Dogs Do Sleep a lot – Not to Worry
25 September, 2012

My friend, Daphne, has a dog named Lucky and she was worried that Lucy was sleeping too much.  She was home sick one day and was amazed at how much Lucky slept.  I know that cats sleep a lot, but I wanted to do some research to see if dogs are the same.

As it turns out, adult dogs can sleep as much as twelve hours a day.  The amount does vary with the breed of the dog; the larger breeds tend to need more sleep than other breeds. Growing pups also need more nap time, and over the course of a day and night, they’ll snooze for up to sixteen hours. Although dogs sleep more than we do, they also wake up more frequently so they tend not to get a long period of unbroken sleep.

Puppies are expected to sleep a lot

You can expect your baby puppy to sleep a lot, but there are some pups that seem to sleep way more than they should. These pups might be sick. If you’re concerned about how much your pup is sleeping, it would be a good idea to have him checked out by your vet. He or she may have a simple infection or he may have a congenital defect that was not detected at birth.  If so, your vet can give you some recommendations.


On the other hand, some pups just will not go to sleep at bedtime! These pups need to learn what bedtime is and dog owners need to create some rules! It’s a good idea to teach them to go to bed in a warm cozy crate, so when they go into the crate, they know it’s sleep time. If they’re noisy, don’t pat or talk to them as that only gives them attention when they do the wrong thing. If they’re particularly boisterous, you might need to put their crate in another part of your house.

Older dogs sleep more too

As they age, dogs can naturally sleep more, but again, if they’re sleeping excessively, it can be an indication that they have a health problem. These dogs could have an underactive thyroid which can slow down their metabolism. They will usually gain weight and will act more sluggish. A simple blood test will determine if your dog has a thyroid problem and there are medications to control his or her thyroid.

Another cause of excessive sleepiness in an elderly dog is heart disease. If his heart isn’t pumping blood around his body efficiently, he’ll tire very quickly and you’ll notice he’s not as active as usual. Again, have your vet examine him; the appropriate medication will make a big difference to his well being.

When older dogs don’t settle at night, it can be a nightmare for their owners. Some elderly dogs pace the floor, and are anxious and just can’t get comfortable. It can be very hard to get up to go to work the next day, if your old dog has kept you awake all night!  Again, if this happens, a trip to the vet is recommended.

Tips to sleep through the Night

There are steps you can take to help dogs of any age have a restful night so you’re both recharged and ready for the next day. Crate training is a great idea to teach your dog that when he’s in his crate, it is bed time. A good walk in the afternoon can help him expend any excess energy and your pup will sleep better in a quiet environment without distractions.  Or put a Kong or toy in his bed and let him chew on that while you try to get some good rest.

I hope these tips help and your dog sleeps just the right amount of time!

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