There are lots of behaviors that dogs are naturally born with. But it is good to know if it's weird to see them sleeping too much. If you are looking for an answer to why your dog sleeps so much, then you've come to the right place! This piece will explain the number of hours (healthy number) your dog should sleep for, the differences in the sleeping patterns in relation to the ages and breeds of dogs if sleeping excessively can be a problem, the reason it's a problem, and the recommended solutions to them.
Normal/healthy number of hours a dog should sleep for
Sleep helps the body with the restoration of tissue and strengthening of the immune system in human beings. Sleep is healthy, and as it is healthy to humans, so it is to dogs. For dogs, the average normal/ healthy number of hours they should sleep for ranges from 12 to 14 hours per day. This range is the combination of both daytime sleep and overnight sleep. Puppies until around 12 weeks of age sleep for longer periods around 18-20 hours a day.
Sleeping patterns differ for different breeds and different ages
Dogs have different sleeping patterns which comparatively seem to be close to that of humans. However, they are different in a specific way. A dog's sleeping patterns are characterized by a 10-minute transition from the slow-wave into rapid eye movement (REM). In REM, a dog's eyes roll under the closed lids which may be accompanied by reactions to dreams. Humans are studied to spend about 25% of their sleep in REM while dogs spend about 10% of their snoozing time in REM.
Dog's sleeping patterns differ from one breed to another. Working dogs are bred primarily to carry out some responsibilities such as protecting properties and doing water rescues. This breed will stay awake to ensure that the tasks are properly executed. Whereas, those that are not bred for such tasks will lie down all day long sleeping. One of the attributes of dogs is that they are resilient—they can adjust their schedules. There are dogs that due to their sleeping habit are well-known to be lazy– " Lazy dogs". Some of these breeds include Bullmastiff, Saith Bernard, Greyhound, Newfoundland, Bassett Hound, and Chow. These breeds can sleep for 18 hours a day.
The sleeping patterns of dogs also differ for a different age. Nicole LaRocco-Skeehan, CPDT-KA, Philadelphia-area trainer said that not all dogs have the same pattern, it differs depending on their age, their health, and who they are. If your dog is still a puppy, the number may be different. The older your dogs become, the more they sleep since their minds and bodies get tired quicker.
When does sleeping too much become a problem?
If your dog is sleeping too much, there are times that this may be a condition you have to worry about. The following are some of the things to observe to know if sleeping too much has transcended into a problem.
Sudden changes in sleep schedule
It becomes a problem when you notice changes in the patterns of how your dog sleeps. For instance, if it's usual for your dog to sleep for 2-3 hours early in the morning and then stay awake for the rest of the day, but suddenly they change it to 5-6 hours, you should know that something is wrong— you may need a veterinarian's assistance.
Slow to wake up
Another problem indicator is when you notice that your dog is not very responsive to being awakened. Healthy dogs are not slow to wake up but quick to rise, stretch, and ready to do what they enjoy.
Here you may notice that your dog will begin to exhibit some unusual behaviors, such as getting too tired to complete what they had started or getting tired much more quickly unusually under normal conditions and being intolerant towards exercise (they may stop to rest in unusual places and also pant heavily from time to time).
Why is it a problem?
Some conditions show that your dogs’ sleeping too much is a problem. Sleeping too much can signal the following conditions:
- Kidney disease
- Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)
- Heart disease
There are two basic solutions when sleeping too much becomes a problem for your dog. The first key solution is to see a vet. It is the specialty of veterinarians to know the challenge your dog may be facing and how to deal with it. The other solution is to increase your dog's exercise time. Here, you can try to offer plenty of opportunities for physical activity and exercise.