How Many Hours a Day Should a Dog Sleep- Everything You Need to Know?

how animals sleep

If you have a dog, you will know just how much they like to laze. Chances are your dog is sleeping right now. Research shows that most dogs spend up to half of their day in bed dozing.

Whilst experts are unsure of the true reason behind this need for sleep, one theory is that only about a 10% proportion of a dog’s sleep is spent in REM, by comparison for a human this is about 25%.

You tend to sleep in one block throughout the night getting all of the restorative kind of sleep you require at once, whereas dogs have a series of shorter sleeps. This means that in total they need longer time in bed to obtain enough of the type of sleep that they need.

How many hours does a dog sleep in a 24 hour period?

On average a dog sleeps 12-14 hours within a 24-hour period is normal. However, puppies like human babies need longer sleep, so expect somewhere in the realms of 18-20 hours a day.

Which dogs sleep the most?

It is also true the hours of rest tend to be breed dependent.

Many bigger breeds have a reputation for always being in bed. Think Newfoundland, Mastiff or St Bernard and the image of a dog that sleeps the most.

Is it OK For dogs to sleep all day?

Dogs are flexible sleepers waking up when something exciting is happening and sleeping when bored.

According to the experts at the National Sleep Foundation, generally, dogs spend 50% of their day sleeping, 30% laying on their bed and 20% of their day they are active.

Whilst in general dogs cannot sleep too much, it is not simply the amount a dog sleeps that should cause concern to owners, but if there is a sudden change in sleep routine.

The aforementioned factors such as breed, or dog age can have a significant bearing on the amount of sleep required.

But too much sleep suddenly can signify that something is up. The following is some of the likely causes for the need for increased sleep in canines:

  • Stress, anxiety & boredom- A dog going through psychological issues is generally going to sleep a lot. Providing a routine of activities to stimulate your dog and enhance mental and physical wellbeing is one way to combat this.

    Separation is also a major common cause of anxiety. Perhaps invest in a calming, anti-anxiety dog bed such as those from Bobbybed.com These beds cleverly simulate mothers fur and provide comfort whilst the owner is not there, working to ease anxiety in a natural way.
  • Hypothyroidism- An under secretion of thyroxine can be signified by an increase in the need for sleep. Particularly affected are older dogs. Susceptible breeds are Labradors, Great Danes, dachshunds & Doberman pinschers
  • Diabetes- The inability of the body to produce insulin can have a dramatic effect on sleep pattern. Commonly affected breeds include Dachshunds and Australian terriers.
  • Infections can knock your dog for six, and dramatically increase their sleep hours. These infections fall into two different categories
  1. Bacterial infections for example Leptospirosis 
  2. Viral infections for example Parvovirus or Infectious tracheobronchitis
  • Anemia- The reduction of red blood cells caused by the presence of blood sucking parasites in the dog’s body.
  • Structural ailments- Such as Arthritis or hip dysplasia can result in your dog spending increased amounts of time in bed.
  • The overall quality of rest is impaired due to the chronic pain of inflammatory joint conditions. The natural treatment of arthritis is also possible through the use of a truly orthopedic dog bed.

FAQs

Do dogs like to be petted whilst sleeping?


Remember never to pet your dog while they are in bed sleeping. This is important as all dogs require a safe place to rest and retreat. Consider your dog’s bed their personal space never to be invaded.

Your dog shouldn’t ever be prodded, picked up or moved during the time they are sleeping. Remember the expression “let sleeping dogs lie,” this is well founded in this case.

Why dogs shouldn’t sleep in your bed?


You may find dropping off to sleep next to your dog is easier due to mainly their relaxing rhythmic breathing lulling you off to slumber.

However, experts warn about the fact that your pet is likely to wake you. In a recent survey 53% of dog owners said their dog wakes them at least once a night whilst in their bed. These disruptions have a real impact upon the quality of the rest you are getting. This potential sleep deprivation can in turn have negative connotations for your mental and physical health.

That said there are certain benefits brought about by sleeping with your dog to include bonding so provided your dog is healthy you may choose to sleep with them.

However, as a word of warning please take a common-sense approach to include regular wellness exams for your dog, parasite control, vaccinations appropriate for your geographical area, and dental care.

Final Thoughts

In general, a sudden change in a dog’s demand for sleep signifies an ideal time to pay a visit to the vet for a checkup so as to rule out serious illness.

Conversely to the problem of dogs sleeping too much, remember sometimes the opposite is true and our best friend’s sleep is becoming disrupted. It may be time to invest in a new dog bed see our handy guide to the best dog beds.

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