A lot of first-time dog owners are often astounded by how much their dogs sleep, and will sometimes worry that their dog could be sick. So, why is your dog laying around all day? Is it normal for dogs to sleep this much?
It is totally normal for dogs to spend most part of their day sleeping. In most cases, this happens because there’s nothing better for your pooch to do, so they sleep to while away the hours.
Sometimes, however, excessive sleeping can be caused by illness or mental problems, so it is good to know what is normal for your canine buddy when it comes to sleeping.
If you are wondering why your dog is sleeping so much all of sudden, we have the answers for you. In this article, we will take a look at everything you need to know about your dog’s sleeping patterns, including the number of hours of sleep your dog needs in a day, how to tell whether your dog is sick or just tired, and when to get worried about your dog’s sleeping patterns.
We will also cover other interesting bits of information about sleep in dogs, including whether dogs sleep throughout the night, whether your pooch prefers sleeping with a light on or not, whether dogs dream, as well as what to do if you feel that your dog is sleeping too much.
Before taking a dive into the dreamy world of dog’s sleep, however, let’s get one thing out of the way… Just how much sleep is too much for your four-legged buddy?
How Much Sleep Is Too Much For A Dog?
It is totally fine for a dog to spend most part of their day sleeping. However, if you notice that your dog is opting to sleep even when there’s something more exciting to do, this is a sign that they are sleeping too much. In this case, it is wise to have your dog checked out by a vet.
One of the reasons dogs sleep so much is because they have nothing else to do. If your dog is not enjoying some playtime outside, joining you for a walk, or eating, they don’t have much else to do, so many dogs will opt to catch some sleep.
When they have something to do, dogs can manage with much less sleep. For instance, working dogs, such as those employed by the police or the fire department, do not sleep as much as their non-working counterparts.
However, if you notice that your dog prefers sleeping over something they used to enjoy, such as going out for a walk or drive, or playing with you in the yard, this shows that something is wrong.
Other telltale signs that your canine buddy is getting too much sleep include changes in their sleeping patterns. If your dog is sleeping significantly more than they used to before, this could also be a sign of trouble.
Some of the things that could lead to excessive sleeping in dogs include:
It is perfectly normal for dogs to sleep a lot more during summer. This excessive sleeping is caused by the excessive heat, which can also make your dog seem lazy.
However, you should also watch out for heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke and even death. Heat exhaustion is usually accompanied by symptoms like vomiting and excessive drooling.
Changes to your dog’s schedule, or even your own schedule can greatly affect your furry buddy. For instance, if you have been working from home but have been recently recalled to the office, your dog suddenly being left alone all day could make them depressed. One of the symptoms of depression in dogs is excessive sleeping.
Introducing a new pet to your home can also affect your doggie’s moods and make them anxious. Sometimes, this anxiety will lead to excessive sleeping.
Increased Physical Activity
If your dog has been getting more physical activity in recent times than they are used to, they are definitely going to be more tired than usual, which could lead to more sleeping time in a bid to rest their bodies.
How Many Hours A Day Should A Dog Sleep?
On average, dogs require about 12 to 14 hours of sleep every day, with the sleeping time distributed between an overnight sleep and several short naps throughout the day.
The number of hours of sleep, however, will be affected by things such as age, health, your dog’s breed, and level of physical activity.
Puppies will sleep for up to 20 hours a day. Just like human babies, puppies need lots of sleep for proper development. Older dogs also tend to sleep a lot more than youthful dogs because they don’t have the energy to remain active all day.
A dog who is ill, injured, or overweight will usually sleep more. Mental conditions like anxiety, stress, and depression could also cause your dog to sleep for more than the normal number of hours. This is why it is very important to have your doggie checked by a vet if you feel they are sleeping more than normal.
Some dog breeds are more predisposed to lots of sleeping than others. The size of a dog can also affect a dog’s sleeping patterns. We will look at the dog breeds that sleep the most later within the article.
Level Of Physical Activity
Dogs who have engaged in very tiring physical activity will sleep more in order to give their bodies time to rest. However, dogs who have work to do all day will sleep less because they don’t have time to take naps throughout the day.
Should I Be Worried If My Dog Sleeps All Day?
It is totally normal for your dog to sleep all day. You should only be worried if your dog’s excessive sleeping is accompanied by some unusual signs and symptoms.
If your dog was used to spending a lot of time awake, but they are not sleeping all day, this is cause for concern, so you need to consult a vet and find out what is wrong with your dear fido.
Other accompanying signs that could signify that your dog is not okay include:
- Your dog seems withdrawn and uninterested in what is going on around them.
- The dog seems weak and lethargic.
- Your dog is sleeping so much that they even forget to feed or drink water.
- Your dog has become aggressive all of a sudden.
- Movement has become difficult or painful for your dog.
- Your pooch is suddenly falling asleep, even when they were in the middle of an activity.
- They are peeing and pooping more or less frequently than normal.
- Your dog has lost or gained appetite.
If you notice any of these symptoms in addition to excessive sleeping, schedule an appointment with your vet immediately.
Is My Dog Sick Or Just Tired?
A good way to tell if your dog is sick or just tired is to consider what transpired prior to the excessive sleeping, how your dog behaves when they are awake, how long the excessive sleeping goes on, as well as if there are any accompanying symptoms.
