How Many Hours a Day Do Dogs Sleep?
You know your pup requires excessive amounts of shut-eye time, but how much do dogs sleep, really?
You look admiringly at your fur baby after a long morning walk, and they are conked out in their dog bed: tongue out, legs twitching, a slight snore escaping their snout, dreaming about chasing the mailman—or some other odd dog behavior. A few hours pass, and it’s lunchtime. Other than a lap around the house, your puppy is still sleeping. You wake them for another walk, and afterward, they curl up in bed again—leading you, we’re sure, to ask the question: How much do dogs sleep?
Why do dogs sleep so much?
Dogs need a lot more sleep than people do, and it’s crucial to their overall health, according to PetMD. Humans are trained to sleep at night for a set number of hours, even if we feel tired during the day. For example, if we are at work and feel sleepy, we won’t curl up at our desks to take a nap—although we may really want to. While humans ignore these signals of sleepiness, dogs do not and just sleep when their body tells them it’s time.
How many hours a day do dogs sleep?
So, how many hours a day do dogs sleep, and why so doggone much? On average, dogs sleep anywhere from 10 to 12 hours a day, says Rachel Barrack, DVM, a veterinarian with Animal Acupuncture. And there are factors to consider when thinking about just how long they’re on the snooze cruise—their age, for instance.
How long do dogs sleep when they’re very young? It can be normal for puppies to sleep up to 20 hours a day, says Sara Ochoa, DVM, a veterinarian with Dog Lab. And you thought cats were big snoozers! Find out exactly how much cats sleep too.
How does age affect how much dogs sleep?
Why do young dogs sleep so much? When puppies aren’t zipping around in constant play mode, they’re typically sleeping from sheer exhaustion. Developing bodies need to burn a lot of calories, and they do so during playtime, when the energy is used to help them grow, Dr. Ochoa explains. A lot of replenishing needs to happen in order for the puppy to function at optimal levels, she added.
Although they are on the opposite end of the age spectrum, older dogs sleep almost as much as puppies. “Older dogs will take long naps followed by periods of slowly moving around the house, then another nap,” Dr. Ochoa notes. While we’re thinking about our furry friends, check out the best gifts for the dog lovers in your life.
How do size and breed affect how much dogs sleep?
The larger the dog, the more energy it requires to move. Thus, larger dogs do tend to sleep more than little dogs. “Very large breed dogs such as Mastiffs and St. Bernards tend to sleep a lot more than other breeds. This is likely due to their massive size. Mastiffs and St. Bernards can weigh in excess of 200 pounds,” Dr. Ochoa says.
Smaller dogs may sleep less, but they are also less active—and spend a lot of their time relaxing around the house. “Even for a small dog that is very active, they still do not burn near the calories or need the amount of energy it takes to move a Mastiff around. So they tend to not have to sleep as much,” explains Dr. Ochoa. Another intriguing dog question: Why do dogs “run” in their sleep?
Which dog breed sleeps the most?
A bigger dog doesn’t automatically mean more sleeping, though. Part of the answer to “How much do dogs sleep?” depends on the individual breed. “Working breeds that traditionally have had very active roles, Border Collies for example, seem to prioritize keeping busy over sleep, while ‘lap dogs’ like Pekingese may be more content to rest,” explains Jennifer Coates, DVM, vet expert at Chewy. She says that it also depends a lot on the individual dog. “Even within the same litter, you’ll find dogs who sleep more and those who sleep less,” she told RD.com.
Does a dog’s environment affect how much dogs sleep?
The nature vs. nurture debate applies to dogs too. A dog’s breed influences their tendencies to be more athletic or sluggish, but it’s their environment that reinforces their behavior. “Dogs that have a job, like police dogs and guide dogs, are trained to be at attention. [They] will spend less time sleeping than dogs who lead a more sedentary existence,” says Dr. Barrack. Like humans, it’s important for dogs to sleep in an environment with a comfortable temperature. Investing in a cooling dog bed can help keep your dog relaxed on hot days.
Do dogs sleep a lot during the day?
Dogs certainly take naps throughout the day, and that’s ordinary dog behavior. But Dr. Coates says that if your dog suddenly seems a lot sleepier than usual during the day, that could be one of the signs your “healthy” dog is actually sick.
Do dogs sleep when they’re bored?
Yes, they do sleep when they’re bored, according to Dr. Coates. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing; they might sleep in a moment of lull after playtime. “Dogs do seem to resort to sleeping when there is nothing else to do, especially if they have recently been busy,” she explains. In fact, she thinks you can use this dog tendency to your advantage. “If you have a dog that tends to get into trouble when left alone, make sure your dog gets physical exercise and mental stimulation before you leave—chances are they’ll spend their alone time asleep,” she advises. Speaking of, here’s exactly how long it’s okay to leave your dog home alone.
How much do dogs sleep if they’re sick?
Besides being covered in fur and having a tail, dogs are more similar to humans than we think—including the immune system. “If your pet is sick, rest is very crucial to their recovery,” says Dr. Ochoa. So how long do dogs sleep if they’re feeling under the weather? As much as possible, pretty much. “Your dog needs to sleep a lot when they are recovering from an illness. During sleep, your dog’s immune system can use precious energy to fight off illness or disease rather than divert energy to moving around or playing.”
Is it normal for a dog to sleep all day?
If you find yourself constantly wondering, “How many hours a day do dogs sleep?” then there might be an issue. Too much sleep is an indication that your pet may not be feeling good. A dog should be tuckered out from an active run, but if they sleep too much, that’s cause for concern.
“Some conditions associated with increased sleep could be changes in normal routines, changes in food or water intake, [having an underactive thyroid gland], depression and health problems like Lyme’s disease, diabetes, valley fever, internal parasites, and heartworm disease,” says Randy D. Aronson, VMD, a veterinarian with Paws Veterinary Center. Now, if only your pup could talk—here are more things your dog wishes you knew.
- PetMD: “How Many Hours Does a Dog Sleep in a Day?”
- Rachel Barrack, DVM, veterinarian with Animal Acupuncture
- Sara Ochoa, DVM, veterinarian with Dog Lab
- Jennifer Coates, DVM, vet expert at Chewy
- BBC: “What makes an animal dangerous? The nature v nurture debate in dogs”
- Randy D. Aronson, VMD, veterinarian with Paws Veterinary Center