There’s one thing dogs all have in common: They love to snooze. But some seem to be asleep all the time and others are ready to go at the crack of dawn for a morning walk. It can be tricky to determine how much sleep is the right amount for your beastie, or if your dog might be lying around too much because he’s sick or bored. So how many hours a day do dogs sleep? We’ll help you figure it out.
You’ll notice that both dogs and cats have a reputation for sleeping a lot (the latter can be down for up to 20 hours per day). As with so many things, the reason is rooted in biology. Carnivores usually sleep more than plant-eating creatures because they don’t have to keep a lookout for predators (since they are the predators). On the flip side, those at the bottom of the food chain always have to rest with one eye open. Just like with humans, a pup’s sleep schedule changes considerably over the course of his lifetime and may vary by breed as well.
It entirely depends on your specific animal, but the average is about 10 hours for an adult dog, though there are other factors that we’ll get to. Here’s how it breaks down by age.
Puppies need a lot of sleep to help them grow, but they might not catch a lot of their Z’s at night (unfortunately for you). According to the American Kennel Club, your little buddy should sleep 18 to 20 hours per day. They could stay up half the night though and then power nap the day away. That’s normal, too — just as a human baby won’t make it through the night for the first few months, so too, a baby dog needs practice getting enough rest after dark. Crate training and plenty of exercise help direct your bundle of joy into a better schedule.
Most canines between the ages of 2 and 8 sleep somewhere in the 8- to 12-hour range. However, this varies a lot by breed and a few other factors. First, small dogs sleep a lot more than average-size dogs and we mean A LOT more. Don’t panic if your toy breed never makes it past the puppy stage in terms of dozing hours. Some little Fidos (such as chihuahuas and Yorkies) sleep for up to 18 hours per day because of their fast metabolisms.
On the flip side, very large breeds, like Great Danes, might be out for a similar number of hours. Of course, the amount of exercise contributes to this calculation as well. Expect your pooch to conk out after a long run or a hard day of work chasing squirrels in the yard. Lastly, occasionally dogs don’t sleep well because of stress. Make sure your animal has a safe and quiet place to rest during the day and at night.
As your precious pup gets older, he starts to slow down. That’s OK. Let him enjoy his golden years on a soft bed (or in yours) for 16+ hours per day. Sleep can be a sign of underlying health conditions, some of which go hand in hand with aging, so keep that in mind when you work with your vet on a senior dog care plan.
So the short answer is yes, probably. Dogs do sleep quite a bit more than us, mostly in short naps. But if your pet has a sudden change in sleeping behavior, you should contact your vet. It could be a sign of something else, like a thyroid problem. Sometimes animals nod off out of boredom, too (much like you might in a particularly long meeting), so counterintuitively, you should consider more walks or enrichment time if you’re able to rule out a health condition.
No matter how many hours he spends out for the count, make sure he has a comfortable spot for sleep. Some animals do best in a crate or dog bed, while others may wind up under your covers night after night. You want to make sure his sleeping area is free from distractions, so keep the toys out of the bedroom after dark or you may wake up to a tennis ball on your pillow. The final thing to consider: Dogs thrive on routine. Get into the habit of doing the same activities each night before you both retire, such as taking a night walk and then giving him a small treat. That way, you both get a full night’s sleep.
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