On a particularly stressful, sleep-deprived day, you may have found yourself feeling jealous of your dozing dog who practically gets to sleep all day… with the exception of eating and playing.
While it may seem like your pooch is living a life of luxury, there may also be times where you’re wondering whether he’s sleeping too much. After all, how many hours of sleep do dogs really need? Read on to understand why your dog sleeps so much, and learn how to tell whether he’s sleeping too much.
How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?
While humans sleep between 7-9 hours on average each night, dogs sleep 12-14 hours between the day and night. In addition to those 12-14 hours, lots of time is also spent resting and lounging.
As humans, we tend to get all or most of our sleep at once. Dogs, on the other hand, sleep more sporadically, sleeping on and off throughout the day or night. As a result, they don’t get as much deep sleep, or REM sleep, so they need more total sleep to compensate.
The exact amount of sleep your pooch needs varies depending on his breed, age, health, and individual characteristics. Some pups simply tend to be more or less energetic than others by nature. Bigger breeds also generally need more sleep than their smaller counterparts.
Puppies and Sleep
Puppies need more sleep than older dogs, since growing takes so much energy! Plus, puppies don’t quite know how to pace themselves as they explore their new environment. As a result, they need up to 20 hours of sleep… although they don’t exactly sleep through the night, as any puppy owner knows.
While puppies need lots of sleep, they also can’t go too long without relieving themselves. When setting a sleep schedule for your pup, a good rule of thumb is that for every month of age, baby Fido can sleep one hour plus one. For example, when he’s five months old, he can probably sleep for six hours before needing to go outside; a seven-month-old puppy would likely be able to sleep for eight hours.
As your pup grows up, his sleep and bathroom schedules will occur more naturally—after all, dogs love routines.
Seniors and Sleep
As your dog gets older, his metabolism will inevitably slow down. As a result, he’ll need even more time to rest and recover after using up energy.
Gradually sleeping more and moving more slowly is a normal part of aging, but if your senior’s sleep and mobility seems more off than usual, talk to your vet to rule out any joint issues or other underlying health conditions.
Setting a Sleep Schedule
We can’t quite control when our pets go to sleep or wake up, but there are steps we can take to implement a consistent routine. (Plus, puppies and recent rescues in particular can benefit from extra structure.)
When setting a sleep schedule, the first thing to consider is when and how often your dog needs to go outside to relieve himself. Let him outside before you go to bed, planning out enough time for you to get enough sleep before he needs to go again.
At night, turn off the lights and TV to indicate that you’re going to bed. This should encourage your dog to do the same, at least for a little while.
Designate a quiet, comfortable spot in the house where your dog can nap every day and be left alone. As your dog becomes more familiar with your daily routine, he may adjust his sleep schedule accordingly so that he’s awake when he can spend time with you, and asleep when you’re busy or away from the house.
For dogs who have trouble sleeping due to stress or anxiety, try Pet Honesty’s Premium Hemp Calming Chews. These tasty chews contain ingredients such as melatonin, chamomile, ginger root, and hemp seed oil, which work together to create a calming effect.
Is Your Dog Sleeping Too Much?
If your dog is sleeping more than the average 12-14 hours, there may be a reason behind his excessive snoozing. Some possible explanations for extra naps could include:
- Low energy and lethargy due to hot weather
- Being tuckered out from extra playtime
Don’t try to diagnose your dog with health issues from his sleep patterns alone. After all, some dogs simply love to nap. Instead, watch for other symptoms in addition to excessive sleeping, such as:
- Changes in eating patterns (such as sleeping through meal times)
- Changes in bathroom patterns (such as having accidents while he sleeps, or neglecting to go outside)
- Snoring or stops in breathing during sleep (possible sign of respiratory issues)
- Sleeping through loud sounds (possible sign of hearing loss)
- Choosing to sleep through activities he would normally be awake and alert for, such as games or walks
In addition to watching for symptoms, make sure your dog is getting all of the necessary nutrients in his diet. If there is any reason to be concerned about your dog’s sleeping patterns, talk to your vet to rule out any health issues.