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Is your dog sleeping the whole day? If so, you’ve probably wondered: how many hours a day should a dog sleep?
I’ve asked myself this question, too. But rather for the opposite reason! When I first got Baloo as a puppy, it felt like he was active 24/7!
There was literally no time when he would just relax and sleep. The only way to get him to rest was in his crate. But outside it? No chance!
Luckily, I found out early on that dogs, and puppies even more so, need a lot of sleep. This is why I really sort of gently forced him to rest and to sleep regularly. It was really for his own good, because his hyper behavior was actually caused by him being overtired.
This is why it’s important to know how many hours a day a dog should sleep. So, let’s have a closer look at that.
How many hours a day should a dog sleep?
Dogs have a much higher need for sleep than humans. In short, the average adult dog sleeps around 12 to 14 hours per day. If you also include resting and chilling time, then you get about 18 hours your dog is just lying around every day. Less than 10 or over 20 hours could be a symptom of an issue.
And sleeping and resting is also kind of the default behavior for dogs if they don’t have anything to do.
If you think about it, most domestic dogs don’t really have a whole lot to do on a daily basis. So, it’s perfectly normal for them to sleep through most of the day!
How many hours a day does a dog sleep?
Okay, now you know how much dogs should sleep a day. But how much does the average dog actually sleep?
This largely depends on your dog’s age, breed and energy level. Most dogs sleep between 10 and 18 hours per day. Less than 10 certainly isn’t healthy.
High energy dogs, such as Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Poodles or Jack Russell Terriers naturally sleep less. “Lazier” dog breeds, such as Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Pugs and very large breeds like Great Danes, naturally sleep more.
For the more energetic dog breeds it’s very important to really keep an eye on how much sleep they get. They often literally can’t stop themselves—which is why you as the dog owner have to step in. Otherwise they tend to become hyper simply because they’re overtired.
How many hours a day does a puppy sleep?
Puppies need more sleep than adult dogs. Their body is weaker and regenerate less quickly. Also, like human babies, they absorb and process all they learn while resting. This is why puppies sleep 18 to 20 hours per day on average. If yours is out for 20+ hours a day, that’s still completely normal.
If you have such a high energy puppy like Baloo used to be, you’re probably wondering where he’s getting any of those 18 hours a day from. If this is the case, you really need to force enough sleep or rest on him, for instance by putting him in his crate.
In case you feel like your puppy should definitely sleep a little more, make sure to check out my guide on how to make a puppy sleep longer.
How many hours a day does an old dog sleep?
Senior dogs also need more sleep than young adults. Senior dogs can have the same need for sleep as puppies. There’s a wider range for senior dogs, though. Some old dogs sleep an average of 14 to 15 hours a day, while others sleep 18 to 20 hours a day.
Why do dogs sleep so much?
Dogs generally have a much lighter sleep than we do. This means they wake up much easier. And a lot of the time they’re also just dozing.
When we sleep at night, we spend about 25% of it in REM mode. This is the time when we dream and it’s also that part that’s what actually lets our body and mind regenerate.
For dogs, REM sleep is only 10% of total sleep time!
This means that they need much more sleep to actually get enough time in REM mode.
Dog sleep cycle
Like every other mammal, dogs sleep in different stages.
For people there are 4 NREM stages and 1 REM phase which together make up one sleep cycle.
The first 4 stages of sleep are all dreamless NREM. This means that it goes from pretty light sleep in stage 1 to the most restorative deep sleep in stages 3 and 4. Stage 4 is followed by the REM phase which is where you’re dreaming. For a person a full cycle takes between 90 to 120 minutes.
To learn more about the human sleep cycle, click here.
Dogs only sleep in 2-part sleep-wake cycles, though. This is why a full cycle is also much shorter. They can fall asleep and be in dreamy REM mode within 10 minutes. A study has shown that dogs spend an average of 16 minutes asleep and 5 minutes awake for every cycle.
How long do dogs sleep at night?
Dogs generally sleep through the whole night. They’ll adapt to your rhythm and will easily sleep up to 10 hours per night.
However, as I’ve mentioned before, they have a 2-phase sleep cycle. This means that they actually have a 5 minute wake phase following every 16 minutes of sleep phase.
Which dog breed sleep more than others?
As I’ve mentioned before, not all dogs sleep the same amount per day. Some dogs are simply lazier and prefer sleeping and chilling at home to going for a full-day hike.
The following breeds sleep the most:
- Bassett Hound
- Bull dogs
- Shih Tzu
- French bulldog
- Great Pyrenees
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Chow Chow
- Lhasa Apso
- Great Dane
- Cocker Spaniel
- Saint Bernard
However, there are always exceptions. And especially if your dog is a young adult, it’s still possible that he has more active time than just 4 to 6 hours per day.
For high energy dogs
Speaking of breeds that sleep a lot, we should also talk about dogs that sleep the least.
These breeds are often so high energy that the transition from happily energetic to overtired hyper is fluid. This means that it’s very difficult to know when your pup has had enough.
But more important, these high energy breeds don’t know when they need a rest themselves!
Once they’re in hyper mode, they won’t be able to stop. This is why it’s very important that you can force him to take a break.
From my own experience I can tell you that even a hyperactive dog can learn to calm down when he’s getting tired. But if he doesn’t learn it as a puppy, it’s more difficult to teach him the older he gets. To understand this better, make sure to check out my article on the question, “Do dogs get tired?“.
So, especially make sure that your puppy gets enough sleep for the first few months. Also because puppy tantrums can be pretty annoying!
Signs that your dog needs more activity
The counterpart to an overtired dog is a bored dog.
And to make it even more complicated, the signs and symptoms can be the same or very similar.
This is why I highly recommend that you really learn to read your dog.
So, let’s also briefly look at what a bored dog looks like and what to do about it.
Find out if your dog is bored
Bored dogs generally find themselves something to do!
While overtired dogs mostly throw tantrums when they’re the high energy kind, bored dogs usually go find something to take in between their teeth.
So, the most common bored dog behavior is destructiveness.
But to really find out what causes his behavior, you have to look at it in context.
Does he peacefully sleep for at least 14 hours a day but is very active for the remaining part? Then he’s most likely bored and needs action during his waking hours.
In this case I highly recommend you check out my article about what to do if your dog is bored.
However, if he struggles to relax, rest and sleep at all, then he’s most likely overtired.
Try different routines
One thing you need to keep in mind is that dogs LOVE routine.
Their life becomes much easier if they know what to expect of their day. This is why I highly recommend you set up a routine for your pup where he knows exactly when he has to sleep and when it’s active time.
However, you might have to try different routines and different lengths of activity because not every dog needs the same amount of activity and sleep.
Okay, now you know how many hours a day should a dog sleep—and why.
It’s definitely different from one dog to the next but generally, dogs sleep a lot and should also do so.
If your pup is more high energy, then you really need to make sure he gets enough rest and sleep. Because an overtired dog is really quite annoying!