Does it ever seem like your dog has been sleeping all weekend and you start to wonder, “How much sleep does a dog need?” Some dogs can be quite active and never seem to settle down, while others want to eat and sleep most of the time and occasionally go for a walk.
It’s very common for pet owners to wonder how much sleep do dogs need. We care about the well being of our pets and just want to make sure excessive sleeping isn’t a symptom of a health issue. On the flip side, we also want to ensure they’re getting enough sleep.
In this article I’ll answer those questions and go through a few more frequently asked questions related to how, when, and why pets sleep. Such as how long does a dog sleep, why do they like to sleep on you, and how to help them get the most restful sleep possible.
How Much Sleep Does A Dog Need?
Just like humans, dogs also need restorative sleep. They also go through the same types of sleep cycles that humans do, although not quite in the same way.
Humans typically are awake all day and then sleep once overnight. Adults spend about 20-25 percent of their sleep in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which is when dreams happen. Babies on the other hand can spend up to 50% of their sleep in REM.
When it comes to your dog, they sleep a bit differently with shorter sleep stints and spend just about 10 percent of their sleep in the dreaming REM stage. So they need a bit more overall sleep in order to get the same restorative impact.
So, how long does a dog sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, The average dog sleeps about 12 to 14 hours per 24-hours. Just as human babies sleep more, so do puppies. Puppies may need up to 18 to 20 hours of sleep per day.
Dogs can spend a full 50 percent of their day sleeping, which is totally normal. And they may also like to just hang out on their dog bed still awake in between their active and sleeping periods.
Your pet is also more a more flexible sleeper and has no problem waking up at a moment’s notice when there’s some action in the kitchen or someone at the door. Then, getting back to sleep when things quiet down.
My Dog Isn’t Sleeping. What Can I Give My dog to Sleep at Night?
After you see how much sleep dogs typically need, you might start to worry that yours isn’t getting enough. One thing that impacts a dog’s sleep is their daily activity. For instance, a working dog, like a police dog or farm dog, may sleep a bit less than typical.
Sometimes sleepless nights for a pet can negatively impact the whole family. It can be a huge problem if a dog decides to bark or whine all night and just won’t seem to settle down.
Before you look for some type of supplement or medicine to give your dog to help them sleep, it’s a good idea to check out other possible causes.
Common Causes for Canine Insomnia:
- Pain due to arthritis or hip dysplasia
- Pain from some type of injury
- Kidney or urinary problems
- Flea infestation
- Thyroid problems
- Emotional issues like separation anxiety
- A new person sleeping in the home
Older dogs are more likely to have canine insomnia than younger dogs. They also are more likely to have aches and pains due to health issues.
If none of the above seems to fit your pet, and they’re driving you crazy by staying up all night, you have a few other options. You can find a number of organic, natural pet calming aids online or in stores like Petco. Many of them are chewable and contain Melatonin, a sleeping aid, and are formulated to calm your dog to help them sleep.
If you’re asking, “What can I give my dog to sleep at night?” be sure to check with your vet before using any sleeping aids for your dog. It’s always best to get an expert opinion.
How Important is a Good Dog Bed?
Having a supportive and comfortable dog bed for your dog is vitally important for their health and wellbeing. It helps ensure a good night’s sleep and gives them a safe and happy space to hang out during their relaxing time.
There are several different types of dog beds to choose from. Some of them are made for dogs that like a secure nest-type bed and others offer orthopedic support for larger dogs or dogs with joint or muscle pain. You can find a full article about "Choosing the Best Dog Bed” here.
Some of the best models you’ll find offer a memory foam insert (just like the memory foam in human beds!), and most have machine washable covers. Some that you’ll find are even chew proof and waterproof. So you have several options, both in style and price to make sure your pet is comfy.
What Does It Mean When Your Dog Sleeps On You?
There’s nothing more heartwarming as when your beloved pet graces you with their presence and sleeps on you. We humans like to think it’s the ultimate confirmation of their love for us. But are they just looking for a warm body?
They actually are saying they love you and a whole lot more. Here are some things your dog is trying to say when they sleep on you:
- I want to protect you
- I’m marking you as mine
- I know you’re feeling bad and want to help you feel better
- You’re part of my pack
- I love you and want to be near you
- Yes, I do want a warm body to sleep on too
You may be feeling like you’re spoiling your dog if you let them sleep in your bed, but you’re in good company. According to Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker, 45% of dogs and 62% of cats sleep in their owners’ beds.
When Should I Worry About My Dog’s Sleep?
Just like your other human family members, dogs also have a routine and personality. Once you’ve grown to know it so well, anything out of the ordinary sticks out. Any major changes in your dog’s eating, sleeping, or social habits are definitely a red flag.
If sleepless nights persist for several days, and they’re out of the ordinary, you may want to first see if anything in your dog’s life has changed. Have you moved or brought in a new family member? Is there a new stray marking the outside yard? Could they be injured?
If you’re unsure, it’s always best to visit your veterinarian to get the best advice as to what may have caused the change in behavior.
How Much Sleep Does a Dog Need Conclusion
Dogs and humans both need sleep, but dogs do it a bit differently. They don’t get as rattled when woken up while sleeping as us humans, and it’s usual for them to take several naps during the day as well as sleeping at night.
Once you hear that the answer to, “How long does a dog sleep?” is about half the day, a “Dog’s Life” doesn’t sound that bad at all! Who wouldn't love to sleep 12 or more hours per day. But that is normal for a dog, and it can even be much more if it’s a puppy.
Just be aware of the things that will help your dog be as comfortable as possible. Once you know the answer to, “How much sleep do dogs need?” you can identify more easily if there are any issues causing your dog to lose sleep.
A comfortable dog bed is just as important for them as your bed is for you. While they may sleep in shorter cycles, they still need that restorative sleep to be healthy. There are many different dog beds to choose from, so no matter whether they are big or small, there’s a bed that is the perfect fit.
I hope you found this article helpful, and that it will also help YOU sleep more soundly knowing that your dog is doing the same, for about 12 hours per day.
National Sleep Foundation: https://sleep.org/articles/how-much-do-dogs-sleep/
Natural Dog Health Remedies: http://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/canine-insomnia.html
It’s About Animals: https://itsaboutanimals.com/pet-reviews/dog/choosing-the-best-dog-bed