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.
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:
- 50% of the day sleeping;
- 30% of the day napping;
- And they are active only 20% of the day.
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. 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.