoozing in their dog bed, and another 30% lazing about and resting. In order to recover from high intensity play and exercise, sleep is vital for canine energy restoration.

Larger dogs tend to sleep much more than smaller dogs. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Sara Ochoa, suggests larger dogs such as Mastiffs and St. Bernards, who can weigh in excess of 200+ pounds, will spend much more time sleeping than a chihuahua.

Dr. Sara Ochoa explains that the reason larger dogs tend to sleep more, is that they are burning more calories and their bodies need to recoup. This is mostly applicable to pets that live more of a sedentary lifestyle. Working dogs like farm dogs and police dogs won’t sleep as much as they are trained to be alert and highly reactive to environmental conditions.

It’s not uncommon for mammals to spend most of their days sleeping. Cats spend around 15 hours per day sleeping, hedgehogs, snooze for up to 10 hours per day, and squirrels sleep for around 15 hours per day when they are not hibernating in the winter.

Do dogs dream?

If you’ve ever caught yourself watching your dog sleeping and wondering why they are twitching or moving about: it’s highly likely they are dreaming.

When there is no definitive research that has clearly identified exactly how and why dogs dream, the fact is, science is yet to fully discover the reasons behind human dreams. Leading researchers come to the conclusion that it’s most likely that dogs do have dreams because they enter rapid-eye movement sleep (REM), just like humans.

A dog's sleep cycle is quite similar to a humans. Dogs have periods of wakefulness, non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM), and REM sleep. In a 1977 study into the sleep-wake patterns of pointer dogs, scientists discovered that over a 24-hours period, dogs transitioned between several sleep stages.

According to the findings, 44% of time was spent being alert, 21% drowsy, 23% in NREM sleep, and 12% in REM sleep.

How to help your dog sleep better

How to help your dog sleep better

One of the most important things you can do as a dog owner to help you sleep better is ensure they have a comfortable, supportive and washable dog bed to relax and snooze on. From large dog beds, to luxury dog beds and even cooling dog beds - there are endless options to upgrade your best friend's sleep.

If you have an active dog, a memory foam dog bed is a popular choice. Memory foam has a contouring affect on muscles and joints. It caresses and conforms when there is movement so it’s perfect for pressure relief after a long day of play.

As well as upgrading your dog's bed, another way to assist your dog's sleep cycle is to regulate their eating cycle. Digesting issues are one of the key disruptors to a dog’s sleep cycle. Specialists suggest dogs eat at least 2 meals a day, but should not go 12 hours without eating. Leaving a dog unfed for over 12 hours can create a hyperacidic reaction in the stomach leading to nausea and discomfort.

By providing a comfortable and supportive dog bed, and creating a regular eating schedule, you can really help your dog get the best sleep possible. If you notice your dog is getting much less or much more than 12 hours sleep every day, despite having a great dog bed and healthy eating routine, it may be time for a check up.

Your Turn...

Comment below and tell us all about your dog sleeping positions and habits. 

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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.

Certified Sleep Science Coach

Written by Monica Chinsami, Certified Sleep Science Coach

Monica is a writer who is passionate about the connection between wellness and sleep. She believes sleep has the power to unlock our greatest potential for health and happiness. Topics she's covered range from well-being, to the latest trends in sleep health and bedroom aesthetics. Monica holds a BA in Journalism from Monash University and is a Certified Sleep Science Coach.

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