Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Dog Sleep
Apr 19, 2021

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Dog Sleep

We talk a lot about sleep on this blog. After all, it’s a topic we’re definitely passionate about, and making sure that your night-time hours are as restful as possible is the driving force behind everything we do. But sleep isn’t something that only benefits humans; sleep has an impact on the health and wellbeing of essentially every creature on the planet, and that includes man’s best friend.

So how much sleep do dogs need? Is there such a thing as too much sleep for a dog? What about a dog’s sleeping positions? Here, we’ll cover all of your dog-sleep questions.

How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?

The National Sleep Foundation suggests that human adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep per night, with babies and teens needing even more to promote healthy growth and development. Dogs tend to sleep way more than most humans, averaging about 12–14 hours per day. 

12–14 hours may seem like a lot — those lazy pooches are sleeping through half the day! But it's worth recognizing that dogs’ sleep patterns are different from ours. Dogs fall asleep very quickly, and are capable of awakening to full alertness at the drop of a treat; they only spend about 10% of their sleep time in REM (the most restful sleep phase, in which humans spend about 25% of our sleep time). So, because their sleep is less restful, dogs tend to require more of it.

And, much like babies and teenagers, puppies and juvenile dogs also need more time to rest their paws — sometimes as much as 20 hours per day. Older dogs also tend to take it easy, catching more zzz’s in their golden years than they did as pups.

Is My Dog Sleeping Too Much? 

Even taking into account the 12–14 hour average, it can be disconcerting to see your dog curled up all day, every day. But also bear in mind that dogs tend to take a number of short naps throughout the day, while also waking up and moving around regularly throughout the night while you’re still in bed. So, your dog may not necessarily be sleeping whenever you are. 

More good news is that, ironic though it may seem, more sleep could actually be a sign of a more active doggy lifestyle. The American Kennel Club suggests that really active dogs make up for expended energy by adding a few more hours to their sleep routine, while less active ones spend more time awake. 

Still, changes in established sleep habits can be warning signs. If you notice that your dog is sleeping a lot more (or a lot less) than normal, don’t hesitate to take your concerns to your veterinarian.

What Do My Dog's Sleeping Positions Tell Me?

Just like humans, dogs tend to have their own preferred sleeping positions. And while some positions may give insight into a dog’s mental or emotional state (an exposed tummy could mean the dog feels safe in their surroundings, while a curled up position may indicate the opposite), the reality is that essentially any position is just a matter of personal preference.

That said, if you notice that your dog has suddenly changed its preferred sleeping position, it could be a sign that the dog is experiencing discomfort. Look for signs of soreness or injury, and if you’re feeling concerned, a trip to the vet might be in order. Just remember that there are also other factors that might be in play; a dog might start curling up to sleep when the weather gets cold, and may switch to a more open position when it starts getting warm out.

Alright! That about covers it for dog sleep. Now let’s focus on youget that great human sleep you need today!