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Why Do Dogs Sleep Round The Clock?

At A Glance

On an average, dogs sleep between 8 to 14 hours a day. As predatory mammals, this is natural for them but their breed, activity level, age, and health also impact their sleep time. If a dog changes its sleeping patterns abruptly, consult a vet.

Do you keep wondering why your dog sleeps so much? It is because it’s in their nature.

As facultative carnivores, dogs sleep anywhere between 12 to 20 hours a day. But a lot of factors determine these hours, as Cheryl Williams, Head Trainer at The Enlightened Dog points out.

“It depends on their age, activity level when they’re awake, amount of food they receive (a starved dog sleeps more to conserve energy) and health (a dog recovering from injury or illness obviously sleeps more),” she says.

French Bull Dog Sleeping On The Floor

Reasons Why Your Dog Sleeps So Much

Unlike humans, dogs follow their body clock: they sleep when they feel tired. And that comprises 50% of their day.

But that’s not all.

Sleep researchers and veterinarians say that other factors contribute equally to how much a dog sleeps.

 

Life Stage and Age

Puppies

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, younger pups up to 16 weeks of age sleep more during the day compared to those that are almost a year old.

Puppies need more sleep for their growth.

The longer they sleep, the better their Central Nervous System (CNS), muscles, brain, and immune system develops.

However, if you wean a puppy too soon from its mother and littermates, it might sleep less.

Give your puppies warm blankets and furry clothes to mimic the warmth of their mother’s body, and surround them with soft toys to simulate the feeling of being part of a litter to induce better sleep.

Adult Dogs

Adult dogs do sleep to a greater extent than their human counterparts, averaging at 11 hours. But they sleep more during the night time than the day.

However, depending on their size, health, and level of activity, their sleep time can vary from 8 hours to 14 hours. You cannot discount the fact that adult dogs also love to laze and lounge, simply watching you go about your day.

Senior Dogs

Older dogs often spend most of their time napping and relaxing.

With age, dogs get tired easily and often need a long time to recuperate. Some of them may also suffer from old age induced health problems, leading them to sleep for long stretches of time.

Pet parent Patricia Shoup’s pitbull is a case in point. She explains, “My pit with bad hind legs will sleep more as he knows it is somewhat painful to get up.”

This is one of the major reasons why dogs sleep so much when they get older.

Cute Dog Sleeping

Environment

Why do dogs sleep so much?

The culprit might very well be your dog’s sleeping environment.

Boredom and lack of activity could cause your dog to snooze off.

Dog mom Anne Agard says her dogs prefer to nap throughout the day when they don’t have much to do. “They tend to go to sleep when they have nothing else to do. They are easily roused if some more interesting diversion presents itself—a walk, a game of fetch, a visitor,” she explains.

The solution is simple — spend more quality time with your canine companion. Play a game of fetch, or have your dog join you for a hike. Invest in toys (think of a puzzle feeder) that would hold its interest for hours.

Dogs are creatures of habit. They follow a routine, and once they get used to it, they stick to it. Inculcate good habits in your pet from a young age to make sure they are healthy and active.

Dog lying on floor with food

Lack of Nutrition

Dogs need good quality animal protein along with healthy carbs and fats for their diet. Vitamins and minerals play a vital role in their health and wellness too.

So, a diet deficient in any of these essentials will affect your dog’s digestive health, leading to lack of energy, and poor sleep.

Whether your dog is on a kibble, canned, home cooked, or raw diet — make sure it’s well-balanced. After all, everyone, including canines, sleep and function well when their bellies are full with the right kind of food.

Shih Tzu sleeping on grass

Breed

While breed specific sleeping habits are a matter of contention among pet parents and vets alike, veteran dog trainer Kristen Lauterbach Craig has a very interesting take on the matter.

She says, “From my personal research-that being that I have shared my home with big and small dogs-they sleep the same amount, and that appears to be all the time. The main difference is the amount of energy expended between long naps.”

Most large working breeds that are active during the day tend to sleep for longer at night.

But some large breeds, like the Great Dane, generally love to doze off a lot. They’re not alone; some smaller breeds the Shih Tzu, the miniature Pinscher, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel show an extreme fondness for sleeping too.

In a way, it’s all relative when it comes to the correlation between dog breeds and sleeping habits.

Cute dog sleeping on bed

Health Issues

Asking yourself is it normal for my dog to sleep all day?

When your dog does not get enough sleep, its behavior changes and that could present more difficulties for you. Too much sleep, or sleep hours that go beyond 15 hours, however, could indicate an underlying health problem.