If your dog seems excessively sleepy the day after taking them for a very long hike, there is a high chance that the dog is just tired. In this case, there is no need for concern. However, if your dog seems super tired and you can’t tell why they are tired, your dog could actually be sick and lethargic.
Your dog’s behavior, when they are awake, can tell you if your dog is okay. Normally, when they are not sleeping, your dog should be energetic and enthusiastic. If they seem lethargic, uninterested, and constantly drowsy, this is not a good sign.
If your dog is tired, it will usually get back to its usual self after a day or two. However, if your dog has been acting tired for several days in a row, this could be a sign of sickness.
Finally, if your dog seems excessively tired and is also showing some of the signs and symptoms discussed in the previous section, this is a clear sign that your dog needs medical attention.
Some of the conditions that could make your dog excessively tired and sleepy include congenital heart disease, anemia, parvovirus, malnutrition, diabetes, hypothyroidism, pneumonia, and depression.
Do Dogs Sleep The Whole Night?
Yes. Most dogs will sleep the whole night. However, dogs don’t do this out of necessity. Instead, they do it because you are also sleeping and they don’t have much to keep them awake.
While dogs go through the same sleep cycles as people, their cycles are a lot shorter than ours. This means that your dog doesn’t need to sleep for 7 or 8 continuous hours in order to get enough sleep. Instead, they can go through a complete sleep cycle in about 10 to 20 minutes.
The shorter sleep cycles make it possible for dogs to get enough sleep by getting short naps throughout the day, something that would be very difficult for a person to achieve.
However, since humans sleep throughout the night, there isn’t much for your dog to do while you are asleep, there isn’t much activity going on, and the lights are usually off, so your dog chooses to sleep until you wake up. Speaking of lights off, do dogs prefer sleeping with the lights on or off?
Do Dogs Prefer To Sleep With The Light On?
Dogs can sleep comfortably with or without light, so you shouldn’t be too bothered about leaving a light on for your canine buddy at night.
Before domestication, dogs used to spend much of the day sleeping, doing their hunting at dusk or dawn. Therefore, dogs are very comfortable sleeping with a light on, which is why people assume that dogs need a light on in order to sleep.
However, after dogs became domesticated, they adapted their sleeping schedule to match the sleeping patterns of people and learned to sleep at night. Therefore, your dog doesn’t really need a light on at night.
Can Dogs See In The Dark?
Dogs have more rods in the back of their eyes than humans do. Rods are photoreceptor cells that are highly sensitive to dim light. Having a lot of rods in the back of their eyes means dogs can see a lot better than us in the dark.
Aside from a higher concentration of rods, dogs also have a section in their eye known as the Tapetum lucidum. The role of the tapetum lucidum is to reflect light entering the eye to the retina, making it possible for dogs’ eyes to take in as much light as possible in low light conditions.
The reflection of light from the tapetum lucidum is what makes dogs’ eyes appear to glow when you shine a light at your dog in the dark.
What Should I Do If My Dog Sleeps Too Much?
If your dog is sleeping too much, some of the things you can do, to get them more active and reduce their sleeping, include increasing their exercise frequency and ensuring they have a proper, high-energy diet.
We already saw that dogs often sleep because they have nothing better to do. Exercising your dog gives them something more exciting to do instead of sleeping.
A good way to do this is to go on more walks with your dog. For instance, instead of one walk in the evening, you can go for a walk at midday and another longer one in the evening.
Playing games with your pooch can also help keep boredom away. For instance, you can buy the iFetch Interactive Ball Launchers For Dogs and teach your canine buddy how to launch the balls by themselves. With the iFetch device, you’ll have something to keep your dog entertained, meaning they’ll sleep less.
- Interactive, on demand ball launcher that lets small dogs play fetch to their hearts' content
- Stimulates dogs' minds by challenging them to learn something new
- Strengthens the bond between dogs and their humans and brings a fun new twist to the familiar game of fetch
Proper, High Energy Diet
For your dog to stay awake and active, they need lots of energy. If what you’re feeding your canine buddy doesn’t give them enough energy, this can result in your dog spending most of their time sleeping.
If you’re looking for good, high-energy dog food to give your pooch the energy they need to stay awake and active, you can never go wrong with Pet Plate’s Barkin’ Beef. This dog food is made with high-quality, highly nutritious ingredients that will keep your furry buddy energized all day.
Do Dogs Dream?
Yes. Like humans, dogs do dream when they sleep, and what’s even more fascinating is that their dreams are similar to those of humans.
If you’ve noticed your dog making running movements with their feet and even whining during their sleep, there is a high chance that your dog is enjoying a rabbit hunt in their dream.
By observing the electrical activity of dogs’ brains while they sleep, scientists have concluded that dogs do dream, and just like humans, their dreams consist primarily of a replay of the events the dog experiences during the day.
Scientists also discovered that your dog’s size and age have an impact on their dreams. Smaller dogs breeds like Chihuahuas have more dreams in one night than bigger breeds. In addition, puppies and senior dogs are more likely to dream compared to dogs in their youth.
Which Dogs Sleep The Most?
Some of the dog breeds that love spending most of their time sleeping include:
- Basset Hounds
- Great Danes
If your canine buddy belongs to one of these breeds, don’t be surprised if they prefer spending most of their time catching some sleep. In addition, bigger dog breeds tend to be more predisposed towards sleeping more compared to smaller breeds, though this does not apply in every case.