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Why does my dog sleep so much?
It’s a question that many pet parents, especially newer ones, ask a lot. They sleep all night and still take naps during the day. To humans (who only sleep seven to nine hours a night), sleeping so much can seem unusual. Dogs are different from people, though. Their sleep needs are different, and they require more hours of rest than their pet parents.
However, there’s a difference between sleeping a lot and sleeping too much. Here’s what pet parents need to know about normal dog sleeping patterns and how to tell when there might be an issue.
So, how much should a dog sleep? On average, most canines sleep around 12 hours a day. Some will sleep more, while others might seem like they never sleep.
Every canine’s sleep needs are different. Here are a few of the top factors that can affect their habits:
Generally speaking, larger dogs, such as Mastiffs and Newfoundlands, require more sleep than smaller ones do. That’s because their bodies need more energy to keep going. More hours of sleep allow them to recover from activity and exercise.
Not all of the sleepiest dogs are giant breeds. English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Basset Hounds tend to spend more time dozing than other canines do.
A dog’s activity level can also play a role in how much they sleep. Higher-energy canines that thrive on long walks, park romps, and backyard playtime often require more hours of sleep than dogs who live a more laid-back lifestyle. Active dogs burn more energy, so they need to sleep more to recover.
A dog’s sleep requirements can (and often do) change throughout their lives. Puppies sleep a lot because they’re growing. They’re also very active. They usually need around 18 to 20 hours of sleep a day to keep up with their energy needs. Their sleeping habits will start to resemble those of adults of the same breed once they’re about a year old.
As a dog reaches their senior years, their sleep habits may start changing again. They begin to slow down, and their bodies need more energy to function. The result is the need for more sleep.
That doesn’t mean senior dogs shouldn’t partake in physical activities. In fact, staying fairly active can help older dogs maintain better overall health. However, pet parents may need to modify some exercises to prevent injuries or overexertion.
Personality may also factor in. Some dogs are naturally more boisterous and playful than others, even within the same breed. One might be inquisitive, silly, and always ready to play, while another is calm, easy-going, and content to chill at home. Dogs that are constantly on the go are likely to sleep more to restore the energy they exert throughout the day.
While sleeping around twelve hours a day can seem unusual to people (who only need seven to nine hours of sleep), it’s fairly normal behavior for dogs. However, when canines start sleeping more (or less) than usual, that change can signify potential health issues.
From injuries and illnesses to anxiety and age-related problems, pet parents should address sudden shifts in normal dog sleeping patterns as soon as possible. But when dogs already sleep half the day away, how can they tell when their canine’s behaviors are unusual? The following symptoms can let pet parents know there might be something wrong.
While normal dog sleeping hours can vary from one canine to the next, most dogs tend to sleep through the night and nap periodically during daylight hours. A lot of sleep may be normal, but excessive sleeping, especially when there seems to be no apparent reason, can indicate possible diseases and other issues.
Common causes for sudden sleep schedule changes include:
An inability to get comfortable (often due to problems like injuries or joint discomfort)
Sleep apnea (which usually comes with excessive snoring)
The sooner a pet parent addresses their dog’s change in normal sleep patterns, the sooner they can help restore their pet’s health and get them back to a more normal sleep schedule.
Stress and anxiety can significantly impact a dog’s quality of life. These issues can affect a dog’s digestive system, increase their risk of developing a variety of health conditions, and may lead to behavioral concerns.
To make matters worse, stress and anxiety can also impact a dog’s sleep cycles, making it difficult to achieve the deep sleep they need. Just as it can do to humans, too little sleep can affect a dog’s mood and increase their risk of health issues.
Several issues can trigger anxiety in dogs, including:
Changes within the home (a new addition, loss of a family member)
Loud, scary noises (fireworks, thunderstorms, etc.)
Rather than sleeping, anxious dogs might pace around, pant, drool, or find it difficult to get comfortable. They may become destructive or relieve themselves indoors when their pet parents leave for the day. Treating a dog’s anxiety can alleviate symptoms, improving their sleep and their quality of life.
Narcolepsy is a nervous system disorder that usually affects younger canines. A dog could be running around and playing normally. Suddenly, they fall asleep, often collapsing on the ground or falling over on their side. Then they wake up and proceed as if nothing ever happened.
While it isn’t harmful, narcolepsy is still problematic. It can also be scary for pet parents. A vet can help pet parents pinpoint possible triggers and prevent narcoleptic episodes from occurring in the future.
A dog that suddenly prefers sleeping over participating in daily activities, including walks, eating, and drinking, may indicate an illness or injury. Seeking professional assistance as soon as possible can help pet parents discover the underlying issue and treat it right away.
Dogs naturally need more sleep than their pet parents do to recover the energy they expend during the day. It’s not unusual for humans to find their canines taking a few naps during the day, especially after a long walk or vigorous play session. However, if they start noticing their dog sleeping more (or less) than usual, a shift in their dog’s typical sleep behaviors, or any other signs of a potential issue, they should speak with a vet as soon as possible.
Fuzzy’s team of online vets is available 24/7 to address a pet parent’s questions and concerns about their dog’s sudden change in sleep. A vet can go over the dog’s symptoms with a pet parent to get to the bottom of the issue.
For more information and to start chatting with a live vet any time of day or night, pet parents should visit Fuzzy online and sign up to become a member today.