How Much Sleep Does Your Dog Need?

52 Comments

How much sleep does your dog need?As I’m typing away here, Haley is sound asleep at my feet. She loves my blogging days much more than other days, like house cleaning day. On cleaning days, she follows me from room to room all day long. Maybe she’s inspecting my work as I vacuum all her black hair off the white couch or maybe she’s worried one of her de-stuffed toys will get caught in the belt of the monstrous, sucking machine. Nah, she follows me around because she’s a velcro dog who’s willing to forgo sleep in order to stay with me as I go about my dreaded domestic duties. No worries though, she certainly makes up for it by taking a few extra naps on my blogging days.

If it seems like your dog sleeps half the day away, you’re probably right. Most adult dogs sleep about 14 hours a day with puppies, senior dogs and giant breeds sleeping around 18-20 hours per day. Even though the amount of sleep varies depending on the breed, size, age and activity level of the dog, they do need a lot more sleep than us humans.

The breakdown of a typical dog’s day

Typically, a dog spends 50% of their time sleeping, 30% awake and alert, but resting and 20% being active. That means if your dog sleeps the normal eight hours a night that most people sleep, they’ll still spend about six hours napping throughout the daytime hours.

The breakdown of a typical dog's day


Why do dogs need so much sleep?

Have you ever noticed how your dog can be sound asleep but then at a moment’s notice, they can be wide awake and ready for action? That’s because dogs don’t sleep as soundly as humans. They enter REM sleep patterns only 8-12 percent of the time that they sleep compared to our 20-25 percent, so they make up for it by napping more during the day to get the rest they need. Dogs also adjust easily to changes in their sleep patterns which is why you might notice your dog being more tired the day after an active day with few naps.

Should you ever worry that your dog is sleeping too much?

If you notice a change in your dog’s normal sleeping habits, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your vet. Some common medical conditions that may cause your dog to sleep more include: poor diet, heart or thyroid issues, diabetes and obesity. Some vets believe depression can affect dogs in a similar manner that depression affects people which could be a possible explanation for a dog that’s sleeping more than usual.

Other reasons your dog might be sleeping more than usual.

Bored dogs sleep more than active dogs which is a good reason to make sure your pup gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. If your dog’s like Haley, a velcro dog that always wants to stick beside you, they can become tired on those crazy, hectic days when you’re constantly on the move. Haley will keep up with me all day until we both finally get an opportunity to sit down and relax, but she’ll usually nap a little more the following day. If your dog is unusually active or stressed on a particular day, it’s not uncommon for them to take some additional downtime to rest and recuperate.

Do dogs ever get grumpy when they’re tired?

Grumpy Dog

Grumpy Haley

Even though dogs can adjust their sleeping schedules pretty easily, they can get a little grumpy when they’re extremely tired or overstimulated. For example, if you’re hosting a day-long party with many guests and a lot of activity, your dog’s nerves may be somewhat frazzled by the end of the evening. Even some very sweet and gentle dogs can become stressed and lash out by growling or biting in those situations. Be aware of how much rest versus stimulation your dog gets during long or unusually stressful events and consider giving your dog a break from the action or an opportunity to catch a nap in a crate or quiet room of the house.

As I’m finishing up this post, Haley’s still here napping at my feet. Yes, I think she definitely prefers blogging days to cleaning days. Does your dog ever get grumpy? How much sleep does your dog need?

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52 Comments on “How Much Sleep Does Your Dog Need?”

    • Oh yes, we love our sleep, but not quite as much as the kitties! On days where we are out and busy all day we totally sack out at night and that is when Mom complains about me snoring like an old man!

      • Yes, those kitties are pros that have fully mastered the art of napping. I’m looking forward to a video one day of you snoring like an old man, Emma!

    • This post has answered a few questions. Thanks. I just walked around the kitchen island to retrieve my iPad and I looked over at Chops who was noisily but soundly sleeping. I think. His eye was wide open following my movements but his breathing pattern was deep and even. Interesting. Thank you Elaine, for more insight into my new world.

      • Thank you, I’m so glad the post was helpful, Sharon. It is amazing how dogs can appear sound asleep but they’re still very much aware of what’s going on around them. I can’t get away with anything around here, especially trying to sneak a cookie without Haley noticing, haha!

    • The downside of working from home is obsessing over whether your dog is sleeping enough or too little.

      I once considered starting a spreadsheet when I was worried Honey might be lethargic from Lyme disease.

      • That’s so true. When we’re at home, we notice all those little things that we probably wouldn’t normally give a second thought about. Sometimes it’s obsessive but other times we notice important things that might otherwise get overlooked for awhile.

    • Rita loves her sleep. Even thought she’s young, she’s always been a good sleeper! She loves to sleep in and is often the last one up!

