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What is Always Sleeping?

Dogs tend to sleep a lot; should you be concerned about the hours your dog spends sleeping and whether they are a sign of a health concern, it is best to first get an understanding of how often dogs of his age and level of activity typically sleep. Dogs that are working (for example a search and rescue dog) will typically sleep less than a dog that is not working. If you determine that your dog is sleeping more than is typical, there are a variety of possible reasons for his additional slumber. These include: 

  • Boredom
  • Canine depression
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Infectious diseases

If your dog is sleeping more than is typical for his age and activity level, how serious it is will depend on its cause. Should he be sleeping excessively as a result of boredom, as he is not experiencing a health issue, his sleeping so much is not particularly serious (though you will want to take steps to alleviate his boredom). If he is sleeping so much as a result of diabetes or another illness, his sleeping is pointing to a potentially serious health issue.

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Why Always Sleeping Occurs in Dogs

The reason for your dog sleeping so much will depend upon its cause. For example:


Particularly in dogs that are not working, they can sleep as a result of not having anything to do. If you think your dog is bored, you can make sure he has enough stimulation during the day; this can occur by taking him on walks and providing him with toys to play with. If he is busy during the day, he will remain awake and sleep at night.


This may be the result of a chemical imbalance in your dog’s brain though it is often the result of a sudden change in your dog’s situation; for example, a move, or a loss of another pet or person in their life. Other symptoms of depression are a decreased level of activity, lethargy, decrease in appetite and subsequent weight loss.


When your dog’s thyroid gland does not make enough T3 and T4 hormones, it will lead to a decrease in his metabolic function. Usually, this is an autoimmune response where the immune system will attack the thyroid, though is can be the result of other health problems like cancer. When your dog’s metabolic function decreases, it will lead to his whole body slowing down. When this occurs, you may see weight gain, anemia, hair loss, disorders of his coat and skin, a decrease in heart rate and his being intolerant to cold weather.


Symptoms of diabetes in dogs include sleepiness, lethargy, an increase in thirst, frequent urination, weight loss and occasionally a loss of sight. As with diabetes in people, insulin injections are the treatment for the condition. Certain breeds, along with those that are obese, are at greater risk of the condition.

Infectious Diseases

Many diseases can lead to increased sleep or lethargy in your dog. These include rabies, distemper, parvovirus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Typically, infectious diseases come with other symptoms, which will help your veterinarian make a diagnosis.

What to do if your Dog is Always Sleeping

Should you notice that your dog is sleeping more than he usually does or that is typical for his age and activity level you will want to contact your veterinarian to schedule an examination. Your veterinarian will examine your dog in order to determine if a health condition is causing him to sleep excessively.

You will be asked about any other changes or symptoms that you have noticed in your dog and depending on what is observed, additional testing may be ordered. Blood testing will help determine if your dog has high levels of glucose and liver enzymes in his blood, which can point to diabetes. A urinalysis can show glucose and ketones being present in the urine, which can also be indicative of diabetes. Should the level of thyroid hormone in the blood of your dog be low, it can suggest hypothyroidism. A TSH stimulation test can be used to confirm the diagnosis. Blood tests can also help in the diagnosis of infectious disease in your dog. Should all physical health problems be ruled out, you veterinarian will consider lifestyle factors and any recent changes in your dog’s situation when considering if depression or boredom are leading to your dog sleeping more.

Prevention of Always Sleeping

You can prevent excessive sleep due to boredom by offering your dog toys to play with and things to do; for example, take him on several walks a day to ensure he gets the exercise and stimulation he desires.

A well-rounded, healthy diet is important for your dog’s health and you will want to do your best to help him maintain an appropriate weight. It is important to take your dog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups so that any health concerns can be noticed and addressed before they worsen.

Cost of Always Sleeping

Treatment for this symptom can vary greatly in cost. For example, should your dog be diagnosed with diabetes, treatment of the condition can be around $3,000, depending on the cost of living in the area where you reside. In the case of hypothyroidism, treatment can average around $2,000. Should your veterinarian determine that there is no physical cause for your dog’s excessive sleeping, making simple lifestyle changes will involve minimal cost.