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Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much? Unraveling Canine Nap Habits - PawSafe

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much? Unraveling Canine Nap Habits

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

why do dogs sleep so much

If you’ve ever watched your pup snoozing for hours on end, you might have wondered why dogs seem to sleep so much. It’s not just your dog — canines, in general, are pretty fond of catching Z’s. Adult dogs sleep around 12 to 14 hours per day, while puppies can sleep even longer, up to 18 hours! This might sound like a whole lot of lounging around, but there’s a good reason for it.

Your dog’s sleep pattern is quite different from your own. Unlike humans, who tend to sleep in one long stretch, dogs sleep in shorter, more frequent bursts throughout the day and night. This habit stems from their ancestors, who needed to be alert to defend themselves or to hunt. Today, even though they’re not fending off predators, this instinctual pattern remains. Plus, when your dog is sleeping, they’re doing more than just resting — they’re processing the day’s events and making memories, just like people do.

To provide you with the most accurate information, we reference a study by our expert dog behaviorist, Dr. Rachel Kinsman, which you can find detailed in this research article. Whether you’re curious if it’s normal for your puppy to sleep all day, or you’re concerned about changes in your older dog’s sleep habits, this article has the answers you need.

In general, dogs require more sleep compared to humans, and it’s partly due to how they spend their energy. For dogs, sleep is essential for restoring energy and maintaining healthy brain function.

Puppies, for example, may snooze more as they are growing and developing, which can be physically demanding. They may sleep up to 18-20 hours a day. As dogs grow older, their sleep patterns usually adjust. Your dog’s breed can also influence sleep habits; larger breeds often tend to sleep more than the smaller ones.

Different factors influence your pet’s sleep environment. If you notice your dog seeks comfort by sleeping on you rather than solo, it could be because they’re seeking a sense of safety and comfort from your presence.

Another quirky fact about dogs is their perception of time. They don’t clock-watch like humans, but have a sense for routine and events, which dictate their daily cycles, including sleep. This is why a change in routine might affect your dog’s sleep patterns.

From the comfort of their favorite nap spot to the subtle cues they pick up from daily routines, your pup’s sleeping habits are their way of staying happy and healthy. Understanding their behavior helps you make sure they’re getting the right balance of rest and activity.

So, when you see your dog curled up and drifting off, just remember that it’s all part of their natural instinct to ensure they’re ready for whatever comes next in their day—or yours!

Typical Daily Sleep Hours for Dogs

Jack Russell Terrier Dog sleeping next to alarm clock

Studies show that younger dogs need more sleep. Typically, a 16-week-old pup will clock in around 11.2 hours of sleep each day. However, when dogs turn one year old, they stay awake a bit more, averaging about 10.8 hours of sleep per day. When dogs become seniors, they start to sleep more or more and may have a disrupted sleep pattern.

This sleep isn’t all in one go; it’s spread throughout the day and night. Your puppy’s love for snoozing during the day will generally decrease as they get older, with more awake moments for play and exploration.

Dog Sleep Cycles

Deep sleep and REM sleep, the stages where the body recovers and dreams happen, are as critical for your dog as they are for you. If you see your pup twitching in their sleep, they’re likely in the REM stage, dreaming about chasing squirrels or their favorite game of fetch.

As for where dogs sleep, that changes too. Little furballs might start in a crate but don’t be surprised if your grown dog prefers the foot of your bed. You’re their pack, after all, and they might want to be close to you.

AgeAverage Total Sleep (24h period)
16 weeks11.2 hours
12 months10.8 hours

Remember, these changes in sleeping patterns and preferences are natural. As your dog ages, their needs, including where and how much they sleep, will adapt. It’s your job to ensure that their sleeping spot feels safe and comfy — be it a cozy crate for a puppy or a snuggly dog bed for an older pooch. Everything you do helps your dog get the rest they need to be healthy and happy!

Impact of Age on Dog Sleep Patterns

Sleeping newborn Rottweiler puppy on white background

As your dog grows older, you might notice changes in how much it sleeps. Puppies, for example, often seem to be full of boundless energy, but they also need a lot of sleep. When they’re really young, they can sleep for 18 to 20 hours a day. It’s just part of growing up.

When dogs reach adulthood, their sleep needs tend to decrease, but they still clock in a healthy 12 to 14 hours of sleep. They spend part of this time in a light doze, kind of like when you’re chilling on the couch but not quite out cold.

