How Many Hours a Day Do Dogs Sleep?
Most dogs get about 12 hours of sleep a day, but depending on their size and age they may need more or less shuteye. So why do dogs sleep so much? And how much sleep does your dog really need?
The typical dog spends 50% of their time sleeping
Changes in a dog’s sleep pattern can be caused by health issues
Puppies, older dogs, and larger dogs tend to need the most sleep
Did you know?
Dog breeds that were originally “working dogs” tend to stay awake and alert longer than other breeds.
Cats are probably the pets with the biggest reputation for napping – after all, when we doze off midday we call it a “cat nap!” But any dog owner knows that dogs spend a lot of time sleeping, too. The exact number varies from dog to dog, and it has a lot to do with age. If you’re asking how many hours a day adult dogs sleep, the answer will be different than if you’re wondering about a young puppy.
Whether you’re caring for a puppy or an elderly dog, sleep is an important indicator of your canine’s health and wellness. By understanding how many hours dogs sleep, we can start to more fully understand our dogs’ sleep patterns and the importance of creating a comfy, supportive sleep environment.
Dog Sleep Habits: Day and Night
If your four-legged friend is more of a lap dog, it might seem like they’re napping all day long! On the other hand, if you have a more energetic dog you might wonder when they ever tire out enough to sleep.
How long your dog sleeps during the day depends on a variety of factors, including the age of your dog and their size. In general, dogs tend to sleep about half of every day, or 10-12 hours out of every 24.
Depending on their breed and age, your dog might tend to sleep more or less than this number. The general rule of thumb is that large dogs, who use a lot of energy to keep their bodies moving, need the most sleep.
According to one study, it’s most common for about seven of your dog’s sleeping hours to happen at night. That means that it’s not unusual for dogs to sleep five or more hours during the day. But they won’t be clocking those hours from one continuous nap!
Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?
Unlike humans, dogs only take about 10 minutes to transition into REM sleep – the dream phase. Ever seen your dog chasing rabbits in their sleep not long after dozing off? This is the reason why.
But dogs also tend to wake up quickly, becoming alert at the slightest unusual sound. This is especially true for breeds that used to be working dogs. That means they aren’t getting as much deep sleep as we would during the same amount of time.
This is also one reason why dog beds are so important – for both you and your pup. While you might be happy to let your dog sleep in bed with you, chances are they’ll be waking up more frequently during the night than you’d like. Even if you don’t notice it much, you might find that this disrupts your sleep over time.
And since dogs also log crucial sleeping hours during the day, a designated dog bed will give them a space where they can always rest, whether you’re around or not.
Do Dogs Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
In addition to sleeping more hours than us, dogs sleep differently than we do!
One obvious example of this is eye movement during sleep. As we’ve discussed, dogs tend to sleep lightly, ready to wake up at a moment’s notice. And many times when we think our dogs are dozing off, they’re still half-awake, relaxed but present in the moment.
If your dog is truly asleep with partially open eyes, it’s likely that they’re experiencing REM sleep. This can also be accompanied by twitching paws or even small barks as your dog explores dreamland.
However, if your dog is sleeping with their eyes open all the time, it might be time for a vet checkup. Some eye conditions can cause dogs to have difficulty closing their eyes. If this seems to be the case with your pup, you’ll want to take them to the vet right away.
Dog Sleep Habits By Age
Just like people, dogs need different amounts of sleep at different developmental stages. So let’s get a little more specific: how many hours a day do dogs sleep by age?
How Much Do Puppies Sleep?
Unlike adult dogs, puppies often sleep as much as 18-20 hours a day. And just like small humans, they can use a little help structuring their days so that sleep is a priority. The American Kennel Club recommends scheduling a designated quiet naptime for your puppy after every active part of the day.
So when you and your puppy get back from a walk, plan time for a nap before that next training session!
It’s also important to establish a calm sleeping area for your puppy from the start. With a big new world to explore, puppies can easily get overwhelmed by external stimuli. A safe crate and bed area gives them a safe haven to run to.
Rather than using your puppy’s crate as a punishment, the crate should be a space to calm anxiety. You can emphasize this by making sure your puppy associates the crate with positive things like treats and affection. They’ll be sleeping up to 80% of the day, so this is especially important for their wellbeing.
Adult Dog Sleep Behaviors
The amount of time your adult dog sleeps depends on several factors, tending to hover around that 10-12 hour mark we mentioned earlier. But how can you tell if your dog is getting enough sleep? And how does that impact their behavior?
The link between sleep and dog behavior hasn’t been thoroughly studied, so it’s hard to say for sure how to know if your dog is getting enough sleep. But we know that our dogs’ moods fluctuate day by day.
Sometimes our pups are bright, cheery, and ready for adventure, and other times they’re more reserved. Still other times, our dogs act out due to boredom or stress, falling back into “problem” habits we’ve trained them out of.
It’s likely that sleep is one factor that influences how our dogs behave differently from day-to-day. People tend to get grumpy when they don’t get enough sleep, and while we can’t be certain that the same is true for dogs, it wouldn’t be surprising.
If you suspect your dog isn’t getting enough sleep, the best thing to do is to try and help them get more! You can start by making sure that your dog’s space is calm and quiet through the night, and that they have enough room on their bed to stretch out. Sleeping temperature can also be a big factor for dogs’ comfort – especially if your pup is a particularly furry breed.
Another factor to consider when thinking about how much your dog sleeps is their food and bathroom cycle. Your dog will likely sleep better if you make sure they have plenty of time outside to relieve themselves before bedtime. With an elderly dog, this is even more important, as your dog might begin to struggle more with controlling their bladder.
Do Elderly Dogs Need More Sleep?
As your dog ages, it’s likely that they’ll start to need more and more sleep. Some older dogs even go back to that puppy range of 18-20 hours per day! But senior dogs might need special attention in order to meet their increasing sleep needs.
Many older dogs begin to suffer from conditions like joint pain and arthritis. That means it’s especially important to provide your dog with supportive pillows and beds. To make things easier on their joints, you can opt for beds and cushions placed straight on the ground, rather than elevated beds that require your dog to climb in and out.
Sleep Patterns and Dog Health
Since dogs tend to sleep whenever they get tired, it might seem like your adult dog’s sleep isn’t much of a health issue. But paying attention to when and how much your dog sleeps is actually very important.
When dogs get sick, changing sleep patterns can be one of the big warning signs. Sleep behavior change can be tied to other factors, but it sometimes indicates serious internal conditions like heart disease or diabetes. So keep an eye on when your dog sleeps, where they sleep, and how they do it. Changes in sleep position and sleep timing can be important signals. And remember, when in doubt, call the vet!
So keep an eye on when your dog sleeps, where they sleep, and how they do it. Changes in sleep position and sleep timing can be important signals. And remember, when in doubt, call the vet!
Keeping your canine well-rested is an important part of being a dog owner. And considering how many hours dogs sleep a day, it’s clear that their sleep environment is an important part of their overall health and happiness.
You can create a calming sleep environment for your pup by investing in a comfortable dog bed, planning for rest after big activities, and encouraging a consistent food/bathroom cycle. Just like humans, dogs need good rest to be at their best! And monitoring your dog’s sleep patterns will help keep you up to date on their health and wellbeing.