Do you ever wish you could ask your dog if he had a good night’s sleep? Many pet owners wish they could just ask their pets these questions like they would other family members. Since we cannot, it’s important to be informed about key pet health issues.
On average, dogs are only active 20% of their day, anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours are the recommended exercise on average for dogs. How much a dog sleeps depends on a variety of factors such as:
Factors such as age, breed, activity level, and health play a role in how many hours of shut-eye your dog needs each day. Some other general factors on how much sleep your dog requires include the quality and quantity and the amount of exercise the dog gets in a day.
How Many Hours Do Dogs Sleep?
Puppies, like human babies, will sleep more than fully grown dogs. Sleep is critical for it in this development stage. It is likely that puppy, particularly those under four weeks, may sleep up to 20 hours per day. They play hard and nap hard.
Adult Dogs’ Sleep
For adult dogs, once they have grown past the puppy stage, they will begin to sleep 12 – 14 hours per day. How much exactly a dog will sleep depends on many factors. Breed, activity level, health as well as diet can affect the amount of sleep a dog will need. An example of this is working dogs. Breeds bred to work and put to work such as sheepdogs or working police dogs may require more sleep.
Senior Dogs’ Sleep
Dogs in their golden years — typically categorized at older than seven years —may sleep more. Due to decreased activity level and decreased exercise, senior dogs may sleep up to 18 hours a day, just like puppies.
What Affects How Dogs Sleep?
Breed as a Factor
The breed of your dog may play a role in the amount of sleep they are getting or need. Larger breeds of dogs tend to sleep more than small-sized breeds.
Working dogs may be more tired once their working day is done, but as they are on the job all day, they are busy and alert throughout the day.
Quality of Sleep
Quality of sleep plays a role in the total number of hours your dog will sleep. Like us humans, if dogs are being frequently woken up they will need more sleep eventually. And as the old saying goes, “a tired dog is a happy dog”.
This does not necessarily apply to dogs who are frequently woken. It is aimed at dogs that are frequently exercised as a well-exercised dog will get better quality sleep. You could also try giving him his own room so as not to disturb him.
Healthy dogs not only have an easier time during the day, but they will get a better night’s sleep. If your dog is not getting the proper nutrients or is unwell, he may be more drowsy during the day and need more frequent rest and naps.
Making sure your dog does not miss vet visits helps with his long and short-term health. If you have concerns about your pet’s sleep patterns, it is best to talk to the vet about it at the next visit.
Dedicated Sleeping Space
Many dogs benefit from routines and boundaries. Having a dedicated sleeping space will help him settle in for the night. For some dog owners, that means a kennel or crate while others may have their dog sleep in their bed with them each night. Whichever sleep situation works best for you and furry friend, ensure that you both get the rest needed without the fuss.
Some dog owners may include an item of worn clothing for their dog to sleep with at night in its kennel. This can provide the dog with a sense of comfort as the smell of you keeps him happy.
A dog’s environment can affect how much sleep he needs and is getting. Even slight changes in the environment can make a big difference in his quality of sleep.
- Weather changes – The weather outside can affect the way your dog behaves. Dogs may need more sleep if it has been exceptionally warm outside. The rain can also cause your furries to sleep longer.
- New friends – A new pet in your home, playtime, or when it begins to go to dog daycare can affect the sleep needs of your dog. Emotions, increased awareness, or exercise will certainly have an effect on sleep patterns.
- Changes in your schedule – If your work or sleep cycles have suddenly changed, it will also affect your pet. A change in your schedule might bring on restlessness, and your dog will sense your negative energy.
Stages of Sleep for Dogs
A dog experiences sleep cycles like any human being. Canines spend about 16 minutes asleep at a time before awaking for five minutes. These bouts of sleep are natural for dogs, although it may sound exhausting. When dogs do fall asleep, they enter into a deep sleep and after 10 minutes, their heart rate slows and their blood pressure decreases. This is called REM sleep.
It is during REM sleep that a dog will dream and even have nightmares. You can sometimes tell when dogs are dreaming when their eyes are rolling under closed lids or they are slightly moving their paws. Some dogs make sounds when dreaming, such as soft barks or whines. Dreaming animals are very amusing and many pet owners find twitching paws or moving limbs adorable.
In total, only about 10% of a dog’s sleep will be spent in REM sleep. Compared to humans who spend approximately 25%, that may not seem like much but it is completely natural for their species. Also, during REM sleep the dog’s brain functions much like it does when awake.
Can Dogs Sleep Too Much?
Dogs sleep a lot so do not worry if you feel like he sleeps more than you do — it’s healthy. Perhaps there is a sudden increase in the amount of sleeping your dog is doing. Or maybe he seems to have very low energy. Dogs can also suffer from sleep apnea, which is a brief lapse of breathing and is typically found in short-snouted dogs.
Some variances in sleep are normal for any animal. If you are concerned about how much or how little your dog is sleeping, it is best to consult your veterinarian about his energy levels. Your vet will review what is normal for your dog and advise you if there is anything to be concerned about.
Just like with their human owners, sleep is an important part of a dog’s life as it plays a critical role in energy levels, health, and overall happiness. We love our canine family members so we want them to get the quality, cozy period of sleep we enjoy. The total sleep hours exceed what we as humans need as their sleep patterns differ quite a bit from humans.
Also, frequent waking is normal for dogs so do not worry when he wakes up throughout the night. In the bed, the crate or on the couch — whatever sleep situation works for you is just fine for your four-legged friend. Don’t forget to check in with your vet if you feel your dog is not getting enough sleep or sleeps too much. Happy tails – and naps!
How long does your dog sleep? Share in the comments.