How can dogs sleep so much? Whether you just brought a new puppy home or have had your best furry friend around for years, you have probably wondered how they can spend so much time sleeping. Don’t worry – they still love you and want you to know that it’s the natural thing for dogs to do.
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How much sleep do dogs need?
Pay attention and you’ll see that your dog really likes to sleep. Dogs typically require anywhere from 9 to 14 hours of sleep every day and then spend another 6 to 8 hours either napping or lounging on top of that. That’s right – about 80% of your dog’s day will be devoted to sleeping, napping, or just lying around.
Why do dogs sleep so much?
Dogs sleep for the same reasons that you do, but because their body chemistry is different than yours, they go about it differently and need many more hours of shut-eye than you. Just like you, when dogs sleep their bodies repair themselves, and their brains sort out memories – discarding some and filing others, like those important obedience lessons.
Do all dogs sleep the same?
Most dogs have similar sleeping experiences. Most of their sleep time is quiet, but about 25% of their sleep time features rapid eye movement activity. This means that they are dreaming, and that’s when you might observe them twitching or “running,” or hear them whimper or bark.
Would you be surprised to learn that your dog can experience as many as 20 to 25 sleep cycles every night? These cycles are successive periods of about 15 minutes of quiet sleep followed by about 5 minutes of dreaming or active sleep. You might even see your dog walk around between cycles as though they are reconnoitering.
There are other characteristics that can influence your dog’s sleep habits. Here are a few of them:
If you have a puppy, it will probably sleep much more than a more mature dog. These cute little guys have three jobs: to play, to explore, and to grow.
The first two jobs can make him tired, and the last one – growing – requires that he gets plenty of sleep in order to divert as much energy as possible to building strong bones and muscles. Puppies can log as many as 20 hours a day sleeping and napping.
Smaller dogs often require less sleep than larger ones, because they simply don’t need as much energy to haul themselves around.
Large Dogs and Overweight Dogs
Conversely, it takes a lot of energy to stand, walk, and run if your dog is large or carrying too much weight. Our larger friends usually need a little more sleep than their smaller counterparts.
If your dog is up in years, they will often snooze a little more than usual. Hey, these old geezers get tired a little more quickly than those young whippersnappers.
When can my dog’s sleep habits warn of a problem?
Don’t worry if your dog sleeps a lot, but here are three questions you can ask yourself to which a “yes” answer may indicate that your dog has an underlying health problem:
- Are they exhibiting a significant change in their sleep pattern?
- Are they slow to wake up after a night’s sleep or a nap, and appear a little too groggy or disoriented when they do?
- Do they seem to be getting overly tired after less than their usual amount of exercise?
If you notice any of these things it is a good idea to see a vet.