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Have you ever thought "my dog sleeps all day. Wish I could, too!"? Dogs do sleep more than humans, and although we may get a little jealous of our dogs' luxurious five-hour napping habits, it's important to understand why dogs sleep so much and know what excessive sleeping in dogs really looks like.
How Much Sleep Does My Dog Really Need?
When hanging with other pet parents, you may be curious if their dog sleeps all day, too. Unfortunately, comparing what your dog does to another dog's habits may not be the best way to gauge what is normal. How much sleep your dog needs depends on many factors: age, breed, activity level, and environmental conditions.
If your dog generally sleeps between 12-14 hours a day, you likely have nothing to be concerned about, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). However, if your dog is sleeping over 15 hours a day, you should pay close attention to how your dog behaves while awake. If they seem lethargic or disconnected to people and other pets, it's time to visit your veterinarian.
Take environmental changes into consideration when it seems like your dog is sleeping more than normal. Small changes in your dog's life could lead to big changes in their sleep habits.
- New pets: If there's suddenly a rambunctious kitten in the house, your dog may be looking for their own quiet spot to rest.
- Hot weather: If your dog gets sleepy in the summer, be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion like lethargy, excessive drooling or vomiting.
- A schedule change: Did you recently get a new job or change your work schedule? A dog who is home alone for long periods may become bored or lonely.
Playtime has increased: Has your dog recently started attending a new doggy daycare? Are the two of you training for a 5K together? Increases in playtime or exercise could just have your dog tuckered out, and it may take some time for them to adjust to the new level of exercise before they are back to their normal sleeping pattern.
Puppies: Play Hard, Nap Hard
Age is a big factor when it comes to how much sleep a dog needs. Just as human babies need a lot of sleep, the PDSA notes that some puppies can sleep 18-20 hours a day. This essential rest helps their central nervous system, immune system and muscles develop properly. Many puppies will get the sleep they need by napping throughout the day. Encourage your dog to nap in the same quiet, comfortable spot so you can establish a routine, and try to keep children or other pets from disturbing them.
Very young puppies may also need help establishing a regular bedtime. Turn off all the lights and noises such as TV around the same time every night to convince your pet that they should go to bed when you do.
Sleep and Ageing
Senior dogs tend to need more sleep than young or adult dogs, and often take longer to recover from exertion. The PDSA notes that senior dogs can sometimes become less active due to joint pain. If your dog is not only sleeping more but also having trouble standing and walking, they may be developing osteoarthritis.
An examination by your vet will help to reveal what could be causing your dog to sleep more. If your pet is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, your vet may recommend moving your pet's dog bed to a warmer location and adding some extra padding, as well as watching your dog's weight to avoid putting additional stress on their joints.
My Dog Sleeps All Day: Other Factors
Large dogs tend to sleep more often than their smaller counterparts. Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, mastiffs, and Great Pyrenees are especially known for being loving and loyal floor mats. If you have a gigantic dog who loves to sleep, they could simply have some seriously relaxed ancestors.
A little extra shut-eye here and there probably isn't something to be concerned about, but if your dog’s extra sleep is accompanied by a change in eating patterns, unusual thirst, or excessive urination, it's time to seek medical attention. This combination can sometimes point to canine diabetes or kidney disease.
It may be a good idea to watch how your dog acts while they’re sleeping as well. Although most dog parents have seen their dog running in their sleep, other movements could be a red flag for an underlying issue. A dog who stops breathing or snores may be at risk for respiratory issues. One who sleeps so soundly that they don’t even hear a doorbell ring, on the other hand, may be losing their hearing.
If you're concerned about your pet's sleep patterns, track their eating, play, and bathroom behaviours along with the uncharacteristic sleep behaviours. Saying "my dog sleeps all day" isn't enough to figure out a potential problem, so make sure that your vet has enough information to find out what's going on.
When it comes to dog sleeping patterns, there isn't an easy answer as to whether your dog is sleeping too much or too little. The best way to know for sure is to track a typical day for your dog and share it with your vet at regular checkups. Your vet can confirm if the sleeping patterns seem normal for your dog, and if they aren't normal, your vet can recommend adjustments to make or tests to consider. Once you realise your dog's sleeping patterns are normal, you too can sleep tight knowing your dog is healthy and well.
Chrissie Klinger is a pet parent that enjoys sharing her home with her furkids, two of her own children and her husband. Chrissie enjoys spending time with all her family members when she is not teaching, writing or blogging. She strives to write articles that help pet owners live a more active and meaningful life with their pets.
Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA and Dr. Becky Mullis, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition)