How Long Do Dogs Sleep on Average?

How long do dogs sleep, on average?

How long do you think dogs sleep on average? (Answer: 12-14 hours, more for puppies.)

As I am writing these words, my somewhat spoiled chihuahua, Angel, is lying at my feet snoozing away. In a bit, she will wake up, eat, poop and play a little — and it will be nap time again. I often remind her that she lives the life of a queen.

How long do dogs sleep on average? That depends on a number of things. Unlike people, who are usually awake all day, then sleep seven or eight hours at night, dogs don’t have a regular sleep regimen. They catch several short naps during the day.

Dog Naps

Daytime napping does not seem to interfere in the least with Angel’s nighttime sleeping. She sleeps throughout the night most of the time.

Time spent napping depends on the dog’s age and personality. Different breeds also seem to have different sleep requirements. Large breeds, such as mastiffs and Saint Bernards, generally spend a lot of time sleeping — up to 18 hours a day.

True, dogs do sleep more than humans, but they don’t sleep as soundly as we do. When they sleep and how much they sleep depends on the level of activity in their lives. A pampered house pet is likely to sleep more than working dogs — for example, search and rescue dogs.

Canines are blessed with the ability to adjust their sleeping patterns so they can be alert whenever something is going on, and asleep the rest of the time.

Check out this quick video of a dog “sleep talking”:

Here’s how much average dogs sleep:

  • Around 50% of the day sleeping;
  • 30% of the day resting (mostly awake but generally inactive);
  • And they are active only 20% of the day.

That’s just a general estimate, of course. Counting all those naps, you’ll find that your adult dog likely sleeps 12 to 14 hours a day. Puppies might get 18 hours a day of sleep. However, if your pet sleeps more or less than the average, that is not necessarily cause for alarm. Every pet is different.

Watch for Sleep-Pattern Changes

Getting an idea of how much sleep is a normal amount for your pet will allow you to better notice any changes in his sleep patterns.

Changes in sleeping habits may be caused by a change in diet. A low-quality diet can slow a dog down because the food does not provide him with the nutrients he needs for energy. Some pet foods contain ingredients that are hard to digest, forcing your pet to spend more energy digesting the food and less energy playing fetch with you.

Changes in life cycle can also affect a dog’s sleeping habits. Senior dogs do tend to sleep more, getting up and moving around more at night and sleeping a longer time during the day. But if they are requiring a great deal more sleep than usual, the sleepiness could be caused by poor health — a heart condition or an underactive thyroid gland, for example. If you have concerns, let your veterinarian examine your pet.

As for puppies, well, they are babies — they are going to sleep a lot (again, an average of around 18 hours per day). But if you are worried that your pup is sleeping too much, have him checked by a veterinarian, too, to rule out any health problems, such as a simple infection.

Sure enough, Angel has awakened. She is now ready to go outside and chase a few lizards. Next to napping, that is her favorite pastime.

Photo: VintageAffair/Flickr

book-cover-smallest1How long does your dog sleep? Tell us about your dog’s unique personality in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love Pets Adviser’s email newsletter. It’s free to sign up, and you’ll be among the first to get alerts about major pet food recalls. New subscribers also get instant access to our 40-page ebook, which has “secrets every cat and dog lover should know.” Learn more here.

From Around the Web

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikole.fairview Nikole Fairview

    Aww! This article was just so cute. I love it when my dogs talk in their sleep. It’s just adorable. I wonder what they’re dreaming about, running through a field, lol, chasing someone down the street, playing? I loved hearing about your little pup Angel. I have a little dog too and they’re just so cute when they’re lazy. I figured that they had to sleep longer than us for their own health, but I know some days, she just goes a little extra. Like on days when we can have more cuddle time because I’m off work, those are the best sometimes because she just stretches and sleeps and wakes up for water and food and stuff when I do, but that’s it.

