Most dog lovers are familiar with canine snoozing sessions during the day, and it’s an entirely healthy and normal thing. But how can you know if your pup is sleeping too much or is he getting enough sleep during the night? In this article, we will discuss the ideal amount of dog sleep hours per day.
Is Your Dog Sleeping More Than Usual?
Different factors can determine your dog’s sleeping propensities, many of them being related to age, breed, daily physical activity, and similar.
However, sometimes dogs try to compensate for tiredness, pain, separation anxiety, or hormonal imbalances by sleeping too much or having problems with regular resting patterns.
Read on to find out more about canine sleeping and when it is necessary to consult a vet for help.
The Truth Behind Dog Sleep Hours Per Day and What’s ‘Normal.’
Just like for humans, and cats, who spend 70% of their lifetime asleep, good quality sleep is a must for dogs to stay healthy and retain a strong immune system.
You may have noticed that your pooch enjoys taking naps during the day, which has been going on since early puppyhood. There’s nothing to be alarmed about if these naps are not interfering with their normal daily activities, appetite, eagerness to socialize, and play.
In fact, an average healthy dog will sleep between 14-16 hours per day, while puppies, when still babies, can sleep up to 20 hours, almost the entire day! Why does this happen?
Dogs sleep at night, but their sleeping cycle differs to some extent from ours. Unlike humans, dogs experience the transition from deep sleep into the rapid eye movement (REM) cycle much more quickly, approximately 10 minutes upon falling asleep. It’s because of the REM phase that dogs have the ability to dream like us. You’ve probably noticed your pup twitching, fidgeting, or moving their paws like they want to run during their daily naps.
That said, what’s different in dogs is that before finishing the REM cycle, dogs partially wake up and stay groggy for some time before falling asleep again. These sleep-wake phases occur because the dog’s natural instincts are used to prepare them for danger at night, requiring constant alertness in case somebody poses a threat to the pack. On average, your pooch can go through about 23 of these cycles during one night. Continuous waking up is tiring, which is why dogs turn to daily naps to make up for the lost rest during the night.
What determines your dog’s sleeping patterns?
Since their health rhythm is different from ours, it’s important to understand different factors that determine your dog’s sleep in order to exclude any possible issues.
To be able to divert energy into growth, puppies need a lot of sleep. Vitality and longevity are directly connected to healthy sleeping patterns, so make sure you let your furbaby snooze as much as necessary. When teenagers and young adults, dogs should sleep around 14 hours a day (including naps), but that also depends on the breed. Senior dogs usually have other health issues like joint problems, diabetes, weight problems, etc., which can all require more hours of lying and napping than usual.
Your dog’s breed can also determine how much sleep he requires. Like the Newfoundland, bigger and more robust breeds need more energy and effort to move than others, so they also need more rest. Smaller or teacup-size breeds usually don’t sleep more than 13-14 hours a day.
The more energy they burn, the more rest and restoring a dog needs. If you’re an active, on-the-go family who likes to take their furry companion on lots of outdoor adventures, then your pup may need more self-time to recharge. That said, lack of physical activity and stimulation can lead to depression, loneliness, and a general state of laziness that eventually turn into constant sleeping and excessive napping during the day, purely out of boredom.
Before worrying about any sleeping disorders, make sure you’re devoting enough quality time to your four-legged buddy. Like Huskies and Border Collies, some breeds generally require more physical activity and challenging workouts to stay happy and motivated. Half an hour a day more with your pup can make a massive difference to their self-esteem and mood, thus improving their sleep as well.
When should I consult a vet about my dog’s uncontrolled sleeping?
If all of the reasons mentioned above are taken into account, and you’re still worried about your pup’s excessive sleeping, you should then definitely consult a vet. Here are some common reasons why dogs sleep too much:
Physical injury/ Illness
If you notice unusual limping, wining, and slower movement in your dog, he or she may be suffering from an injury. This can also influence the amount of sleep he or she is getting, either by preventing a restful sleep during the night or causing them to sleep unusually long in order to heal.
Dysfunction of the thyroid gland
Thyroid problems and diseases can create a hormonal imbalance in your pup’s body and vastly influence their sleeping. The under-secretion of the gland’s hormone thyroxine (also called hypothyroidism) can significantly alter the body’s chemical processes and cause severe grogginess, lack of energy, tiredness, and more. Other dogs are more prone to this disease, but younger dogs can also be genetically predisposed for thyroid issues, mostly breeds like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, etc.
Apart from other health issues like diarrhea, respiratory problems, skin irritation, etc., bloodsucking parasites can cause anemia in dogs, a condition that is caused by a low number of red blood cells (hemoglobin). Anemia usually causes low energy levels, joint weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, and a general state of sleepiness. If you notice your dog sleeping excessively, make a checkup appointment to test your dog for parasites.
This is another illness mostly related to older dogs, but recently more and more healthy dogs in their prime years are at the risk of suffering from diabetes due to improper diet habits, lack of physical activity, and stimulation. Diabetes also creates a dangerous hormonal imbalance and causes sudden energy fluctuations, which lead to sleeping in or having problems falling asleep. Some breeds are more prone to diabetes, but it is mostly determined by lifestyle and unhealthy nutrition.
How can I help my dog get a good night’s sleep?
Apart from having regular vet checkups, there are many ways in which you can create a pleasant and welcoming sleeping environment for your dog. Make sure they have their own sleeping nook and that it’s their comfy sanctuary with a good quality dog bed, toys, and their favorite accessories.
Spoil your dog with an Orthopedic Dog Bed!
If you keep your dog indoors with the rest of the family and noisy kids, try to leave a separate room with secure bedroom locks or at least an isolated area for your dog to turn to when he needs quiet napping.
Mental stimulation is as essential as physical for wellbeing, so involve as many games, family activities, and toys to keep the adrenaline going and your pup healthy and happy. A fun and easy solution for indoor canine fun is DIY obstacle courses you can make out of boxes, toilet paper tubes, and furniture around the house. If the kids can help, it can turn into family fun, not just for the dog but also for everyone. A simple game of tug-o’-war will get the blood pumping and keep your dog’s energy high without much preparation and time investment.
The important thing is to see your dog as an affectionate being that needs attention, love, devotion, and care. This way, you will always be alert enough to notice any sleeping disorders and adequate react if there’s a need for that.