How much sleep do dogs need?

The average dog sleeps between 12-14 hours a day. This is a culmination of day time napping, and overnight sleeping. Puppies and older dogs need even longer, and greyhounds are well known for sleeping more than 18 hours a day.

There are many factors when considering how much sleep your dog actually needs, these include size, age, exercise regime and overall health.

It may feel like your dog is sleeping away the day, but it’s important to understand that dogs sleeping patterns are very different from humans. They have very scattered sleep throughout the day, consisting of short naps where they are constantly waking up to scan their environment for any changes or danger.

If your dog is not napping during the day or is restless at night, this may cause sleep deprivation. Like a baby, this lack of sleep may cause them to be needy, whine and generally cranky and disinterested in life.

An off day is not uncommon and can be remedied by an extra-long walk or play session to tire them out and induce sleep so that they can get back to their normal self.

When should I be concerned?

There are some conditions that may cause your dog to lose sleep or endure a very restless night. Over time, this can cause severe sleep deprivation and change your pooches overall demeanour and zest for life. Here a few things to watch out for:

  • Pain: If your dog suffers arthritis or joint pain, they may be so uncomfortable that they cannot get proper rest. Your vet can prescribe appropriate pain relief to ease their pain and get them back into a restful sleep pattern.
  • Lack of exercise: Every dog is different and requires different levels of exercise in order to maintain a healthy life. If these needs are not met, it can lead to a build-up of energy and frustration, resulting in destructive behaviour as well as problems sleeping. Remember, a tired dog is more likely to sleep.
  • Anxiety: If your dog is suffering from anxiety, it can cause them to lose sleep. Anxiety can be caused by a large number of reasons (loud noises, fear of being left alone, new environment etc). While the root of the problem may not be clear, getting to the bottom of the cause of this anxiety will help you remedy the problem and give your dog proper rest.
If your dog is napping during the day and sleeps solidly through the night, it means that you are doing all the right things to keep them happy and healthy.