There are few things more smile-inducing and “awww”-inspiring than seeing a cute pup sprawled out and snoozing away. But dogs don’t just sleep because it’s adorable. Just like in people, sleep for dogs is a critical aspect of their health.
When you start thinking about a dog dozing off, it raises a handful of questions: how is dog sleep like human sleep? How much do dogs need to sleep? Can they sleep too much? And do they dream like we do?
This guide helps answer these questions and more so that you can better understand your dog’s sleep and promote the sleep that they need to continue being a healthy and happy part of your family.
How Much Do Dogs Sleep?
If you have owned a dog, you’ve probably noticed that sleeping is one of their best abilities. Whether it’s safely sprawled out in the shade on a hot day or curled up at the foot of your bed at night, you’ve seen how a dog can get comfortable and doze off in all sorts of places and at all times of day. But you may not have ever tallied or noticed exactly how much your dog slept in total through the day, especially if you spend part of your day at work or otherwise away from home.
It turns out that dogs need a lot of sleep. In general, dogs spend about half of the day or a little bit more, ranging from 12-14 hours, asleep. However, several factors affect exactly how much a dog is likely to sleep on an average day:
- Age: puppies and older dogs both spend more time asleep than dogs that are in middle age. To support their growth, puppies may spend up to 20 hours asleep. And senior dogs naturally have a lower energy level and get exhausted more easily, requiring more sleep on a daily basis.
- Breed and Size: though not universally true, bigger dogs will sleep for more hours per day than smaller dogs. Larger breeds of dogs tend to need more sleep and can sometimes sleep up to 18 hours a day even in middle age.
- Activity: it may seem counterintuitive, but dogs that are very active, especially working dogs, usually need less sleep than dogs that are less active and are sedentary for most of the day.