Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

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By Pet Expert Team
Updated: 5/7/20242-4 minutes
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Long walks in the park, slobbery kisses and games of fetch all day – if this is what you expected from your dog, you’re probably a little bit surprised by how much snoozing they manage to fit in! Of course, there’s plenty of running, walking and playing in a dog’s daily schedule, but napping all day, or at least a good part of it, can also be a normal part of the canine routine. Most of the time, there’s no need to worry about that extra shut eye.

But if you’re asking yourself "how much daytime snoozing is too much?," "how long do dogs normally sleep for?" or "when’s it’s time to get worried?," keep reading to find out more.

How Long Do Dogs Sleep For?

Dogs will usually sleep 12-14 hours spread throughout the day, with puppies clocking in even more hours of slumber. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a dog to sleep up to 20 hours a day in their first few months of life. Sleep allows the body to recharge and repair, so it’s important to let your pet enjoy their downtime.

When to Worry That Your Dog is Sleeping So Much?

The general rule of thumb is that adult dogs can sleep up to 15 hours a day in total without giving their owners cause for concern. However, not all dogs will stick to this rule. Owners with several dogs or a knowledge of other dogs’ routines will already know that different dogs have different sleeping patterns.

If you’re worried that your dog might be going overboard with the amount of ‘zzzz’s they’re getting in a day, don’t hesitate to contact your vet for advice to make sure your dog’s health and wellbeing is still in tip-top condition. It’s even more important to do so when you notice a sudden change in their sleeping habits, as this new behavior might signal an underlying condition such as dog depression or diabetes. If your dog is more lethargic when they’re awake as well as sleeping more, it’s always worth getting them checked out by your vet.

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

There are many factors that determine a pet’s sleeping schedule. If you want to get to the bottom of your dog’s catnaps, here are a few possible answers to the question "why does my dog sleep so much?"

Life Stage

Puppies, adults and seniors are on different tracks when it comes to their sleep needs. It is completely normal for young pups and senior dogs to need more sleep.

Puppy sleep is important for growing up and for recharging their batteries after all the learning and playing throughout the day. 

Senior dogs will also need more sleep than they did in their younger days. However, it’s important to keep a close eye on the sleeping habits of elderly pets. More shuteye is to be expected, but other changes in their sleep pattern such as waking up at night and being confused can point to health problems such as cognitive dysfunction. Get in touch with your vet if you notice unusual changes in your dog’s sleep. 

Breed

Working dogs with a job to do will be on their four paws more often than sedentary pets. Certain dog breeds tend to have lower energy levels than others, so it’s natural for them to prefer more daytime snoozing! Some small dogs tend to sleep a lot, and certain giant breeds such as Newfoundland’s also prefer more shut eye. 

Environment

If your dog finds their bed the most exciting place in the house, this may be because they just don’t have much else to do. If this is the case, you can easily fix it – there are plenty of ways to keep their mental stimulation up. Schedule in more time together every day, organize a treasure hunt or go for a pet picnic, even if it’s in the backyard or on the living room floor.

Sometimes even a particularly hot summer can get your dog exhausted and looking for extra sleep. While just sleeping more isn’t a problem in itself, excessive heat can be dangerous for dogs and it’s important to keep them cool in hot weather. Make sure you keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke in dogs so you can be prepared to ask your vet for help straight away.

Many pet owners wondering "why does my dog sleep so much?" should also consider whether there have been any life changes recently. A new pet that’s full of energy can make an older dog quite worn out, and leaving your dog alone for longer than usual can also affect their sleeping habits. 

Health Issues

Unfortunately, many health problems can manifest through changes in your dog’s sleeping habits. Tiredness or lethargy can be a sign of many conditions, including dog diabetes, kidney failure, and even urine infections. Contact your vet if you notice that your dog seems uncharacteristically tired or has any other unusual symptoms.

Lack of Good Nutrition

A dog that isn’t fed a complete and balanced dog food may be missing out on some of the key nutrients that fuel their body with the energy they need to take on the day. With their energy stores depleted, staying awake might prove too taxing, making them prefer to stay under the covers for most of the day. If you’re not sure how to achieve a healthy, balanced diet for your dog, check out our handy guide: dog nutrition, what should you feed a dog.

Even if your dog is a couch potato for no particular reason and just enjoys life in the slow lane, you now know more about why dogs sleep so much.

For more expert tips on understanding your dog, explore our other dog behavior articles.   

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