Why Older Dogs Sleep So Much

As your pup enters its senior years, you may notice it starts to snooze even more. This is kind of like how your grandpa might nod off more than you do. Older dogs might experience changes in sleep due to their body’s aging process and health issues that come with age. 

They may have a harder time getting comfortable or staying asleep. Studies such as the one on sleep and cognition in aging dogs show that sleep patterns can indeed change with age. This is especially true if your older dog gets canine cognitive decline or doggy dementia.

To sum it up, dogs sleep a lot at the beginning and end of their lives with a bit of a more active stretch in the middle. Just like us, their sleep patterns shift as they age. Keep an eye on your dog’s sleep habits, and it’ll give you a little insight into the stage of life they’re in.

Breed Influence on Dog Sleep Habits

You’ve probably noticed that your dog sleeps a lot, huh? Well, it’s not just your pup — all dogs do! But did you ever wonder if the type of dog you have might change how much they snooze? Let’s take a quick peek at how your dog’s breed might affect their sleep habits.

High-Energy Dogs

Breeds like Collies, Sheepdogs, and Belgian Shepherds have lots of energy. They may not sleep as much as the chill dogs because they’re busy herding or playing fetch.

Low-Energy Pals

Breeds like Bulldogs and Mastiffs take lounging very seriously and often sleep more.

Brachycephalic (Squishy-Faced) Breeds

Your Buggs or Pug with the smooshed face? They might snore a lot because it’s harder to breathe, but they sure do love their naps.


Take Greyhounds, for example — they can snooze like champs even with all their speed.

Let’s get it straight; some breeds just can’t help but catch those extra winks. If you’re curious about your own pooch, checking out their breed’s traits will give you some clues. Remember, just because your dog is a certain breed doesn’t mean they’ll stick to the script. They’ve got their own personality, after all!

Normality of Dogs Sleeping All Day

Hey, have you ever wondered if it’s okay that your pup spends most of the day napping? Well, you’re not alone. It turns out that dogs love to sleep, and it’s a totally normal part of their routine.

  • Young Puppies Under 8 Weeks: They might snooze for up to 18-20 hours a day!
  • Adult dogs: They tend to sleep around 8-14 hours a day (about 10 to 11 hours on average)
  • Senior dogs: Just like older people, they might need even more rest.

If your dog is sleeping a lot during the day, it’s usually no big deal. It’s how they recharge and stay ready for all the fun activities you both enjoy together. After all, they need energy for walks, playtime, and keeping up with their human buddies — that’s you!

Now, why do they sleep so much? Think about what dogs were bred for: lots of them were working dogs with jobs that required bursts of energy. So in between those exciting moments of chasing squirrels or playing fetch, they need to rest.

If you’re curious about how your dog’s sleep habits measure up, check out this descriptive analysis of a cohort of dogs. It talks about daytime and nighttime sleep patterns and what’s typical for your pooch.

Remember, each dog is unique so their sleep needs can vary. But it’s all good — your dog’s snoozes are a normal, healthy part of their life!

Health Issues Causing Excessive Dog Sleep

Old Golden Retriever sleeping all day on bed with open mouth

Sometimes your pup might seem to enjoy their sleep a bit more than usual. While it’s normal for dogs to sleep a lot, excessive snoozing could signal underlying health issues. It’s good to be aware and maybe check in with your vet if you notice your pup is sleeping more than normal.

Excessive Sleeping in Senior Dogs

Older dogs, or senior dogs, often need more rest due to their age. But when younger dogs start sleeping like they’re retired, it could be a hint of medical conditions like hypothyroidism, which affects their energy levels, or canine cognitive dysfunction, a condition similar to dementia in humans. If your dog’s sleep patterns change, a trip to the veterinarian could help rule out these issues.

Common Health Issues

Other health problems that may cause your dog to sleep more include heart conditions, diabetes, and obesity. Each of these can sap your dog’s energy, leading to increased lethargy. A less obvious culprit might be sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, which result in poor quality sleep. This means even after a long night’s rest, your dog may still feel tired.

Breathing Problems

Breathing issues during sleep can be particularly concerning. If you notice your dog gasping or stopping breathing while snoring, this might be sleep apnea disturbing their z’s, and they might act out their dreams due to lost muscle paralysis, which sometimes resembles sleepwalking.

