BrilliantK9 Discusses: How Much Sleep Does My Dog Need? icon

How Much Sleep Does My Dog Need?

Have you ever been envious of your dog’s life? I mean, they sleep all night, then nap all day in the sun or doze on the couch. When they wake up, they are full of energy and ready for a good game of fetch or a nice walk outdoors. Dogs obviously have different sleep needs than humans do, and so it can make it difficult for dog parents to know if their furry family members are getting enough sleep, or sleeping too much.

There’s not a simple answer to the question about how much sleep a dog needs each day. Just like humans, dogs can need more or less sleep depending on their health, lifestyle, age, and activity level. Taking the time to learn a bit more about how a dog sleeps can make it easier to understand your pup’s sleep patterns. Then you can more easily notice any changes or know when to be concerned.

How Many Hours of Sleep Does a Dog Need?

Dogs need quite a bit of sleep, even more than humans. The tricky part to determining how much total sleep a dog needs varies based on different factors. Age is probably the most important factor and it has the biggest impact on the dog’s sleep schedule.

  • Puppy Sleep Needs. There isn’t a lot of research on the topic, but some studies have indicated that puppies need about 11 hours of sleep a day. Puppies may sleep fewer hours at night than an adult dog, but they usually sleep more hours during the day. Both day and night sleeping combined is more sleep overall. Most puppies sleep well in a crate or kennel.
  • Adult Dog Sleep Needs. Adult dogs typically need between eight and 13.5 hours of sleep each day. On average, adult dogs sleep just a little less than 11 hours. An adult human needs seven to eight hours of sleep at night for comparison. Adult dogs will usually sleep longer at night than a puppy will, depending on their owner’s schedule and their surroundings. Daytime naps are still necessary for adult dogs, and they might sleep for about 1/3 of the day. By the time a pup reaches one year, they usually sleep in a dog bed.
  • Senior Dog Sleep Needs. Senior and middle-aged dogs usually wake up less frequently at night and they may sleep later in the mornings. They will also sleep a lot more throughout the day and take more frequent naps.


How to Know If Your Dog Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep

Dogs are very adaptable and can adapt to almost any situation. One study of dogs in a shelter found that the dogs slept less during the daytime because of the hustle bustle of their environment. But they slept deeper at night and didn’t wake up as often. These shelter dogs slept 11 hours on average each day, but they slept longer at night. 11 hours is about the same amount as other adult dogs.

However, even though the dogs adjusted their sleep to the busy environment, it did come with a cost. The study found that dogs who slept more during daytime hours were more relaxed and seemed happier. This would indicate that it is worth it to investigate if your dog isn’t sleeping well.

There isn’t a lot of research on sleep deprivation in dogs. However, there is some evidence to suggest that dogs who don’t get enough sleep may exhibit some of the same symptoms as humans who don’t get enough sleep. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Irritability
  • Mood disturbances
  • More intense responses to stressful stimuli
  • Poor memory

Sleep seems to have a huge impact on how well a dog can learn. One study found that dogs who slept better after learning new information performed better when tested a week later. Dogs who did not sleep well, did not test well a week later.

Could My Dog Have a Sleep Disorder?

Just like humans, a dog can experience a sleep disorder. The most common sleep disorders in dogs include obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and REM sleep behavior disorders.

Narcolepsy in Dogs

A chronic neurological disorder, canine narcolepsy, causes symptoms like cataplexy and excessive daytime sleep. Cataplexy is an onset of sudden muscle weakness. It usually occurs when a dog is playing or eating. Some breeds experience narcolepsy because of genetics. These breeds include the Labrador retriever and Doberman pinscher. However, narcolepsy can also occur in dogs who do not have a history of the disorder. There isn’t yet a cure for canine narcolepsy, but it’s not life-threatening and it does not get worse with age. There are some medications that can help if a dog has severe symptoms.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Dogs

Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing disorder affecting mammals, like humans and dogs. The sleep disorder occurs when specific muscles relax and cover the airway, which causes a short, breathless period called apnea. Humans and dogs may have common symptoms such as loud, choking noises in their sleep or excessive daytime sleepiness.

Some breeds are more susceptible than others, specifically, dogs with very short muzzles, like the bulldog. The most common treatment options include surgery or medications. Your vet may also suggest some lifestyle changes such as losing weight if your dog is overweight.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder in Dogs

REM or rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder in dogs causes abnormal body movements during REM sleep phases. When dogs have this disorder, they may exhibit many different behaviors while sleeping, like howling, barking, biting, chewing, or violently moving their legs. Most dogs exhibit these symptoms before they are one year of age. In most cases, medication helps.

Ways to Help Your Dog Get Quality Sleep

Most of the time, dogs get plenty of sleep, enough for them to live healthy, happy, and relaxed lives.  There are a few things dog parents can do to help make sure your dog gets quality sleep. Here are some tips.

  • Set Up a Routine. If your pup has trouble relaxing, they might benefit from a set schedule. Following a regular routine every day can help your dog sleep better.
  • Sleeping alone. A lot of people let their dogs sleep with them, but this can be disruptive for both humans and canines. Disruptions happen even if a dog parent isn’t aware of them. This means you may not know if sharing your bed is making it more difficult for your dog to get good sleep.
  • Comfortable Spaces. Some dog parents use a kennel or crate for their pup’s bed. Once they get a little older, the dog is transitioned to a doggie bed. The most important thing is to make sure wherever your dog sleeps is comfortable for them. Older dogs who have problems with painful joints may need a bed with more support.
  • Quiet, Dark Sleeping Area. The sleeping cycle or circadian rhythm in humans is influenced by light. If it’s dark or dim, your dog may get better sleep. It’s also important to prevent unnecessary noises as it’s easier for them to sleep if it’s quiet.
  • Adequate Exercise. We know that as humans, we sleep better when we get regular exercise. We can assume that this is true for dogs as well, and it is more noticeable in highly active breeds that work.
  • Relaxing Times During the Day. Busy places, unfamiliar people, unfamiliar places can all make it difficult for dogs to sleep during the daytime. Ensure your dog has a few restful periods throughout the day, times without activities, to ensure they get enough sleep.


At BrilliantK9, we care about your dog and its health! Making sure your pups get enough exercise is an important part of taking care of your furriest family members. Check out our custom harnesses to ensure your dog is safe and secure on every walk. We will help ensure it fits well so you and your dog can enjoy all your time out and about. 

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