How much sleep does your dog need?
Dogs have a unique sleeping pattern, and their life seems like a leisurely experience. After sleeping all night, dogs spend most of their days dozing on the couch and napping in sunbeams. So don’t be surprised when you see your pooch napping more than you do.
One question most dog owners ask is, “how much sleep do dogs need? Well, in this article, we shall be discussing that in detail, so you can know whether you really should let sleeping dogs lie.
Before we discuss that, you need to know that dogs are different from humans, and they do not need to stay up all day and sleep for long hours at night. In fact, your dog might only need just five hours to stay active throughout the day. They may sleep for half a day and devote the remaining time resting.
Why do dogs need sleep?
Sleeping is an essential need of all living entities, including, humans and dogs. Research has clearly shown that dogs grow better when they get an adequate amount of sleep, especially during puppyhood.
When dogs sleep, it helps them recharge and refresh themselves. Their minds get a chance to organize all the information collected during the day.
More so, when dogs play, interact with other dogs or their owner, or go on adventures, they get tired in the end and need to recharge. The same is true with humans. So sleep is very vital for overall wellbeing.
However, dogs have different sleeping patterns and needs.
How much sleep does your dog need?
Unlike humans, most dogs need more than 8 hours of sleep. So where an adult human would take an average of 7–9 hours of sleep daily, most dogs will need around 10 -13 hours of sleep every day.
Dogs spend most of their day either relaxing or sleeping. They experience less REM sleep than us and they are full of energy when active. So when they sleep for longer hours, they get enough time to recharge their batteries.
Puppies sleep longer than adults and they take tiny naps throughout the day. A young puppy, on average, sleeps for about 18–20 hours a day. But as they grow old with time, their sleep pattern and duration decrease slowly.
Puppies rest more during the growth phase as sleep is essential for their overall development. So you shouldn’t bother when you see your puppy sleeping too much. All they do basically at this age is sleep, eat, play, and repeat.
Older dogs do not sleep as much as puppies do. They dose off for roughly 10 hours a day. However, both adults and small dogs usually wake up before us. And when we are up and about for work, they tend to rest and take naps.
Dogs that are more than 5 years of age are called “senior dogs” as they are officially getting old. You shouldn’t compare human years with that of dogs because everything about a pooch happens fast. As they grow older, they tend to sleep more.
Senior dogs on average sleep for about 16–18 hours every day. However, you can describe this as more of resting than sleeping. The battery level in dogs drops as they grow older and you would often see them sit in a cool place and relax.
That said, it is important to know that some dogs sleep can sleep all day. As each dog is different, so are their needs. Some dogs eat a lot as they grow old while some might eat a little. The same could be the case with their sleep needs.
Does breed type affect sleeping patterns?
Usually, the smaller-sized dog breeds sleep between 14–16 hours daily. The medium-sized breeds sleep lesser with an average sleeping hour between 10–14 hours daily.
The larger dog breeds need more hours of sleep, and they often doze off for about 14–18 hours daily.
However, sleeping habits may be influenced by diet, routine, and overall health
Dog breeds such as Mastiff, Bulldogs, Shih Tzu, Chow, French bulldog, Greyhound, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, and Saint Bernard sleep for longer hours than other dog breeds.
Some other dog breeds like Australian Terrier, Airedale Terrier, Golden Retriever, Pomeranian, and Lagotto Romagnolo are very much active and full of energy, and most of the time, you’ll see them running around the house.
That said, keep in mind that breed is just a general measure and each dog comes with their own personality. So learn to understand what’s normal for your dog in particular.
Where should dogs sleep?
Dogs do choose hilarious sleeping positions based on what makes them comfortable. Your dog may sleep curled up, awkwardly ranged across sofa or floor, legs sprawled out and other sleeping positions.
Some breeds sleep in a way that makes them breathe more easily or stay cool. Some dogs circle or dig before settling — a character showing their wolfish past.
While your pooch may nap anywhere in the house, it is important that you provide them with a dog bed. This gives them a space for sleeping and enjoying their “me time.”
You don’t have to spend too much on a dog bed, however, you should consider a thicker and comfier bed for older dogs to provide comfort for their fragile bones.
What can affect your dog’s sleep quality?
Apart from aging, some factors can affect your dog’s sleeping pattern, including:
- Disturbance in their routine
- Underlying health conditions, such as kidney disease, injuries, diabetes, and heart ailments.
- Change in diet
How to improve your dog’s sleep quality
Sometimes, it may not be a health issue that disturbs a dog’s sleep pattern. It could simply be discomfort. So measures like getting a comfortable bed may help improve your dog’s sleeping pattern.
Keep in mind that dogs love to sleep on our beds, and most times it is simply because our bed is soft and comfortable. So, getting a comfy bed for your furry friend is a good step to improve their sleep quality.
Other measures you can take include:
- Set a sleeping time for your dog
- Let your dog decide on a sleeping corner
- Feed your dog on time
If you do not notice any sleep patterns in your dog, then you should talk with your veterinarian. You may not realize it now, but when you know when and how to comfort your dog, it will help improve their sleep quality and overall wellbeing.
But note that your dog will outsleep you any day, so don’t get bothered when you find them sleeping long hours.
Dogs are social sleepers and they need more sleep than you being their owner. Many factors influence their sleeping pattern, but generally, puppies sleep for about 18–20 hours a day, adult dogs sleep for about 10 hours a day, and senior dogs sleep for about 16–20 hours daily.
The best way, however, to determine how much sleep is best for your dog is to track a typical day for your dog and observe them closely. Watch closely for factors such as anxiety, pain, disturbance in their routine, and underlying health conditions.
All these might affect the quality of your dog’s sleep. So check with your veterinarian if you observe changes in your dog’s sleeping pattern.