  • MellyC

    I am new to the dog owning world. I just adopted a 3 year old. He’s perfectly trained and a great dog. The reason I wanted an older dog is because I work full time and I didn’t have time for a puppy. So here’s the thing. My boyfriend and I share our dog, we do not live together. We both work full time and before we got him we agreed that, when it was our turn with him, we would come home on our lunch breaks and walk him. There was, however, a couple of times that we were not able to come home, and our dog did just fine. So today, my coworkers wanted to go to lunch, to which I said I could not because I needed to go walk my dog. ***(I don’ have a yard for him to hang out in, however, he gets walked every morning and always has an evening activity, be it a run, a hike or a trip to the dog park). They ALWAYS give me grief about doing taking my lunch to walk him and they each seem to think what my boyfriend and I are doing is ridiculous. I get that they have a point, but I feel so guilty and I don’t like that he’s home all day alone and bored. They all have dogs and said they leave their dogs daily and they are fine. I am conflicted. Any advice? Is it ok, or normal to leave pets home alone during your work day?

    • Jamie

      When I first got my puppy I always came home for lunch to let her out but weened her off to a walk before work, after work, and before bed. When I say walk it could mean walk, run, or park time off the leash. She is perfectly happy with this routine and I think it is pretty common. If you do run into issues with your dog being destructive while you are gone or having accidents that could mean he either has anxiety of being left alone or is not getting enough exercise. In that case more time spent with him (like during lunch) is not a bad idea. If he is having accidents you may need to work with him to get him on a slightly different schedule, or you might be stuck with the lunch time routine.

      If he behaves all day long in your absence do not feel guilty about being away for 8 hours. They will miss you, but always be happy to have you come home for play time.

    • DD

      Ridiculous? I don’t think so. I would call that responsible. Many people want a dog. The kids Promise to clean up, walk, feed, give fresh water. After they get over the new puppy, they leave in back yard alone, let dog bowl go green, let it walk around in its own waste, and rarely walk it. Its irresponsible, & cruel. Dogs are pack animals, they cry, they smile, they get lonely, they feel pain, they get happy, they get sad, they grieve. I hope your friends don’t have a canine until their able to be in a situation, to at least walk it, and spend time with it, after work. I’ve videotaped a canine, left alone. Crying, howling…after 15 minutes I could watch no.more. it gave me insight into how she feels. When I leave, I always leave the radio on. Its nice to see someone care enough to even ask this ?. This canine was already tossed away, by most likely the scenario above. I heard of a canine left in a cage, it chewed its own paw down…..neglect is abuse.

  • gsdlover

    you write articles for readers digest and webvet but you cant do basic math??

    50% sleeping is 12 hours,

    30% napping is 7.2 hours,

    and 20% active is 4.8 hours.

    above you stated, “Counting all those naps, you’ll find that your adult dog likely sleeps 12 to 14 hours a day. Puppies might get 18 hours a day.”
    …when really according to the percentages you gave on daily sleep, (counting all those naps) youll find that your adult dog likely sleeps 19.2 hours(50% + 30%)…… and is awake for only 4.8 hours of the day.
    I don’t know how active you or your husband are, but if your dog is lying down/sleeping for nearly 20 hours a day, I think you need to get up and start giving your dog the exercise he needs.
    and I find it unbelievable you didn’t check your math(or anyone proof reading this) before posting this article, people go out looking for information on their pet, and you give false and INCORRECT information. its also pretty appalling that a woman of your age couldn’t figure that 80% of the day(nap and sleep percentage) is NOT 12-14 hours…

    • http://www.petsadviser.com/ David Deleon Baker

      Thanks for pointing out the confusing wording. We have updated the wording to make it clear that it’s roughly 50% sleeping, 30% resting (mostly awake but inactive), and 20% active. Again, that’s around 12-14 hours of sleep for most dogs, and up to 18 hours or so for puppies.

  • Mythii

    Hey I just two dobe puppies of 3 months old. When they came home, They were playing and sleep was not that much. But during the night they sleep without much disturbance. Today I see they have been sleeping practically for 8 to 9 hours without releiving themselves. Is it normal and anything weird

    • Matthew

      My dog sleeps up to 12 hours without waking for a potty break. But I make sure to take full long walks with her so she can relieve herself as well as get rid of the rest in that bladder for marking. Alot of people take their dog out see it use the bathroom quickly and assume all is well then get upset when the pet has an accident later. They actually pinch it off early most of the time and save more for marking. My dog pees 3 to 5 times per walk we typically walk at least a mile so she gets good exercise each day. What your seeing is perfectly normal since they are using so much energy playing they are getting longer better rest.