If you own a dog, you will likely notice that their sleeping habits are quite different from yours.
Not only do they sleep through the night but they also spend a good portion of their day snoozing.
Although, this may seem odd, it is usually no cause for concern. It is actually quite normal.
Sleep habits will vary amongst breeds, ages and even individual pets. If general sleeping habits were to be broken down into percentages it would likely look something like this:
Time Dogs Spend Sleeping
50% – Sleeping.
30% – Resting: not completely asleep, laying around, maybe snoozing just a bit, but generally inactive.
20% – Active.
It is normal to expect that your dog will average somewhere between 11-18 hours of sleep per day, comprised of not only an overnight stretch, but also multiple naps throughout the day.
In general, dogs do not tend to sleep as deeply as we do and therefore they require more than we do. Dogs also do not require consistent sleeping patterns but instead are able to adjust their sleep around whatever activities they are surrounded with so that they can remain alert when needed and rest when not needed.
There are several different factors that come into play regarding how much sleep each individual pet requires.
Dogs will require different amounts asleep depending on what cycle of life they are in. Similar to humans, dogs that are in their peak years will likely require less sleep than puppies or older dogs.
Young dogs, puppies, are just like babies, wearing out more quickly and requiring not only their full night of sleep but also many smaller naps throughout the course of the day. At this young age, pups may sleep even up to a total of 18 hours per day.
‘Teenage’ or middle aged dogs will likely have the highest energy levels and may nap significantly less during the day and be much more consistently active. Some may even seem as if they are trying to wear you out wanting what feels like endless hours of fetch and walks and play.
As a dog continues to age, their energy levels will gradually wane and they will slow down. As dogs enter into the final years of their lives, they are likely to, once again, require more sleep.
It’s normal that, along with the typical lighter sleep cycles common to dogs, older dogs will be more restless at night, getting up multiple times to pace and investigate noises before returning to their rest.
Their daytime naps are also likely to become a more frequent and even if they are not sleeping, their activity levels will decrease and they will tend to spend much more time simply laying around and resting, even if wide awake.
A dog’s life and the activity levels required in their day to day, will also affect their sleeping habits.
For example, smaller dogs that are carried around often and not required to exert high levels of energy might be much more prone to more frequent napping.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, working dogs that are trained and employed for such things as search and rescue roles will end up napping less as they are kept busier on a regular basis and have less chance for just lying around snoozing.
Breeds and Size
Sleep patterns vary based on breed and size. Smaller breeds might not require as much sleep where as larger, heavier breeds like the St Bernard might sleep up to 18 hours a day just like a younger pup.
Sometimes sleep patterns can be affected by a dog’s diet. If you notice that your pet’s normal sleep patterns have changed recently, stop to consider if their food intake has also changed.
If you have recently introduced a new treat or food to your dog’s diet, it is possible that that new consumable might contain one or several ingredients that are more difficult for your dog’s body to digest. This can result in them becoming less active as their bodies require more energy to digest what they have eaten leaving them less energy for their normal activities.
Likewise, choosing treats and foods that are healthy, high in quality and easily digestible can increase the energy level in your pet.
Being familiar with your dog’s normal sleep patterns can be a good way to determine whether or not they are sleeping too much.
If you are concerned that they are requiring too much sleep on a regular basis, you can take them to your veterinarian for a check-up to be sure that a health issue such as an underactive thyroid or heart condition in older dogs or a simple infection in puppies, is not the reason.