Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?
Sometimes you hear your dog curled up, relaxed and snoring in the sun.
It’s only 8:30 and you two have been up for several hours. Wondering why your dog is napping all day?
Is it normal to sleep this much? How many hours of sleep does your dog need? You can’t help wondering if your dog is sleeping too much and if you need to wake him up.
What Will We Learn?
Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?
According to experts at the National Sleep Foundation, it’s normal for dogs to spend about 50% of their day asleep. Another 30% of the day is spent “resting”, while dogs are on the move for about 20% of the day.
This is quite normal for carnivores. Lions spend 18 or more hours a day sleeping and resting.
Most dogs will sleep when there is nothing better to do.
Since they don’t have smartphones, work, or homework, sleeping is often the best way to spend long and boring hours.
How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?
Did you know that dogs tend to sleep for about 12 hours halfway through the day? During the other 12 hours, they spend 7 hours awake and the other five hours active. In general, larger dogs and older dogs sleep more as they need higher energy levels to support their activities.
How Much Do Dogs Sleep?
Puppies sleep even more. Small puppies, just like babies, can sleep up to 18-20 hours a day for the first few months as they grow up. After seeing the puppies playing like crazy, you may suddenly find that they are sleeping for a nap.
They need sleep to help their brains and bodies develop. As the pup gets older, he sleeps less. By the age of one, they will have more adult sleeping habits.
Is My Dog Sleeping Deep Enough?
Dogs and humans have different sleep patterns. It takes about 10 minutes for dogs to transition into rapid eye movement (REM), also known as deep sleep. For dogs, about 10% of their 12-hour sleep is in REM sleep.
In contrast, human sleep cycles include REM sleep for about a quarter of the time we sleep.
Because dogs don’t get a lot of REM sleep, they fall asleep easily and sleep like they’re awake. In other words, it is like a bird’s sleep, as we call it. So they need more sleep.
But not all dogs need that much sleep. Age, breed, health and personality all play a role in how long your dog sleeps. For example, research shows that narcoleptic dogs spend about 40% less time in REM cycles than healthy dogs.
Research shows that a lack of sleep can increase your dog’s potential for diabetes and obesity.
Working dogs, such as sled dogs or rescue dogs, tend to stay awake more because they have jobs.
Dogs without a job (other than being man’s best friend) enjoy a more relaxed existence with lower activity levels.
If your dog isn’t getting enough sleep, your veterinarian may recommend giving melatonin, which can help regulate normal sleep patterns and may provide some extra benefits.
When To Manage Your Dog’s Sleep Schedule?
If you’ve just bought or recently adopted a puppy, it’s a good idea to get him on a sleep schedule. You want to make sure he pees and poops when needed, sleeps through the night, and eats at appropriate times. You’ll also want to get him used to your own sleep schedule.
If you have a larger dog, he will need more sleep. But you also may not want to let your dog sleep too much. Wake him up often to make sure he’s not dehydrated and guide him to the water. Getting up to move every few hours will also prevent your joints from getting too stiff.
The Importance of Exercise for Dog Sleep
For dogs of all ages, taking plenty of daily walks will help keep your dog active and engaged when awake, and will help with sleep quality when he needs to sleep at night.
When To Worry About Your Dog Sleeping Too Much?
It is possible that your dog is sleeping too much. Especially if their habits change. If you notice that he is suddenly asleep most of the day, that could be an indication that something is wrong. If it takes longer for him to wake up from sleep, this may also indicate that he is not feeling well.
Sleeping longer can indicate several different health problems. For example:
- Depression or cognitive dysfunction
- Hearing loss
- Heart disease
- Arthritis or other chronic pain
- Sleeping Habits of Dogs
Wolves, ancestors of our dogs, spin around before falling asleep. The dogs continued this habit. Some circle more than others, but this is a transmitted behavior to keep them safe.
In the wild, wolves would position themselves so they could follow the direction of the wind and be ready for any attack.
This instinctive behavior is ingrained in your dog and even though he is safe at home with you, they will circle before going to sleep.
While your dog probably has a bed or other comfortable place to sleep, circling helps him build a nest in the wild.
This nest provides him with a soft, clean place to sleep while also deterring predators and removing insects (such as snakes or insects) from his sleeping area. His behavior may seem strange to you, but this is dog behavior.
Will My Dog Sleep With Me?
Yes or no. There are conflicting theories about whether or not you should let your dog sleep with you. Allowing your dog to share your bed can interrupt your sleep.
If your dog is untrained, new to your home, or if either of you has health issues, it may be better for him to sleep in another room or in his own bed.
If you are a light sleeper, it may be better to sleep without your dog.
But if your dog wants to sleep with you, it’s good for him. It makes her feel safe and can help with separation anxiety.
But we should not forget that if we want to appear like a leader, it is best not to let your dog into your bed.
See also: Can Rabbits Eat Blackberries?