So it’s not entirely a good thing when your dog sleeps too much, especially if its sleep pattern changes abruptly.

Take your dog to a veterinarian if it changes its sleeping patterns and exhibits a lack of interest in food and other activities. Too much sleep could indicate a deeper health problem, such as diabetes, anemia, kidney disease, bacterial infection, viral infection or poisoning.

For older dogs, hypothyroidism, arthritis, and heart disease could be factors affecting their sleep cycle.

Pug sleeping on a sofa chair

Reasons Why Your Dog Can’t Sleep

Why can’t your dog sleep?

Any of the following reasons could be at play:

  • Pain, Illness, Or Injury
  • Lack Of Exercise
  • Anxiety
  • Change in routine
  • Change in household
  • Temperature fluctuations

Anxiety in particular has a rather insidious impact on dogs. Dogs suffer from separation anxiety and those abandoned in shelters often display behavior that would affect their sleep.

Unfamiliar surroundings, the presence of other dogs, and boredom affects their sleeping habits.

So if you ever wonder why your dog snuggles and sleeps huddled with you, it could very well be that they are anxious and stressed about something.

What The Fact: Dogs are “social” sleepers. They take after their humans when it comes to sleeping. They are active for most part of the day and rest at night if that’s your routine too. And like us, their sleep cycles can be disrupted by too many nighttime activities or environmental disturbances.

Dog lying on wooden bench

Sleep Behaviour in Dogs

A dog’s sleep cycle averages 20 to 23 in an eight-hour period. These cycles consist of 16 minutes of sleep and five minutes of waking periods.

Interestingly enough, dogs experience several phases of sleep, which means they sleep for shorter periods of time than humans. This explains why dogs sleep so much more than humans.

Their sleep cycles could reach 45 minutes at a time, and they will experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep twice in that duration.

Dogs spontaneously wake up after this period.

Adorable Puppy Sleeping On The Floor

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?

On average, dogs need to sleep for 8 to 14 hours a day. Older dogs and puppies sleep more than active adult dogs and can snooze for anywhere between 18 to 20 hours daily.

Should My Dog Sleep With Me?

Most people with stress and anxiety often find it comforting to let their dogs sleep in bed with them. However, dogs and humans have different sleep cycles, and it might affect the quality of your sleep when your dogs sleep with you.

It’s best to have a separate dog bed in your room if you are not comfortable sharing your bed with your pet.

Some of you may be allergic to your dog’s fur and dander. So, it’s best to have your beloved pet sleep in its own bed.

At the end of the day, it boils down to your preference and the kind of relationship you share with your pet.

What If My Dog Is Restless at Night and Won’t Sleep?

Such cases call for deeper inspection of your dog’s behaviour and wellbeing. It could be suffering from an underlying health issue that you’ve been unable to spot.

Or, they could be still trying to find their comfort zone.

Give your pet some time to acclimatize to its new home. Patience is key when it comes to cohabiting with a dog.

When Should I Get Help?

You should see a vet if your dog falls asleep suddenly in the middle of an activity. It could be a sign of narcolepsy.

Too much excitement often induces sleep in narcoleptic dogs.

Although more common in young puppies, older dogs can suffer from narcolepsy too. So keep an eye out for your pet.

If your dog wakes up too often in fright or stress, you might need to see a vet too.

Are There Sleep Aids for Dogs?

Vets prescribe sedatives for dogs to improve their quality of sleep.

There are home remedies you can try as well. Passionflower with its natural calming effect is a good way of helping your dog get the sleep it needs.

Do remember that some dogs might just need more exercise and activity to be able to sleep well. Go for a walk or on a run an hour before going to bed to help your pet fall asleep.

Do Dogs Have Sleep Disorders?

Yes, they do! Some of the most common sleep disorders in dogs include narcolepsy, sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, cognitive aging, and sleep deprivation.

If your dog is not getting quality sleep and starts showing symptoms of distress or anxiety, dial the vet.

Do Dogs Dream?

Yes they do! Research reveals that dreaming is a part of the mammalian sleep cycle, and dogs display the same kind of brain activity as humans do when they dream.

Cute Retriever

A Happy Dog’s Night and Day Includes Sleeping!

Even after years of domestication, dogs resemble their predatory ancestors in their sleeping behavior.

So, they use up a lot of energy even in a few hours of activity, and have a sleep cycle that helps them become aware of any danger even when they sleep.

Instead of worrying about why do dogs sleep so much, make sure your pooch is getting its well deserved rest.

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Paul Andrews
https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-andrews-172490189/

A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.