Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
Health Learn About Dogs

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

Sep 2 ·

Why do dogs sleep so much? It’s a question you might find yourself asking if you’re a first-time dog owner. Dogs are full of boundless energy, but only during their waking hours! Puppies sleep even more than adults, so you might be surprised at just how much your dog wants to snooze when you first get them.

If you have a high-energy pup, you might be grateful for the break!

How Often Do Dogs Sleep?

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

Most dogs sleep between 8 to 13.5 hours a day, with around 10 being the average, which is slightly more than a human. However, this is for an adult dog. Seniors and puppies sleep a lot more, and puppies can sleep as much as 20 hours a day when you first bring them home. 

This varies from dog to dog, so don’t be surprised if it’s a little more, especially if that’s not out of character for your dog. 

So, Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

The main reason dogs sleep so much is just that they don’t have the busy schedule of a human. They can sleep when their bodies tell them that they need to. They’ll sleep through the night, with any luck, and take naps during the day too. They sleep so much because they can!

My Dog Sleeps More Than Average

If your dog sleeps more than average, consider some factors. Large breeds, for example, sleep more than small breeds, and the age of your dog will factor in too. Puppies and senior dogs are going to snooze a lot more than your average middle-aged adult dog.

However, if your dog is suddenly sleeping a lot more than usual and seems lethargic, there could be other reasons for it. If it’s in combination with any of the following symptoms, see a veterinarian:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Clear pain or discomfort
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Aggression or other behavioral changes

There could be multiple reasons for this sudden sleeping a lot, but the most common include the following.

Boredom is a factor. If you have a dog who’s just not getting the stimulation they need, they could resort to sleeping to pass the time. Dogs don’t just need physical activity, but they need something to do in the house too. Puzzles, KONGs, snuffle mats, and other enrichment activities will really help them.

It could also be a disease, particularly if there are other signs. Or they could be getting older if the change has been more gradual!

If you’re concerned about your dog’s excessive sleeping despite knowing that dogs sleep more than humans, or because it seems sudden, the only thing you can really do is contact your veterinarian. They’ll be able to examine your dog and see if something else is going on.

My Dog Isn’t Sleeping Enough

Sometimes, you might have the opposite problem. Your dog isn’t sleeping enough.

While this could be a sign of pain or disease in an older dog, this is very common in puppies — particularly the high-energy kind. Puppies will often get overstimulated and refuse to settle because there’s so much going on that they want to be part of. You might read that puppies should get up to 20 hours of sleep a day and while this is true, your puppy might be getting far less.

You can solve this problem by using the technique of enforced naps. Enforced naps mean placing them in a crate or quiet area until they settle and have a nap. Covering the crate can also help with this. 

If your puppy won’t settle, it’s fine to let them cry it out for five or ten minutes. Any more and your puppy might be getting distressed and associate the crate with negativity. If you’re struggling with this, try relaxing puppy music and building up the amount of time the puppy spends in the crate alone. Start with ten seconds at a time and go from there.

Can You Change A Dog’s Sleeping Pattern?

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

The last thing people often wonder in relation to a dog’s sleeping pattern is if it can be changed. Their dog might rise too early for them, for example.

If you can, it’s best to adapt to your dog’s pattern. If you can’t, cover their crate so they can’t see when it gets light and take them for a late-night potty break so they don’t wake as early. You could also give them a snack at night to prevent them from getting too hungry.

So, why do dogs sleep so much? Essentially, because they can! You might think your puppy sleeping for 18 hours a day seems excessive, but this is what they need. Let your dog sleep as much as they want to, and if you think it seems like too much, contact a vet rather than interrupting that sleep. 

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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