We all know that humans need at least 7 - 8 hours of sleep per night to rest and recover for a new day. But how much do dogs sleep? If your dog is spending around 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 do dogs sleepand the best dog beds to support a healthy sleep routine.
The canine experts at the AKC recommend that the ideal range of sleep for dogs is 12 hours of sleep. Similar to a baby, a puppy sleeps for much longer and can be found snoozing for over 18 hours a day. While older dogs sleep less, their sleep schedule can range from 10 to 13 hours of sleep. Adult dogs sleep in frequent patterns, and they often tend to take power naps during the day.
The importance of sleep is similar for most mammals. Not only does quality sleep help restore energy, but it’s also one of the most vital functions for the immunity system, nervous system, organ function, memory, mood, behavior, and growth. As for senior dogs, which are five years or older - their sleep schedule includes 15 to 18 hours of sleep as they require more rest than younger dogs.
Additionally, dogs spread their sleep out. There’s no doubt you’ve caught your dog indulging in multiple naps throughout the day. Each dog has different sleep habits, depending on its breed, size, weight, and health. 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.
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 they will have short bursts of sleep throughout the day.
Surprisingly, many dogs only spend about 20% of the day being active. It was concluded that 50% of a dog’s day is 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. Ochoa explains that the reason larger dogs tend to sleep more is that they are burning more calories and their bodies need to recharge. 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 stay awake and be alert, they’re highly reactive to their environment.
It’s not uncommon for mammals to spend most of their days sleeping. Cats spend around 15 hours a day sleeping, hedgehogs snooze for up to 10 hours a day, and squirrels sleep for around 15 hours a day when they are not hibernating in the winter.
If you’ve ever caught yourself watching your dog sleeping and wondering why they are twitching or moving a lot, it’s highly likely they are dreaming.
While there is no definite research that has clearly identified exactly how and why dogs dream, science is yet to fully discover the reasons behind human dreams. Leading researchers came to the conclusion that it’s most likely that dogs do have dreams because they enter rapid-eye movement sleep (REM), just like humans do.
A dog's sleep cycle is quite similar to a human’s cycle. Dogs have periods of wakefulness, non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM), and REM sleep. In a 1977 study into the sleep patterns of pointer dogs, scientists discovered that over a 24-hour period, dogs transitioned between several sleep stages.
According to the findings, 44% of the time was spent being alert, 21% being drowsy, 23% was in NREM sleep, and 12% in REM sleep.
One of the most important things you can do as a dog owner to help your dog sleep better is to 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 furry friend's sleep.
If you have an active dog, a memory foam dog bed is a popular choice. Memory foam has a contouring effect on the muscles and joints. It caresses and conforms when there is movement so it’s perfect for pressure relief after a long day of play and exercise.
Besides upgrading your dog's bed, another way to regulate your dog's sleeping patterns 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. It is important to feed them in between their sleep periods.
The sleep patterns of a dog varies according to factors like the dog’s breed, size, weight, diet, and health. A puppy will usually need up to 20 hours of sleep, while adult dogs require less rest than puppies and will only need an average of 13 hours a day. Senior dogs aged five and up, will require an average of 18 hours of sleep. Larger breeds like Saint Bernards, French Bulldogs or Mastiffs, will also sleep more than smaller dog breeds.
Sleep habits vary from one dog to another however, it is very common for dogs to take power naps and sleep most of the day. In fact, dogs only spend 20% of the day being active while 80% of the time is spent sleeping or resting. The average hours of sleep a dog needs is 12 hours. If your dog is sleeping more or less than that, it may be time for a check-up.
If your dog is a puppy, then similar to babies, puppies require long hours of rest to develop and grow. Senior dogs that are older than five years can also sleep for up to 20 hours. However, for younger dogs an average of 12 to 15 hours of sleep is efficient. If you think your dog is sleeping too much, you may need to change something in their diet or take them to a veterinarian for a check up.
Newborn puppies require the most amount of sleep, which can be up to 20 hours a day, while young dogs (under five years old) require an average of 12 to 15 hours of sleep. Senior dogs, which are older than five years, will need more rest so they can sleep up to 18 hours a day.
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 of sleep a day, despite having a great dog bed and healthy eating routine, it may be time for a check-up.
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.