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Home > Dogs > Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much? 5 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much? 5 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Dog sleeping in his orange bad by the night light

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Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Sleeping is a big deal in a dog’s life. As a dog owner, you may notice that your pooch snoozes throughout the day and then settles down to sleep all night long. Dogs can sleep anywhere from 12 to a whopping 20 hours in a day, depending on the situation. For example, puppies need much more sleep than older dogs because they use tons of energy grow and explore the world. Older dogs tend to sleep their days away too. It is important to note that most dogs follow a similar pattern throughout their lives. This means that if your dog suddenly starts sleeping more than usual, it’s important to consult with your vet since a wide range of medical conditions could be triggering this.

Healthy, middle-aged dogs tend to sleep between 12 and 14 hours a day. Only about 20% of a dog’s life is spent awake and active. So, why do dogs sleep so much? How much sleep is too much? These are questions that are worth exploration. First, it is important to keep in mind that there is no one reason that a dog might sleep for long periods during the day. That said, let’s explore why dogs sleep so much and discuss how much sleep is too much.

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The 5 Reasons Dogs Sleep So Much

1. Sleeping as They Grow

Puppies usually sleep throughout the day and night because all the exploring that they do tires them out and the quick growing that they are doing requires a great deal of energy. Puppies usually split up their awake time throughout the day and take long naps between their active times. During the night, they should sleep with short wake-up breaks to go potty.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy sleeping in a basket
Image By: Julie Vader, Shutterstock

2. Sleeping Due to Boredom

Dogs that get bored will likely nap. Owners may notice that their dogs spend a great deal of time sleeping in the yard because they are alone and do not have any specific activities to do. Dogs usually sleep while their family members are spending downtime in the house, like watching a movie. Bored dogs may be destructive and overzealous during their waking hours because of the pent-up energy that they have due to all the sleep that they are getting.

3. Sleeping Due to Loneliness

Another reason that a dog might sleep for long periods during the day is loneliness. This is typical for dogs that spend all day at home alone while their family members are at work and school. They get bored with the limited toys that they have access to and the lack of interaction, so they choose to snooze their day away while waiting for everyone to get home. Investing in a dog walker and interactive puzzle toys can enrich a lonely dog’s life and give each day more meaning for them.

Image Credit: PROMA1, Shutterstock

4. Sleeping to Recover

Most dogs usually sleep for long periods during the day when they are recovering from an injury or illness. This enables their bodies to spend time healing instead of exerting energy for activities. The more a dog rests, the less time they should take to recover. Once recovered, the dog should start regaining energy and staying awake more often during the day.

5. Sleeping During Old Age

The older that a dog gets, the more they tend to sleep throughout the day. Senior dogs also tend to suffer from alterations in their sleeping pattern, spending more time sleeping during the day and more time awake during the night. Older dogs do not need to be ill or injured to sleep for long periods. Their bodies are just not producing as much energy as they used to, so extra sleep is necessary to maintain good health throughout old age.

an old samoyed dog lying sleeping outside on grass
Image By: Zanna Pesnina, Shutterstock

How Much Sleep Is Too Much?

There is no one right or wrong answer when it comes to determining how much sleep is too much for a dog. It all depends on things like the dog’s age, their health, their activity level, and the daily lifestyle circumstances that they experience. In general, healthy middle-aged dogs will sleep between 12 and 14 hours a day. Puppies and older dogs will sleep a few hours more. Dogs tend to follow a diurnal rhythm, which means that they sleep at night and are awake during most of the day.

If your dog suddenly starts to sleep more often than usual and you cannot find an obvious answer for the reason, it is a good idea to schedule a visit with the veterinarian to determine whether there are any underlying health conditions to address. If everything checks out fine, your vet should be able to guide you as to what can be done to get your pooch up and moving more often.

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In Conclusion

Dogs are great at knowing when they need to relax and rest for energy restoration. Unless there is a reason for worry or boredom and loneliness are at play, the best thing that we can do is let our dogs decide when and how much to sleep throughout the day. However, we should expect adult dogs to stay asleep all night long unless they need a bathroom break.

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Featured Image Credit: Daniel Besic, Shutterstock

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