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Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much? | BetterVet

There’s not much that’s more relaxing than seeing our dogs snoozing happily. They may be curled up in front of the fire, stretched out on the sofa, or simply sleeping in their bed.

Seeing our dogs sleeping is relaxing and comforting as we know that they’re content. Some dogs sleep for long periods while others are more active and sleep less.

Dogs can sleep for long periods or they may take regular short naps but either way, they tend to sleep longer than humans.

How much dogs sleep depends on many factors such as their age, surroundings, lifestyle, and underlying health issues.

How many hours do dogs sleep per day? 

On average dogs tend to sleep for around 10 hours in a 24-hour period but this can vary between 7 and 16 hours. That’s longer than the average human sleeps but it’s not currently known why dogs need more sleep than humans.

Dogs follow a circadian sleep-wake cycle meaning that their body follows an internal sleeping pattern over a 24-hour period. They’re diurnal, which means that they do most of their sleeping at night and minimal sleeping during the day.

This may be to our human sleeping pattern though as in the wild, most canines are nocturnal or crepuscular as they would have hunted during the night. Dogs prefer to be awake and asleep when their pet parents are. 

How much an individual dog sleeps depends on their age, lifestyle, surroundings, and medical issues. For example, a dog that exercises a lot during the day is likely to sleep well at night compared to a dog that is sedentary. Dogs that are in noisy households may not sleep as well during the day. On the other hand, dogs that are bored during the day or obese may sleep more throughout the day. 

Sleeping behavior in puppies

Puppies are similar to human babies in that they sleep more often. Puppies can sleep for 16 hours on average and will often be seen snoozing after eating or a play session as they become tired easily.

In comparison to adult dogs, puppies will take regular naps during the day instead of sleeping mostly at night. It’s important that puppies get enough sleep as they’re growing rapidly during the first 6 months of their life and need more sleep to allow for this.

Sleeping habits in older dogs

As they age, older dogs tend to sleep more. This may be due to a general slowing down which can result in longer sleeping periods and more naps throughout the day.

Older dogs are more likely to suffer from health conditions such as osteoarthritis, which may cause increased resting and snoozing during the day. Other health conditions such as heart disease or anemia may cause increased sleeping due to a lack of oxygen circulating in the body. 

Senior dogs are more prone to cognitive dysfunction, which may cause difficulty with sleeping. These dogs may need medication to help them sleep at night.

How to encourage your dog to sleep

Sleep is important for your furry friend’s body in order to replenish their energy and remain healthy. If you’re worried that your dog isn’t sleeping enough, here are some tips to help them to get better-quality sleep. 

  1. Provide your pooch with a comfortable bed that has good support, particularly for dogs with joint problems

  2. Position the bed somewhere in the house that is quiet with dim lighting and will provide your dog with a relaxing environment - Dogs are less likely to sleep well in noisy, high-traffic areas of the house. 

  3. Ensure that your dog gets daily exercise (unless they have a medical issue that prevents this) which can tire them out and encourage sleeping 

  4. The temperature in the room should be comfortable – not too hot or cold - Hot temperatures can make us feel groggy and make us snooze more; this is similar for our dogs. On the other hand, very cold temperatures can make it difficult to sleep. Even though a lot of people allow their dogs to sleep with them, this can disrupt both dog and human sleep. 

  5. If your pooch isn’t sleeping well and this is a sudden change, they may be unwell -  Watch for other symptoms such as; pain when walking, drinking more, eating less, weight loss, or a high temperature. Book a mobile veterinary visit to rule out illness or pain if your dog isn’t sleeping well, particularly if they’re elderly. 

Sleeping problems in dogs

Dogs can suffer from sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and REM sleep behavior disorder. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes daytime sleepiness, loss of muscle tone (fainting), and a shorter sleep period. This may be genetic in Dobermans, Dachshunds, and Labrador retrievers. 

Sleep apnea occurs when there are periods of no breathing during sleep. This usually occurs in brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds such as the Bulldog and Pug. They may sleep more during the day and snore loudly. 

Dogs with REM sleep behavior disorder may have abnormal movements during the REM phase of sleep. They may howl, bark, violently move their limbs, or make chewing sounds or movements.


Dogs sleep for a large portion of their day, on average between 7 and 16 hours. Puppies and older dogs may sleep for longer periods as do adult dogs that are bored, obese, or very sedentary.

As pet parents, we know how important adequate sleep is for our dog’s health, and we can encourage this by maintaining a healthy weight for our dogs, having daily exercise, and providing a quiet, comfortable place for our dogs to rest. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for my dog to sleep all day?

Dogs can sleep for an average of 10-12 hours a day but puppies and older dogs can sleep significantly more. If your dog is sleeping a lot more than this, you should schedule them for a mobile vet visit to rule out medical issues.

Is it normal for a dog to sleep for 20 hours a day?

Puppies and older dogs can sleep for much longer periods than adult dogs as they tire easily. This is normal for these age groups but if your dog is sleeping 20 hours or more a day, you should book a veterinary visit to check for underlying medical issues.

Why do dogs sleep so close to you?

Dogs like being close to their owners and get comfort by sleeping next to them. Research actually supports that there is a positive relationship between human and dog movement, meaning that pet parents and their pets develop a similar sleep cycle, with no negative effects on either of them.

Is my dog sad if it sleeps all day?

Dogs can sleep a lot during the day for many reasons including age (puppies and older dogs), activity level (sedentary dogs), and obesity. Dogs that are unwell and lethargic can also sleep for long periods so visit your veterinarian if you think your dog could be unwell. However, sleeping a lot can also be a sign of depression in dogs, so if your dog is sleeping more than usual, you should reach out to your veterinarian.

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