In any case, consistently observing changes in your dog’s sleeping patterns and discussing them with a health professional is crucial. Understanding the possible chronic illness or other health concerns through a professional evaluation can ensure better care for your dog’s golden years or help manage any underlying condition they might have. 

Activity Levels Effect on Dog Sleep

Hey, if you’ve ever wondered why your dog seems to spend so much time snoozing, it’s partly due to their activity level. Different dogs have different sleep needs, and much of it ties back to how active they are.

Larger Breeds and Working Dog

Larger breeds and working dogs need quality sleep after a hard day’s work. If you’ve got a big, active pooch, they’ll likely crash harder and longer after exercise. They’re built for action, but that also means they need the rest to recover.

Normal Pet Dogs

For your average family dog, their lifestyle might not be as physically demanding, but exercise still plays a role in their sleep cycles. Regular walks and playtimes? These will tire out Fido and call for longer periods of sleep to bounce back.

Nutrition & Sleep

And don’t forget about nutrition. Just like you, your dog’s diet impacts their energy. A well-fed dog with the right balance of nutrients will have a more regulated sleep-wake cycle. Grab that dog food bag and check if it’s supporting an active lifestyle or if it’s time for a change.


While dog breeds have their tendencies, each pup is unique. An active Jack Russell may out-bounce a Great Dane, but both end up sprawled out dreaming of chasing squirrels.

Remember, exercise is key for a healthy pup, but balance it with enough downtime. Keep your dog’s breed and individual needs in mind, and you’ll have a happy, well-rested pup.

Environmental Changes and Dog Sleep Patterns

sleeping mixed breed dog on couch sleeping so much

So, let’s look at some things in your dog’s environment that can affect how much they sleep. 

Light Exposure

You might have noticed your dog snoozing more on a rainy day than a sunny one. This isn’t a coincidence! Dogs’ sleep patterns are influenced by light levels, impacting their sleep time and posture. Light acts as a signal for sleep onset, much like it does for us. Artificial lighting, for example, can disrupt their circadian cycle, leading to poor quality sleep.

Noise Factor

Noise isn’t just annoying, it affects sleep too. Nighttime noises can cause your dog to take longer to fall asleep. Just as humans, dogs experience sleep fragmentation when exposed to loud and unexpected sounds, contributing to stress and potential health issues.

Temperature Matters

Ever seen your dog seek a warm spot to curl up for a nap? Temperature plays a role in their comfort and sleep quality. Warmth can help them fall asleep faster and enjoy more non-REM sleep. However, too much heat could disrupt their sleep, as it might increase their body temperature beyond comfort levels.

Your Daily Routine

Your routine impacts your pup too. When you shift your activities, your dog’s sleep pattern can change. Things like the timing of meals, your work schedule, and even your exercise routine can all influence when and how well your dog sleeps.

By understanding these environmental effects, you can help ensure your dog gets the sleep they need for good health and temperament. Remember, a well-rested pup is a happy one!

Here you can find more detailed information on how changes in the pattern and duration of a dog’s sleep can indicate stress and the importance of maintaining a consistent environment for their well-being.

Behavioral Factors and Sleep

When you notice your dog sleeping a lot, you might wonder if it’s normal. Don’t sweat it; dogs love to sleep! But their sleep patterns can be influenced by various behavioral factors. Let’s chew on the details:


Just like you might yawn and stretch when there’s nothing to do, dogs can get bored too. When there’s a lack of stimulation or playtime, your pup might hit the snooze button more often.


Yep, dogs can get stressed. Think of when you move to a new place or hear loud noises. Dogs feel this too, and it can mess with their sleep.


This is a biggie. Dogs that seem nervous or are often left alone can develop anxiety, which can lead to lots more napping.


Dogs can feel down in the dumps as well. Sadness or changes in the house can send them straight to bed.

So, what does this mean for your pooch? Let’s break it down:

FeelingSleep Effect
Boredom😴 More sleep because there’s nothing better to do.
Stress😕 Sleep might be restless or disrupted.
Anxiety😟 Lots of sleep, but not necessarily restful.
Depression😢 Might sleep more just like humans do when they’re blue.

Real talk: If you’re seeing a lot of sleepy time, it might be time for more walks, games, or even a trip to the vet if it seems serious. Remember, sleeping more can be their way of coping, just like you might binge-watch your favorite show when you’re not feeling 100%.

