Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
Health Learn About Dogs Raising a Dog

Dog Sleep

Rachel Poli Author
Aug 11 ·

How much do dogs sleep? Believe it or not, knowing the answer to this question is important to know. Knowing how much your dog sleeps (or should sleep) can reveal a lot about your pooch and help you care for them properly. For example, their sleeping amount, position, and the way they sleep are all important to their health. So, let’s talking about dog sleep and everything you need to know about it.

dog sleep

How many hours a day do dogs sleep?

You may be wondering, how many hours do dogs sleep? This is a question we may ask ourselves if we notice our dog sleeping throughout the day, or maybe they have bouts of energy most of the day and seem to nap barely. The truth is, the amount a dog sleep will vary based on their age, breed, and activity levels.

How many hours do dogs sleep?

So, how long do dogs sleep? Dogs sleep a lot more than humans do. The average sleep a dog needs is about 12 to 14 hours per day. As humans, we’re on a 24-hour cycle, getting one long sleep (typically seven to eight hours) at night and remaining away during the day. Dogs will sleep throughout the night, but they require more than seven to eight hours total.

This amount of sleep is the reason why dogs sleep on and off throughout the day. After sleeping eight hours with you, they still need about another four to six hours. So, your pooch will take naps throughout the day, wake up to play for a little bit, go the bathroom, or eat, before taking another nap and repeat.

Of course, the amount of sleep does vary. For example, bigger dog breeds will require more sleep than medium-sized dogs or small breeds. 

dog sleep

How much sleep do dogs need if they’re a puppy?

No matter the size of the breed, puppies, require more sleep than the average adult dog. Until your puppy is about 12 weeks old, expect them to sleep about 18 to twenty hours per day. After that, they’ll wake up every once in a while to have a burst of energy for about an hour. Then they’ll wear themselves out and drop for another nap again.

Why do dogs sleep so much?

Dogs need sleep to remain healthy, but why do they need more sleep than we do? It’s believed that they need more time to recharge due to their instincts. For example, dogs are typically on alert. For watchdogs and guard dogs, they’re always keeping an eye on their humans or keeping an ear out for danger. In addition, working dogs, herding dogs, or pups with high energy are always working, too. As a result, they use a lot of physical and mental stimulation when they’re awake.

So, they need naps throughout the day to recharge their minds. In a way, a dog sleeping is like their relaxation time. Even if your dog is awake and lying down, all its senses are still working. In fact, they wake up every couple of hours or so to check on their surroundings and make sure they didn’t miss anything while sleeping.

Dogs enter REM sleep much faster than humans do. This is why they’re able to fall asleep so quickly and wake up feeling refreshed and alert after just an hour or two.

dog sleep

Dog sleeping positions and what they mean

Next, let’s talk about your dog’s sleeping positions and what they mean. If you notice your pooch sleeping abnormally (for them), then it might be time to call the veterinarian

Dog Sleep – Why do does sleep on their backs?

If your pup is sleeping on its back, then it’s a sign they’re trying to cool off. There is less fur on their belly, so it allows the cool air to drift over their body more easily. You’ll most likely see your pup sleeping in this position during the warmer months. In addition, belly-up is also showing a vulnerable side. So, if your doggo is sleeping belly-up, then that means they’re very comfortable in their environment and the people around them.

Why do dogs sleep at your feet?

Dogs will lay at your feet if they feel the need to protect you or guard you. In addition, it could also be a sign that your pooch needs reassurance. For example, if they are prone to separation anxiety, they may lie at your feet to know that you are close and nearby.

Why do dogs sleep with their bum facing you?

Don’t be offended if your dog sleeps with its bum facing you. This is actually a sign of trust and friendliness. It shows that your dog is comfortable turning its back on you. Since they can’t see you, this is a sign of trust and comfort.

dog sleep

Other dog sleeping positions

Other positions may include them snuggling up close to you or another pet in the house. This shows the dog loves you and wants to get closer to you. You might also see your doggo sleeping on their tummy. This allows them to pop up quickly. Even though they’re taking a nap, they’re still somewhat alert and want to be able to get up quickly in case of playtime. You’ll often sleep high-energy dogs sleeping this way.

Curling up in a ball is another sleep position from dogs, and it’s also one of the more common ones. It protects all their vital organs and conserves warmth. So, if you see your dog sleeping like this, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t trust their surroundings. It could simply be because of the cooler months, or they’re more comfortable in that position.

Finally, your doggo may sleep on their side. This is another sign that they’re comfortable where they are because it leaves their vital organs exposed. However, it also allows them to move freely and switching positions in their sleep if they want.

Dog Sleep – Why do they twitch in their sleep?

Also, why do dogs bark in their sleep? Believe it or not, there’s nothing to worry about if you’re dog is twitching or barking in their sleep. It simply means they’re dreaming and in a deep REM state. They are getting a restful sleep when this happens, so there’s no need to wake them or be concerned.

However, if you notice your dog is only twitching slightly, it could be because they’re cold and their body is trying to warm them up. If that’s the case, you can always drape a blanket over them or move the pup to a warmer spot.

Can dogs have sleep apnea?

Like humans, dogs can have sleep apnea. While rare, it can happen to any dog, especially if they are overweight or have allergies. Anything that obstructs their ability to breathe, your dog may get sleep apnea. It can also occur in dogs with short snouts or folds on their faces, such as the English Bulldog, Pug, or Boxer.

So, how can you tell if your dog has sleep apnea? Loud, chronic snoring is one symptom. Other symptoms may include:

  • Choking or gasping while sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness
  • Excessive sleeping during the day

To be on the safe side, you can reach out to your veterinarian and discuss how to help your dog. For example, you can use humidifiers or help your dog lose weight.

Can dogs sleep with their eyes open?

You may sometimes notice that it appears your dog is sleeping with its eyes open or partially open. This is completely normal. It’s an instinct for your dog to sleep with their eyes open a bit so that they can remain alert, even while sleeping. Also, it shows potential predators that they’re watching, even though they’re not awake.

Is there anything else to know about dog sleep?

Overall, keep an eye on your dog’s sleep patterns from the moment you bring them home as a puppy (or as an adult). This way, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, you can speak to your vet and get your dog help if they need it.

Similar reading: learn more about your dog’s health

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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