By Emily Gantt
Published: 03/04/2022, edited: 03/04/2022
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Did you know most dogs spend roughly half their lives in dreamland? And while our fur-babies look so angelic when they snooze, we might become worried if we think they're dozing too often. How much should dogs sleep, anyway? And how do you know if your dog is sleeping too much? We’ll cover the answers to these questions, as well as some tips for helping a restless dog get some shut-eye.
How long should dogs sleep every day?
The amount of time a dog should sleep every day depends on their age, personality, breed, and lifestyle. The sleep schedule for a young dog will look very different from that of a senior. Likewise, active and sedentary dogs will have very different sleep requirements.
Growing is a lot of work, which is why some puppies need as much as 18 hours of sleep a day! Puppies, especially young ones, tend to take several daytime naps, so they often wake up multiple times during the night and are raring to go at daybreak.
Adult dogs sleep anywhere between 8 and 14 hours a day, but most average about 10 hours between nighttime and daytime naps. Miniature and giant breeds sleep more than medium breeds since they exert more energy and wear out more quickly.
That’s not to say medium-sized breeds can’t sleep a lot too. Pugs and Bassets, for instance, are notorious for finding a comfy place to rest anytime they get the chance. Dogs who participate in sports tend to sleep a lot after training or competing, as do active dogs after an eventful playdate.
As dogs reach their senior years, they spend more time snoozing, averaging between 14 and 20 hours a day in bed. This change in sleeping habits may come on gradually, and their parents may not even realize their pet is sleeping more than they used to until their senior is spending most of their time in bed.
How to tell if your dog is sleeping too much
A few extra hours of snoozing a couple of times a week is usually nothing to be concerned about. However, if your dog regularly sleeps for long periods and displays any of the signs below, you should talk to your vet.
Here are some signs your dog’s sleeping pattern may indicate a health problem:
- Trouble stirring
- Behavioral changes
- Skipping meals or potty breaks
- Drinking more or less than usual
- Sudden loss of interest in things they once enjoyed
- Falling asleep abruptly while engaged in an activity
- Abnormal breathing while sleeping (particularly if they stop breathing for short periods)
How to calm a restless dog
Some dogs have the opposite problem when it comes to bedtime — they just won't fall asleep. Restlessness in dogs can happen for all sorts of reasons, from health issues to excess energy.
Common causes of restlessness in dogs
Here are some common reasons why your woofer might find it hard to settle down when bedtime rolls around.
They need to go out. Sometimes, nighttime restlessness in dogs is as simple as needing to use the bathroom before bed.
Separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety can have difficulty falling asleep when away from their parents. These dogs may whine, pace, and become destructive while their guardians sleep, especially if they're in a different room.
Bumps in the night. Overly vigilant dogs may have a harder time falling and staying asleep, particularly if they live in a noisy area. Wind, sirens, and the sound of cars may cause dogs to wake frequently and have trouble getting to sleep in the first place.
Thunderstorms. Dogs with thunder phobia often become restless and stay awake shaking and hiding on stormy nights.
Understimulation. High-energy dogs might find it hard to wind down at night if they don't get enough exercise and mental stimulation during the day.
Age-related cognitive changes. Cognitive changes like canine dementia can cause dogs to become confused and restless at night.
Discomfort. Temperature drops at night can exacerbate joint conditions like arthritis, causing dogs to lose sleep. What's more, arthritic dogs might be reluctant to rest since prolonged periods in one position can increase joint inflammation. Skin conditions, especially those that cause intense itching, can make it difficult for dogs to sleep soundly.
Estrus. Females in heat may become restless and even try to escape at night. Likewise, intact dogs who detect a female in heat may have trouble sleeping.
How to help your restless dog sleep
Now that we've covered some reasons your dog might have trouble falling asleep, let's explore ways you can make sleep come easier for your restless pup.
CBD dog treats may help your dog relax at bedtime. CBD products also have the added benefit of reducing pain and inflammation, so this might be a good choice for dogs who have arthritis flare-ups at night.
Take your pup out to potty right before bedtime to prevent nighttime accidents and avoid wake-up calls in the middle of the night.
Try massaging your dog to sleep. Like humans, most dogs find massages relaxing, and a little rub-down might be all your pet needs to get some shut-eye.
If you think pain or discomfort is interfering with your dog's sleep schedule, take them to the vet for a check-up. Ask your vet about pain relievers for your pup to help them feel more comfortable at bedtime.
Worried your pooch is sleeping too much? Chat with a vet professional now to access advice about your dog’s sleeping habits.