The lives of dogs are enviable. They spend their days snoozing in the sun and dozing on the couch after spending the entire night asleep. When they do awaken, they frequently have the energy to play a quick game of fetch. Dog owners frequently wonder whether their pets are sleeping too much or not enough because dogs sleep differently from people.
The question of how many hours of sleep a dog requires each day has multiple solutions. Similar to humans, a dog’s sleep requirements might vary depending on factors like age, health, location, and way of life. Knowing more about how dogs sleep can make it simpler for you to comprehend your own dog’s sleeping habits and identify any changes or potential problems.
How Long Do Dogs Sleep Each Day?
Even more than humans, dogs require a large amount of sleep. Since sleep is riskier for prey species, carnivores like dogs tend to sleep more than herbivores1. However, a dog’s overall sleep requirements might change based on a number of variables. Age is the factor that affects a dog’s sleep routine the most out of all of these.
Pups: Although there has been little research, one study found that puppies sleep for at least 11 hours each day2. While most puppies sleep more hours during the day and for longer periods of time overall than adult dogs do, they often sleep less at night. A box or kennel is where most puppies sleep as well.
The average adult dog appears to require between eight and 13.5 hours of sleep each day, or somewhat less than 11 hours. In contrast, the average adult person requires seven to eight hours of sleep. Depending on their environment and their owner’s schedule, adult dogs often sleep between 60% and 80% of the hours between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Adult dogs, who may sleep for up to 37% of the day, nevertheless require daily naps. The majority of dogs use dog beds to sleep by the time they are one year old.
Dogs in their middle and later years typically sleep later in the morning and wake up less frequently during the night4. Since they take naps more frequently, they also sleep longer during the day.
Signs That Your Dog Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep
Dogs are generally adaptable. In a study of shelter dogs, it was discovered that they slept deeper and woke up less frequently at night than they did during the day because of the busy environment of the shelter. These shelter canines slept for an average of 11 hours every day, which is the same amount of time as the majority of other adult dogs.
However, getting used to a hectic workplace could be expensive. The same study discovered that dogs who sleep more during the day are more at ease and seem happier, therefore it is important to look into this if your dog has trouble sleeping.
The signs of sleep deprivation in dogs have not been extensively studied. Anecdotal research, however, indicates that they might resemble some of the signs of inadequate sleep in people, which can include:
- Increased sensitivity to stressful stimuli
- Easily irritated and unhappy
- Bad memory
A dog’s capacity to learn appears to be significantly influenced by sleep as well. When tested a week after learning a new command, dogs that slept well afterward performed better than those that did not.
Dogs can suffer from sleep issues just like people do. Narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and REM sleep behavior disorder are the three most prevalent7.
Related post: How Much Do Puppies Sleep
Sleep Disorder in Dogs
Chronic neurological conditions like cataplexy and excessive daytime sleepiness are indications of canine narcolepsy. Cataplexy is a rapid loss of muscle control and muscle weakness that is sometimes compared to fainting. A dog’s cataplexic episodes frequently happen while it is eating or playing.
Narcolepsy can be inherited genetically in several breeds, including Labrador retrievers, Doberman pinschers, and others, but it can also develop in dogs without a family history of the condition. Canine narcolepsy10 has no known treatment, but it is not a life-threatening illness and does not get worse with age. Not all canines with narcolepsy need therapy, but those with severe symptoms may benefit from anti-cataplectic drugs.
Dogs with Obstructive Sleep Apnea
A sleep-breathing ailment called obstructive sleep apnea affects numerous species, including humans and dogs. It happens when relaxed muscles and tissue restrict the airway, resulting in brief apneic episodes. Some of the most typical signs are excessive daytime tiredness in both humans and canines, as well as loud snoring or choking noises at night.
Compared to other breeds, dogs with particularly short muzzles, like bulldogs, are more likely to develop sleep apnea. Surgery or medication12 are typically used as treatments, but your veterinarian can also advise making lifestyle changes like losing weight.
Dogs with REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
An irregular movement during the REM stage of sleep is a symptom of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder. Dogs with this condition engage in a variety of sleep-related activities, such as wailing or barking, violent limb movements, biting, and chewing13. Over three-quarters of dogs appear to respond well to drug treatment when symptoms first occur before they are a year old.
How to Improve Your Dog’s Sleep
The majority of dogs are able to obtain the rest they require to lead contented lives. There are some actions you can do to make sure that your dog’s schedule and environment are conducive to sleeping, though.
Establish a Schedule
A regular schedule may help your dog if they have trouble unwinding. To see if it makes it easier for your dog to get some rest. Try maintaining the same schedule every day.
To Bed Alone
Many people let their dogs sleep next to them, although this can disturb both the sleep cycles of humans and dogs. Even when owners are not aware of them, these disturbances take place, so you might not be aware that sharing a bed makes it more difficult for your dog to fall asleep.
Make Their Bed Cozy
To keep pups contained and to promote sleep, many people use a box or kennel. It’s crucial that their bed provides support and comfort, whether you continue to crate-train your dog as they age or switch to a dog bed.