Dogs & sleep

Our canine companions are known for many things. They’re loyal to the core, some are expert ball fetchers, others don’t know how to stop eating and nearly all of them can sleep at a moment’s notice.

Unlike us humans, who generally stay up during the day and then sleep all night, dogs spread out their times of rest. It really is a dog’s life sometimes!

Here’s everything you need to know about your dog’s sleep patterns, from how much sleep they need, the reasons why they snooze so much and when your pooch’s sleep might be cause for concern

Why do dogs sleep so much?

You might have noticed that your dog tends to sleep whenever there isn’t anything better to do. Our pooches take many resting periods with other portions of the day devoted to activities like playtime or being walked.

How much do dogs sleep?

Dogs can average anything between eight to 20 hours of sleep each day, depending on their age, breed, exercise, surroundings, and health.

The amount of shut-eye they achieve is likely to change as they grow, with puppies needing more sleep than dogs of any other age, and snooze time then increasing again as they get older.

It’s also worth noting that like us, dogs that don’t get enough exercise or stimulation during the day may still be energetic at bedtime and find it difficult to wind down for the night.

Some dogs can sleep up to 20 hours a day!

How long do puppies sleep?

It’s normal for puppies to want to sleep for most of the day, with new-borns managing around 22 hours each day!

These sleep sessions are essential for your pup’s development so it’s incredibly important to let them nap when they feel like it to make sure they grow up to be a happy and healthy dog.

How much sleep is normal for my dog?

Here’s what your canine companion’s sleep schedule might look like depending on their age:

  • Puppies are likely to sleep for more hours during the day and sleep for longer overall compared to their older counterparts.
  • Adolescent dogs may have erratic sleep patterns as they find their routine but enjoy some playtime and walks in between.
  • Adult dogs tend to have more set sleeping schedules and sleep longer at night compared to when they were younger.
  • Senior dogs tend to have less energy which means they might start to sleep more as they age.

When is sleeping a problem?

Sleeping will vary between dogs, but you’ll soon come to learn their individual snoozing schedules. Knowing how and when they sleep is crucial to being able to notice any changes in their patterns that could indicate an underlying medical condition or other problems that might need veterinary attention.

For example, a urinary disease or infection would require frequent trips outside for the loo, which makes it difficult for dogs to sleep for longer stretches of time, so they’ll be awake more than usual. Or, issues with a dog’s joints, skin, or heart can result in pain, itching, or coughing which can also affect their ability to sleep in a normal and comfortable way.

Here are just some sleep-related problems to look out for:

  • If your dog seems reluctant to move or can’t get comfortable.
  • If your dog seems to sleep a lot less than they did before.
  • If it seems particularly difficult to wake your dog.
  • If they seem to be sleeping too much or much more than they usually do. 
  • Loud, chronic snoring is a common sign of sleep apnea (repeated stopping and starting of breathing during sleep) and will need veterinary treatment.

If you notice any change in your dog’s normal sleeping habits, take them to the vet as soon as possible so that they can receive the necessary treatment for a better night’s sleep for all!

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