Keep an eye out! If your dog is acting differently or sleeping more than usual, it’s a good idea to pay attention to these signs. Making sure they have a routine, plenty of exercises, and mental stimulation can help regulate their sleep. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if your dog seems especially down or can’t shake that sleepy vibe. After all, a happy dog means a happy life together!

When to Worry About Changes in Dog Sleep

Sometimes, your dog might sleep a lot or a little, and it’s totally normal. But if the sleep pattern changes a lot, it might be a sign something’s up.

Excessive Sleep

If you notice your dog is sleeping way more than usual, it could be a sign of something like sleep apnea or even just recovery from a super active day. Now, all dogs nap quite a bit. But, if your buddy is snoozing more than 12-14 hours a day and is an adult dog, you might want to check with your vet. Keep an eye out for extra loud snoring or pauses in breathing, as these might be clues to sleep apnea.

Insufficient Sleep

On the other hand, if your pooch isn’t getting enough Z’s, it can be as big of a deal as sleeping too much. Dogs usually need a good amount of sleep. If yours isn’t getting it, watch for signs like crankiness or being super tired during the day. This can happen if something’s bugging them or they’re not feeling right. Just like you, they need good rest to stay healthy.

Care and Management of Dog Sleep

Caring for your dog’s sleep is a big part of keeping them happy and healthy. Just like you need a good night’s rest, so does your pup.

Establishing a Sleep Schedule

Creating a regular sleep schedule helps your dog understand when it’s time to wind down. Aim to go for walks, eat, and play at similar times each day. Most adult dogs need about 12-14 hours of sleep a day, while puppies and older dogs may need even more. Set specific times for naps, too, and stick to them. This routine not only helps with your dog’s lethargy during the day but also strengthens your bonding.

Creating a Comfortable Sleep Environment

Ensure your pup has a comfortable spot to snooze. This could be a dedicated dog bed with a soft blanket or a special corner in your room. The sleep environment should be at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or cold. Dogs sleep best where they feel safe and at ease. Check that their sleeping area is away from loud noises and out of the way of high traffic areas to prevent disturbed napping.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When you’re curious about your dog’s sleep habits, you’re not alone. Many dog owners wonder about the sleep patterns of their pups.

Why do pups like snoozing at your feet?

Your pup snoozes at your feet to stay close to you, feeling safe and bonded to their favorite human. It’s their way of showing trust and affection.

Is it typical for a dog to chill all day long?

Yes, it’s pretty normal for dogs to relax most of the day. Depending on their age and breed, dogs can sleep from 12 to 14 hours a day.

What makes my dog suddenly want to nap more?

If your dog is napping more than usual, it might be due to factors like age, weather, or health. If you notice a sudden change, it’s a good idea to check with your vet.

Do dogs normally sleep more than us?

Dogs do generally sleep more than humans. They need more rest because they spend more of their awake time being active and alert.

Can dogs be totally happy just napping loads?

Dogs can be quite content napping a lot, as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation during their active hours.

When left alone, do dogs spend their time snoozing?

When left alone, many dogs will indeed spend most of their time sleeping. It’s a way to conserve energy and pass the time until their human companions return.

Final Thoughts

You’ve probably noticed your pup loves to snooze — a lot. It’s normal for dogs to sleep more than us humans. But why do they need so much sleep? Let’s break it down:

  • Puppy or Older Dog? Puppies and older dogs generally need more sleep.
  • Size Matters: Larger breeds tend to doze more than smaller ones.
  • Activity Levels: Busy dogs with active days might need more rest.
  • Health Factors: If your dog isn’t feeling well, they’ll likely sleep more to recover.

Remember, every dog is unique. If your buddy is sleeping more than usual and you can’t figure out why, it’s a good idea to check in with a vet. Just like us, when dogs get bored or have less activity, they might sleep more just to pass the time.

Here’s a quick tip: Keep them stimulated! Regular exercise and play keep your dog’s mind and body sharp. Think about how you feel after a day of doing nothing — you get pretty tired, right? Dogs are the same! When they have stuff to do, they’ll have a more balanced sleep-wake cycle.

So, watch for sudden changes in sleeping patterns. And above all, make sure they have a comfy spot to catch those z’s. Happy snoozing to your pup!


Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.