a dog resting his head on a sofa

How Many Hours of Sleep Do Dogs Need?

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Are you constantly worried that your dog sleeps too much? Don’t be! We humans get by quite nicely on 6-9 hours of sleep a day but―just in case you didn’t get the memo―dogs are not humans. It’s really quite simple; our canine friends just sleep more each day than we do. But the question: ‘how many hours of sleep do dogs need?’  is a valid and important one.

Dog sleep needs vary, but as long as they are healthy―physically and mentally―you can expect your dog to sleep a lot.  Puppies and senior dogs in good health may sleep as much as 14 hours a day and active young adult dogs normally sleep as much as 12 to 14 hours a day.

It’s important to understand that not all dogs will sleep the same amount of time. It really depends on a variety of factors―things like breed, fitness, health, diet, age, environment, and pregnancy can easily skew the average and all of these influencers matter.

You’ve probably noticed that your dog doesn’t sleep all those hours straight through every day.  Actually, dogs tend to sleep intermittently during the day and night―they catch a few winks whenever they can. And, dogs lie down a lot just resting their bodies and their eyes. That is, they may look like they’re asleep but they’re only relaxing.  Also, it is important to note that some dogs have different sleeping needs from other dogs and certainly from people.

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Dogs Sleep Differently

  • Big breed dogs usually sleep more hours and deeper than small breed dogs.
  • Herding, Retrievers, Pointers, and other active working dog breeds sleep less deep and less time than non-working breeds of similar age and size.
  • All dogs sleep more hours but lighter than people.
  • Like people, though, dogs do dream―about what, we really don’t know.

The fact is that most dogs’ waking hours are tuned into their various trained, social, and sensory activities, as well as their normal bodily functions. Their sleeping hours are likely a replay of something they did that day. Fetching a ball, chasing a cat, herding sheep, retrieving game birds, swimming, running, guarding, or something they did with their human companion.  These are all activity events they replay in their dreams just like us. But, since dogs can’t talk we can only guess what they actually dream about.

Some Breeds That Sleep A Lot Are:

  • Bulldogs
  • Mastiffs
  • Great Danes
  • Greyhounds
  • Bloodhounds
  • St. Bernards
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Wolfhounds
  • Pekingese
  • Chows
  • Cockers
  • Shih Tzus
  • Pugs

While this list is just some of the breeds that tend to sleep a lot, it is not meant to be “all-inclusive” or “set in stone”.  Undoubtedly, there are exceptions including other breeds and individual dogs within all breeds.

What if My Dog is Sleeping Too Much or Not Enough?

That’s a good question. Many things can cause a change in your dog’s sleeping habits. Such as, a family member’s death, another pet’s death, a recent move to a new home, a schedule change, or anything that impacts what the dog is used to.

But, this is very important; if your dog’s sleeping patterns change dramatically without an obvious reason and don’t go back to normal in a few days then talk to your vet.  There could be a serious underlying cause to the problem.

How Many Hours of Sleep do Dogs Need?

I hope you’ve gained some new insights into your dog’s sleep habits from this article.  I’ve attempted to answer the question: ‘how many hours of sleep do dogs need?’  But there is a lot to it in terms of breed differences, household events, and health.

As always, your questions/comments are welcome. Please subscribe to my newsletter―it’s free―and you can always unsubscribe anytime.  And, you can contact me here or by visiting any of my social sites.  Thanks Again!

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