Healthy Dog 

How much do dogs sleep?

If you’re a dog parent, you know they love to sleep. You might be curious why they sleep so much, and are they really dreaming when you see their paws twitch in their sleep? Dogs seem to sleep on just about any surface, but are there dog beds that are better than others?

Keep reading to discover the answers to these questions and more.

How much do dogs sleep?

On average, dogs spend 12 to 14 hours per day sleeping. Your dog’s particular sleep needs may vary around that range, depending on his age, size, breed, activity level, and overall health:

  • Larger breeds tend to sleep more than smaller breeds.

  • Working dogs with activity-filled days sleep less, while those who lead sedentary lives will sleep more.

  • Puppies can spend up to 20 hours sleeping a day. Growing and learning how to be a dog takes a lot of energy!

  • As dogs age into their senior years, they spend more time sleeping since they tire more easily.

Wild dogs and wolves may sleep even more than domesticated dogs. They have to hunt for their food, which expends more energy. When food is scarce, they need to conserve their energy. An expedient way to do that is by sleeping.

Do dogs experience the same sleep cycles as humans?

Like humans and other mammals, dogs progress through different stages of sleep. Also like us, dogs experience REM sleep.

The main difference between dog sleep and human sleep is how much time they spend in the different stages, as well as a dog’s tendency to sleep in bursts throughout the day. Dogs tend to experience sleep-wake cycles of 16 minutes asleep, 5 minutes awake – quite the contrast with our typical sleep-wake cycle of 7 to 9 hours asleep, 15 to 17 hours awake.

When dogs fall asleep, they enter deep sleep. Their breathing and heart rate slow while their blood pressure drops. About 10 minutes in, they enter REM sleep and dream like humans. You can often identify this stage because their eyes roll under their eyelids, and they may start twitching in their sleep as they dream of chasing after squirrels.

Since dogs are always on the alert to protect their pack from intruders, they’re able to wake more easily. It’s common for them to wake up before completing a full sleep-wake cycle, from deep to REM sleep. As a result, scientists estimate they need to sleep more often overall in order to get their sufficient amount of REM.

How can I help my dog get better sleep?

Follow these tips to give your pup more restful shuteye.

  1. Give your dog plenty of exercise and playtime during the day to stimulate his mind and tire him out by bedtime.

  2. Feed your dog well. Some pet foods contain fewer nutrients than others, which can lower your dog’s energy during the day.

  3. Don’t miss your vet check-ups. These regular appointments are a good way to identify any health conditions early on.

  4. Give your dog a comfortable place to sleep.

If you choose to share your bed with your dog, like nearly half of dog owners do, make sure you get a mattress that’s big enough for everyone to fit, and offers excellent motion isolation so you’re not woken up by them moving around. Memory foam and latex mattresses are good options for pet owners.

If you prefer your dog sleeps in a kennel or dog bed, make it cozy like a den would be in the wild. Give them a blanket or even a dirty old t-shirt that smells like you to provide comfort. There are various dog beds available to suit your dog’s favorite sleep positions – big ones made for stretching out vs. small nesting beds for those who like to curl up.

Additional Tuck Resources

 

Tuck Sleep is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on CNN, Reader's Digest, The Washington Post, and hundreds of other sites across the web.

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