How many hours a day should a dog sleep?


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How many hours a day should a dog sleep
How many hours a day should a dog sleep

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 where he would just relax and sleep. The only way to get him to rest was in his crate. But outside of that, 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 forced him to rest and to sleep regularly. It was really for his own good, because his hyper behavior was 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?

In short, the average dog sleeps between 12 and 14 hours per day. If you also include resting and chilling time, then you get about 18 hours.

Dogs have a much higher need for sleep than humans. And sleeping and resting is also kind of a default mode 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 really sleep for 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 to 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 Bullodgs, 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 can’t really stop themselves which is why you as the dog owner have to do that. 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. Like human babies, they need more rest in order to absorb and process all they learn. And their body is weaker and needs more time to regenerate.

This is why puppies sleep an average of 18 to 20 hours per day. If your puppy is sleeping and resting for 20+ hours a day, that’s 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.

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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, this is only 10%!

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 3 stages and 1 REM phase which all together make 1 sleep cycle.

The first 3 stages are all NREM which means that it goes from pretty light sleep in stage 1 to the most restorative sleep in stage 3. Stage 3 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 have a 5 minute wake phase following every 16 minutes of sleep phase.

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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, rather than going for a full-day hike.

The following breeds sleep the most:

  • Bassett Hound
  • Bull dogs
  • Shih Tzu
  • Mastiff
  • French bulldog
  • Pekingese
  • Greyhound
  • Pug
  • 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.

Signs that your dog needs more sleep

Some dogs don’t rest when they need it! They try everything to stay awake and keep up. This is why it’s important to know when your dog needs a break.

Overtired dog signs

Knowing the overtired dog signs is crucial to help your dog to get rest when he needs it!

These are the most common signs:

1. Yawning

2. He forgets commands

3. Hyper dog lying down

4. He’s having the “Zoomies”

5. He’s sniffing the ground

6. Excessive panting and/or lip licking

7. He’s not acting like himself

8. Excessive thirst

9. No interest in playing

I’ve written a whole article on those overtired dog symptoms and another one for overtired puppy symptoms. If you have a very high energy dog, I highly recommend you read through these articles to fully understand when your dog goes into overtired-mode.

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 energy 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 get. 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!

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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 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.

However, if he struggles to relax, rest and sleep at all, then he’s most likely overtired.

In this case I highly recommend you check out my article about what to do if your dog is bored.

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.

In order to find the right routine, especially for a high energy dog, I’ve put a free pdf guide together that shows you different options as inspiration:

Conclusion

Okay, now you know every part of the answer to the question: how many hours a day should a dog sleep.

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!

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