We’ve always heard how important sleep is to health. Man’s best friends also require sleep as much as any man would, but the similarities end there. Because there are so many different breeds of dogs today, almost each and every single dog, let alone breed, seems to have a different sleeping pattern. This is a completely normal thing, and there is no reason to be concerned. The only concerns should be when your dog doesn’t get enough sleep for environmental conditions, in which case it might deteriorate in health, just like any other animal not sleeping enough.
The average hours of sleep required by an adult dog are between 12 to 14 hours in a day. The usual is around 7 to 8 hours at night, which they follow from their owners’ sleep patterns, so they have around 5 or 6 hours of napping during the daytime. This can be divided into several small naps with many pauses or a few longer naps. For some dogs, we might be talking a little more or less than this range, but as long as they do not look or feel sleep deprived, it is not of any concern.
Dogs are of many different types. There are the those that stay at home, ones we do not give work to and simply let live, strays on the street and the very hard-working dogs working day and night for their owners. The very hard-working dogs, like those that work for the police or the armed forces, are used to training with people and working out in during the day. Because they are skipping daytime naps, they tend to sleep less than the average dog. Other working dogs like ones that work in farms have quite the opposite pattern where they mostly sleep during the day energizing themselves to be able to work at night. Since they are mostly on watch duty, this is normal for them.
Younger dogs and puppies require more sleep than an average adult dog because they need to gain lots of energy. These younger ones will typically be spending more than 14 hours a day sleeping, and it can even go up to 18 hours. This might seem like a lot of sleep, but in reality, it is normal for human babies to sleep a comparable amount of time.
As dogs age, they do not move around as much and have less energy than before. This means they tend to take every chance they get to take naps during the day. They too will be spending more time sleeping than an adult dog, since they get tired much more easily than they used to. Again, this is similar to how humans’ sleeping patterns change with age.
Breeds and Sizes
Sleep patterns can change and differ a lot depending on the kind of dog it is, and how and for what purpose they were bred. Larger breeds, like the German shepherd and Labrador retrievers, tend to sleep less since they are mostly bred for work. But other large ones like Saint Bernards, Mastiffs and Newfoundlands sleep a lot more and are even called mat dogs for their excessive sleeping. Bulldogs can fall asleep pretty much anywhere at any time, while Pekingese dogs look for any chance they can to nap. Large Dogs usually require more sleep on average to help energize their whole body. On the other hand, smaller dogs can pass with lesser sleep without developing complications.
If your dog is spending a lot more time sleeping during the day than at night, and they are not working dogs, then it is of concern because the dog might have narcolepsy which can cause muscle paralysis. If they have snoring habits than that is a symptom of sleep apnea, which could eventually lead to other diseases like shortness of breath and excessive tiredness. And although insomnia is very rare when it comes to dogs, it is still a disease that can eventually cause them to develop arthritis, kidney disorders, thyroid issues and allergies. If you suspect your dog might be showing any of these symptoms, speak to your vet.
If your pet does not fall into any of these categories, or has a different sleep pattern, there is no reason to be alarmed. All dogs are different and unique just like us humans, so their sleep patterns can differ. If you wish to train your dog’s sleeping habits to fit the ranges here be ready to go through a lot of trial and error. It’s never good to force them before they are ready because it might end up affecting their health given that sleep is such an important part of their lives, as much as it is in ours.
Guest author Brian Morgan is an editor for DogBedZone, a website dedicated to dog lovers publishing helpful tips, product reviews, and more. He is kept busy with his two dogs a 11-year-old Pomeranian and 7-year-old Husky.