Does My Dog Sleep Too Much? Here’s What a Vet Says

black pug yawning on Casper pet bed inside room

It’s easy for us to admire our dogs, particularly when they’re cuddling up on the couch while we’re navigating Zoom meetings, running errands, and making dinner. On average, dogs sleep between 12 and 14 hours each day. If you’ve ever seen your dog sleeping in the afternoon and thought, “Does my dog sleep too frequently?” There’s no reason to be concerned about what you need to know.

How do Dogs Sleep

white dog sleeping on floor

Studies have shown that the dogs’ behavior is daytime. Affected by the daily routines of their home, they rest most of the time at night but have a relaxing time all day. In contrast, the domestic cat is crepuscular. They have extended levels of activity between dawn and sunset. (Though cats sleep a lot, they can sleep up to 15 hours daily.)

Dogs typically sleep for 45 minutes in increments of 45 minutes. But, if you notice the dogs curled up in a slumber with their eyes shut, they may not be asleep completely. They could rest and wait to get active upon the first sign of walks or treats.

George Melillo, DVM, is the co-founder and chief veterinarian officer at Heart + Paw, a veterinary practice. The vet says that dogs are less likely to spend hours in fast-eye movements (REM) sleep than humans. Dogs begin the REM cycle after around 20 minutes of rest. The stage can last up to five minutes or so. (Humans can stay in REM for as long as one hour.) REM is the time when you can hear them squealing and twitching. Dogs sleep as well and generally lasting about 1-5 minutes.

Do All Dogs Have the same sleep patterns?

It’s not exactly. Melillo states that your pet’s time to sleep varies based on factors like activity level, age size, health, and size.

He also says that puppies require more sleep than adult dogs, about 18 hours. It’s normal for young puppies to take as many as 20 naps daily! So long as they’re lively and keen to eat and play in between and snoring, they’re in good shape. Senior dogs are also inclined to rest longer, particularly towards the close span of their life.

Does My Dog Sleep Too Much? Do I have to be concerned?

German shepherd puppy sleeping

So, can dogs sleep too much? Sometimes.

“Dogs generally sleep too much to avoid boredom or because of their lifestyle,” Melillo says. Therefore, your furry friend must be given the appropriate amount of physical activity and active time throughout the day. Think about entertaining activities indoors and outdoors to get your feet moving, increase her mood and keep her busy.

There could be other health issues that make her take longer sleep, as well. “If your dog is sleeping more than normal it could be an indication of weakening or an underlying illness and must be discussed with the vet,” Melillo adds.

The most common reasons why your dog may be sleeping too often can be:

  • Obesity
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Anxiety about separation
  • Stress

You may notice your dog is sleeping excessively or having trouble eating. These signs could indicate deeper issues, and you should schedule an examination with your vet immediately.

Helping Your Dog Sleep Better

There’s a twist: for certain dogs, the issue is that they lack adequate sleep. “Some dogs have anxiety problems that make them sleepy,” Melillo says. “Others might be experiencing disruptions in their routine or environment. In certain instances, the pet could experience discomfort that hinders their ability to relax.”

A few studies have also revealed that animals in shelters or stay for long in kennels are often having trouble sleeping through the night. They are more fearful or anxious and are more comfortable with their family members in the daytime. This is a pattern you observe when you see a recently rescued dog.

If your pet is given an overall good health report, but you’re worried about their sleeping routine, create the following way that is more organized. Discuss with your veterinarian or a certified expert in the field of behavior to pinpoint issues and develop techniques for training that include food, exercise, crate training, and cues for bedtime. Experts may also suggest supplements like Melatonin to make the process more smooth.


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