Have you ever thought "my dog sleeps all day. Wish I could, too!" Dogs do sleep more than humans, and although we may get a little jealous of our pups' luxurious five-hour napping habits, it's important to understand why dogs sleep so much and know what excessive sleeping in dogs really looks like.
How Much Sleep Does My Dog Really Need?
When hanging with other pet parents, you may be curious if their dog sleeps all day, too. Unfortunately, comparing what your dog does to another dog's habits may not be the best way to gauge what is normal. How much sleep your dog needs depends on many factors: age, breed, activity level, and environmental conditions.
If your dog generally sleeps between 12-14 hours a day, you likely have nothing to be concerned about, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). However, if your dog is sleeping over 15 hours a day, you should pay close attention to how your dog behaves while awake. If he seems lethargic or disconnected to people and other pets, it's time to visit your veterinarian.
Take environmental changes into consideration when it seems like your dog is sleeping more than normal. Small changes in your dog's life could lead to big changes in his sleep habits.
- New pets: If there's suddenly a rambunctious kitten in the house, your dog may be looking for his own quiet spot to rest.
- Hot weather: Be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion like lethargy, excessive drooling or vomiting if your dog gets sleepy in the summer.
- A schedule change: Did you recently get a new job or change your work schedule? A dog who is home alone for long periods may become bored and depressed.
- Playtime has increased: Has your pup recently started attending a new doggy daycare? Are the two of you training for a 5K together? Increases in playtime or exercise could just have your pup tuckered out, and it may take some time for him to adjust to the new level of exercise before he is back to his normal sleeping pattern.
Puppies: Play Hard, Nap Hard
Age is a big factor when it comes to how much sleep a dog needs. Just as human babies need a lot of sleep, the AKC notes your puppy needs 15-20 hours of sleep a day to help his central nervous system, immune system and muscles develop properly. Many puppies will get the sleep they need by napping throughout the day. Encourage your dog to nap in the same quiet, comfortable spot so you can establish a routine, and try to keep children or other pets from disturbing him.
Very young puppies may also need help establishing a regular bedtime. Turn off all the lights and noises such as TV around the same time every night to convince your pet that he should go to bed when you do.
Sleep and Aging
Senior dogs tend to need more sleep than young or adult dogs, and often take longer to recover from exertion. PetHelpful notes that senior dogs can sometimes become less active due to joint pain. If your pup is not only sleeping more but also having trouble standing and walking, he may be developing arthritis.
An examination by your vet will reveal what could be causing his joint pain. Your vet may recommend moving your pet's dog bed to a warmer location and adding some extra padding, as well as watching your dog's weight to avoid putting additional stress on his joints.
My Dog Sleeps All Day: Other Factors
Mother Nature Network notes that large dogs tend to sleep more often than their smaller counterparts. Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, mastiffs, and Great Pyrenees are especially known for being loving and loyal floor mats. If you have a gigantic mutt who loves to sleep, he could simply have some seriously relaxed ancestors.
A little extra shut-eye here and there probably isn't something to be concerned about, but if your dog is sleeping excessively accompanied by a change in eating patterns, unusual thirst, or excess urination, it's time to seek medical attention. This combination can sometimes point to canine diabetes or kidney disease.
It may be a good idea to watch how your dog acts while he is sleeping as well. Although most dog parents have seen their dog running in his sleep, other movements could be a red flag for an underlying issue. A dog who stops breathing or snores may be at risk for respiratory issues. One who sleeps so soundly he doesn't even hear a doorbell ring, on the other hand, may be losing his hearing.
Nutrition can also play an important role in your dog's overall sleeping behavior. If he is not getting the adequate nutrition, his body may not have the energy to stay awake of typical dog. Talk to your dog to see if he is getting the proper nutrition to keep him fueled for more activity.
If you're concerned about your pet's sleep patterns, track his eating, play, and bathroom behaviors along with the uncharacteristic sleep behaviors. Saying "my dog sleeps all day" isn't enough to figure out a potential problem, so make sure that your vet has enough information to find out what's going on.
When it comes to dog sleeping patterns, there isn't an easy answer as to whether your dog is sleeping too much or too little. The best way to know for sure is to track a typical day for your dog and share it with your vet at regular checkups. Your vet can confirm if the sleeping patterns seem normal for your dog, and if they aren't normal, your vet can recommend adjustments to make or tests to consider. Once you realize your dog's sleeping patterns are normal, you too can sleep tight knowing your dog is healthy and well.