Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much? Understanding Their Sleeping Habits

Dogs are known for their love of sleeping, and it’s not uncommon to see them taking a snooze for hours. While we may get envious of their ability to nap whenever they please, it’s essential to understand why dogs sleep so much and what excessive sleeping in dogs looks like.

Your dog’s sleep depends on various factors, such as age, breed, activity level, and environmental conditions. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), it’s considered normal if your dog sleeps between 12-14 hours a day. It is essential to monitor your dog’s behavior when they are awake if they sleep for more than 15 hours a day. If you observe signs of lethargy or disconnection, taking them to a veterinarian is imperative.

Environmental changes can also affect your dog’s sleeping habits. If there are new pets in the house, hot weather, a schedule change, or increased playtime, your dog may sleep more than usual. It’s essential to monitor your dog’s behavior in these situations and ensure they have a comfortable, quiet place to rest.

Age is also a significant factor in a dog’s sleep needs. Puppies require between 15-20 hours of sleep per day, as it helps their central nervous system, immune system, and muscles develop correctly. Establishing a routine for your puppy’s naps and keeping children and other pets from disturbing them is essential.

Older dogs usually require more sleep than their younger counterparts and may need longer to recover from physical activity. If you notice that your senior dog is sleeping more than usual and experiencing difficulties standing or walking, it could be a sign of arthritis. To ensure the proper diagnosis and treatment, it’s essential to take your dog to the veterinarian for a thorough examination.

While extra sleep here and there isn’t concerning, excessive sleeping accompanied by changes in eating patterns, unusual thirst, or excess urination could indicate medical issues like diabetes or kidney disease. If you’re concerned about your dog’s sleep patterns, keep track of their eating, play, and bathroom behaviors and share them with your vet.

The behavior of your dog throughout the day is heavily influenced by their nutrition. If they are not receiving the proper nutrients, their body may not have enough energy to be as active as other dogs. It is important to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog receives a well-balanced diet promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

Here is a brief overview of some research on dog sleep:

Dogs Need More Sleep Than Humans
On average, dogs sleep around 12 to 14 hours a day, while puppies and senior dogs need even more sleep. This amount of sleep is significantly more than the amount humans typically need, which is around 8 hours a day.

Sleeping Positions Indicate Comfort and Security
How dogs sleep can reveal a lot about their personalities and comfort levels. Dogs that sleep on their backs are typically more comfortable and feel secure in their environment. Meanwhile, dogs that curl up into a ball or sleep with their paws tucked under their body may feel more vulnerable and need more protection.

Sleep Affects Dog Behavior
Adequate sleep is crucial to a dog’s overall health and behavior. Lack of sleep can lead to irritability, anxiety, and even depression. Conversely, a well-rested dog is more likely to be alert, engaged, and eager to play.

Environment Affects Dog Sleep Quality
The quality of a dog’s sleep can also be influenced by their environment. Dogs that sleep in noisy, crowded areas or are exposed to frequent disruptions may have poorer quality sleep. Providing a quiet and comfortable sleeping space can help improve the quality of a dog’s sleep.

Dogs Can Dream 
Like humans, dogs can dream during their sleep. Researchers have observed that dogs have rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a sleep phase associated with dreaming in humans. Dogs may also make sounds, such as barks or whimpers, while they are dreaming.

Overall, research shows that dogs need adequate sleep to maintain their health and well-being. Understanding the factors affecting a dog’s sleep can help dog parents provide the best care for their furry companions.

To determine whether your dog is sleeping too much or too little, it’s important to track their daily routine and discuss it with your vet during regular checkups. Your veterinarian can assess if the sleeping patterns are normal for your dog and suggest further examinations or adjustments if needed.