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How Much Do Dogs Need to Sleep?

Last updated on: June 28th, 2018

How much a dog sleeps depends on many factors which include the dog’s size, age, how active or inactive the dog is, and the dog’s preferred sleep patterns. On average, the length of time a dog spends sleeping varies between 12 to 14 hours each day. The number of hours dogs spend sleeping may be more or less depending on the following factors.


1. The dog’s age

Just like humans, a puppy and a senior dog will sleep more compared to an adult dog. Adult dogs are more active and prefer to stay awake. As a result, their sleep pattern includes more of naps than actual sleep.

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2. The dog’s size

Dog breeds that are bigger in size tend to spend more time sleeping than their smaller counterparts. Small dog breeds are able to keep active for long, with the result that they rarely find time to sleep.


3. How active the dog is

If a dog is not active, it means it will spend most of its time napping. Less active dogs sleep from boredom and can even spend a whole day and night drifting in and out of sleep. While sleep won’t hurt your dog, taking your dog for a walk every once in a while will reduce the time it spends napping because of feeling bored. You can also have some dog toys around to keep him entertained and occupied.


4. A dogs preferred sleep pattern

Some sleep patterns are the preference of the dog that follows them. A dog can opt to nap all day long while another chooses to stay awake almost through the 24 hours. With sleep patterns and sleep length varying from one dog to another, you may ask, “Just how much sleep does a dog usually need?” and “Where should your dog sleep?“.

Well, its hard to say how much sleep is enough for a dog. This is because the amount of time a dog sleeps is not distinct or consistent as that of humans. Humans are known to sleep a solid eight hours each night. To ensure this, humans have a natural clock within their bodies that dictates when to sleep and for how long.

Not so for dogs who do not have a well spelt out times and durations dictating when they should naturally sleep. Dogs rarely sleep; they mostly nap.


Why do Dogs Mostly Nap?

Naturally, dogs need to alert, listening to their surroundings. It’s something to do with their ancestral wild and keeping alert to predator and prey. This tendency is hardwired in the dog’s sensory system and is the reason why dogs don’t usually go into deep sleep. And even when they do, it only lasts shortly.

The sleep patterns of dogs involve the following:

– Flexible sleep times

Unlike humans, dogs don’t stick to one predictable schedule of sleep and wake times. They will be napping one minute and the next they’re up and active. The sleep pattern of a dog consists of unrelated episodes of waking up and drifting into short span naps when it’s not highly active.

– Little of deep sleep

Deep sleep sessions, or what experts call rapid eye movement sleep mode (REM) is rare in dogs. Humans experience REM for 20 to 25 percent of their sleep times, while dogs experience REM for 8 to 12 percent of the time they spend sleeping. It shows dogs do not really sleep soundly but only close their eyes, ready to spring up in case of anything.


What Amount of Sleep is Enough for Your Dog?

Depending on whether you keep him active or not, and other natural factors, your dog will spend most of the day and night sleeping or not. You shouldn’t worry, though, that your dog sleeps too much or too little. It won’t affect their health. But you would want to make a sleepy dog a little bit livelier by limiting the time it spends napping by playing with it and taking it out. If your dog doesn’t nap adequately, you may want to make his house more comfortable so he can be persuaded to sleep (read more about “Tips: How to wash your dog’s bed?“).

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Should You Worry About Your Dog’s Sleep Pattern?

Not really. The only time you should have reason to worry is when your dog’s sleep pattern changes suddenly and drastically. It could be a dog who used to napping away all day long staying awake all through, or an active dog suddenly preferring to spend the whole day and night sleeping. Sudden changes in a way your dog sleeps could be a sign of something amiss with their physical or mental wellbeing. You would need to do something about it such as calling a vet or improving the dog’s diet or living conditions.


What would cause a dog’s sleep pattern to change suddenly?

It can be caused by illness, a change of surrounding, a change of diet or malnutrition. The best thing to do if you cannot pinpoint the exact reason would be to seek the expert help of a vet.


What if my dog won’t sleep?

A dog will lack sleep from any of the following:

  • Stress – A dog that’s emotionally or mentally uncomfortable will find going to sleep difficult. Stress in dogs can be brought by many situations such as mistreatment, change of home, scare and more.
  • Pain – Pain resulting from injury or diseases such as arthritis can make your dog lack sleep.
  • Medication – If your dog is on medication, it could be that the lack of sleep is a side effect of the medication.




Dogs have different sleep patterns. While there’s no specific amount of time a dog should sleep, you still want your lovely pet to be as comfortable as possible when napping. Get him a bed. Dog beds are designed to give comfort during sleep and improve a dog’s health both physical and emotional. They range from big dog beds for large dogs to small ones built for small sized dogs. A bed for your dog will also move him away from sleeping in your bed or the couch. Place the bed anywhere in the house but within sight. You can also put it in the dog’s house and train him to use it.

How much a dog sleeps depends on many factors which include the dog\'s size, age, how active or inactive the dog is, and the dog\'s preferred...read more.
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