DogHealth & Diet

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much? 6 Vet-Approved Reasons

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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When your favorite canine isn’t hyped up and ready to play, chances are good they’re sleeping. Sleep is a big part of a dog’s life; in fact, dogs sleep around 12 to 14 hours a day, if not more! (And that doesn’t even count the time they spend awake but lazing about.) But why do dogs sleep so much?

Your pup sleeps so much for several reasons, ranging from genetics to the world around them. All of these factors can affect how much (or little) your dog sleeps. Ready to find out what these reasons are? Keep reading for the six potential reasons dogs sleep so much!

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The 6 Reasons That Dogs Sleep So Much

1. Age

Your dog’s age or life stage can greatly affect how much they sleep in a day. Due to differing energy needs, puppies and senior dogs require more sleep than adult canines.

Puppies are still growing and using tons of energy during play, so they expend a lot of energy each day. This means they need much more sleep than an adult dog who is no longer growing and plays less often. Puppies can actually sleep 20 hours a day during their first few months!

Senior canines tend to sleep more as well. They get tired more easily than they used to and have less energy. This makes them want to sleep more than adult dogs.

an old senior Irish setter dog with white hair around its facean old senior Irish setter dog with white hair around its face
Image Credit: Tunde Gaspar, Shutterstock

2. Breed

Some dog breeds simply sleep more often. In general, large and small dog breeds tend to sleep more than medium-sized breeds. And if you have a working dog breed, they likely spend more time being active and hyper alert than a non-working dog breed, which can lead to them sleeping less often.

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Every dog breed is different, and some are just hardwired to sleep more than others! Keep in mind that individual dogs within a breed are different too, so some may sleep more than others.

3. Nutrition

Dogs lacking proper nutrition and a balanced diet might be more tired than those that receive all the nutrients they need. Without a balanced diet, a pup may miss out on some of the nutrients that help provide energy, making them more tired than normal. Think about days when you eat nothing but junk food; you probably feel less awake and ready to seize the day than when you eat healthier, right? The same goes for dogs. So, be sure your canine pal is consuming dog food that provides all the nutrients they require for their specific breed and age.

Golden Retriever dog eating from the food bowlGolden Retriever dog eating from the food bowl
Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

4. Boredom

Napping might be the first thing you turn to when you’re lounging around the house, bored out of your mind. It can also be the first thing your pup turns to when bored. And dogs can get easily bored if they don’t have enough to physically and mentally stimulate them. Loneliness can factor in here, too; if you and your family are away from home for most of the day, leaving your pup alone, they’re probably lonely and bored because no one is around to play with them. Even leaving out toys for your dog while you’re away might not ward off the boredom entirely.

You can help prevent boredom by engaging your dog in play or taking them for a nice walk when you’re at home. If your pup is stuck home alone often because everyone is at work or school, consider investing in interactive dog toys or a dog walker. Both can help keep your pet entertained when no one is there.

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5. Stress

Stress affects us all, canines included. Just a few things that can cause your pup to become stressed are loud noises, having to share eating space, losing a loved one, and changes to routine. Like us, stress can affect how much or little a dog sleeps, so it could be the reason behind a dog sleeping so much.

How can you tell if your dog is stressed over something? You’ll see certain signs, such as:

  • Hiding
  • Aggression
  • Pacing
  • Being clingy
  • Engaging in destructive behavior

If your dog is experiencing stress, you may be able to help them on your own if you can identify the source of the stress. However, you might also want to contact your vet.

6. Health Related Issues

Has your dog been ill recently or suffered an injury? Then, they could be sleeping a lot to aid in recovery. Bodies in recovery require more sleep to help the healing process, so a recently sick or injured pup may sleep more often while on the mend.

If your canine companion hasn’t been ill or injured, they might sleep so much because they’re becoming unwell. Many health issues can cause changes in sleeping patterns, including diabetes and kidney disease. So, if your dog is sleeping more than is normal or exhibiting signs of not feeling well, contact your vet.

vet checking up dog with a catheter
Image Credit: RossHelen, Shutterstock


How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?

Because the amount of sleep dogs need varies by canine, it can be difficult to determine how much sleep is too much. Generally, adult dogs won’t need to sleep more than 14 or 15 hours a day. However, some dog breeds might sleep more than that on a normal basis and be fine.

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You know your dog and their sleeping patterns best, so you should have a pretty good idea of how often your pup sleeps. If you see them sleeping more than seems typical or are simply concerned, it’s best to contact your dog’s vet for a consultation.

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Our canine pals sleep a lot! So, if your dog sleeps 12 to 14 hours a day, it’s probably normal. There are many reasons for dogs to sleep as much as they do, and most of the reasons aren’t something to be concerned about. However, if you see your pup sleeping more often than usual, they could be bored, stressed, or dealing with a health issue.

Keeping an eye on your dog’s habits, sleeping and otherwise, is wise, so you’ll have an easier time noticing when something might be off.

Featured Image Credit: Sigma_S, Shutterstock

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