      My dogs have all definitely had a tendency to look “hung over” after a particularly busy day! 🙂

      • That reminds me of waking up early and trying not to move so Haley doesn’t think I’m awake. Yep, I would rather be uncomfortable and catch a few more minutes of sleep. 🙂

      • I’ve known some dogs like that, it’s like they have two modes, either “on” or “off”. Well, there is that third mode too, “eat”!

      • I know, don’t you just want to curl up with them on the floor and take a nap sometimes? They have that “no care in the world” attitude too. Just laying down next to them when you’re stressed seems to make it all better.

      • Oh, I wish Haley was like that. After her dinner, she poops and then is ready for some wrestling and tug-of-war. That’s usually when I’m ready to sit down and relax, lol!

    • Ziva definitely gets grumpy if she hasn’t had her nap!
      We used to have to tell her to go to her bed because she would start to get snarky at Dante if we were real busy all day.

    • While I am snoozing on the couch or where ever Taffy is usually pacing and looking for something to do. The breed has a lot to do to how much dogs sleep we’ve found out at our house! Love Dolly

      • Different breeds do have different needs. I was surprised to learn how much sleep the giant breeds need. Eighteen hours is a lot of sleep per day.

    • If only I could find a way to adjust Jedi’s sleeping schedule so he doesn’t wake me up at 6 a.m. on my days off. If he’s going to be sleeping 18 hours a day, why can’t a couple of those be between 6 and 8 a.m.? Am I asking too much?

      • Haha! I hear ya, Kelly. If I’m super tired I can usually tell Haley to go lay down and she listens but it normally only buys me at most 30 extra minutes of sleep.

    • Love the frosty grumpy face! Adorable, for sure.

      My two seem to need 10+ hours of sleep during the day, and then they sleep through the night, too. But the velcro pug needs much more sleep than that on Mondays, as he typically spends the weekend shadowing me as I do chores!

      Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

      • What you and I need to invent Jean is a way to get these guys to help out with the chores. Dusting booties, tug-of-war-mops, heck I would just be happy if I could train Haley to pick up her toys before I vacuum, haha!

    • This was really fascinating. I have often wondered about my dog’s sleep habits. She seems to be sound asleep, but can jump up the second she hears a cupboard door open.

      I’m lucky that she is not a follow dog. Misha burns off her energy running around the house each time she thinks someone is eating.

      I love that last photo! What a sweet face. She doesn’t like being disturbed from her nap 🙂

      • They absolutely know the important sounds like cabinet doors or refrigerator doors being opened, don’t they? Sometimes I wait until Haley goes outside to pee when I want to sneak a cookie or something yummy but she usually knows if I ate something without her and she gives me “that look” when she comes back inside. They are canine detectives!

    • Very interesting post! I tend to be a bit of an insomniac and am always a little envious about how easy it is for Ruby and the cats to sleep. I think I read that cats also sleep about 18 hours a day so it sounds like dogs and cats are pretty similar in this way.

      • I agree, it would be nice to tap into that ability to fall asleep so quickly AND to wake up so quickly and be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

    • Mila loves to get her sleep. As soon as 9pm hits, we look around and wonder where she went. It never fails, she likes to have her quiet time on our bed by herself. We aren’t sure if she’s just had enough or if she wants quiet or darkness? We aren’t sure what it is, but as soon as we walk over, her little head pops up as if she’s saying “Hey guys. Can I help you? haha She’s the best little dog. Great post!

      • Aw, it’s cute that Mila puts herself to bed every night. Some dogs really like their regular sleep schedules. Haley will stay up as long as I do, but if it’s really late, she’ll occasionally grumble and give me her grumpy look, haha.

    • As I try to catch up with FB, my favorite blog hops, email, and other social media obsessions of mine, Harley is loving it! He’s fast asleep on the deck halfway underneath my lounge chair. There’s a great breeze and he’s loving that it’s Thursday which is a computer day for me! Great post, made perfect sense to me too!

      • Me too! You’re probably not getting a lot of sleep lately with all those sweet puppies but I bet you’re having so much fun with them. I love seeing all the pics on Instagram!

    • Great information, I was actually reading about dogs sleep cycles the other day and was surprised by how much it can vary by breed. And apparently their dream lengths can generally be determined by size as well.

      As far as the grumpiness goes I can say for sure that Laika gets grumpy when she’s tired. If I’m still up after 10pm or so she’ll do her best to stay awake, but any little movement or coaxing on my behalf will get her grumbling. She’s like a little kid in that way – so worried that she’ll miss something, half the time she’s falling asleep sitting up on the couch. I try my best to get her to lay down & get comfy but she doesn’t always listen.

      • That’s so interesting about the dream lengths, but I guess it kind of makes sense since some breeds do sleep more than others. I have to laugh at what you said about Laika being a little grumpy late at night. I can just picture her sitting up and falling asleep and not wanting to miss anything. She’s so adorable, even when she’s tired and grumpy. 🙂

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