October 10, 2019 0 Comments

Does your dog sleep a lot?

Questioning the sleeping habits of our furry friends is not uncommon in the world of pet owners. Most dogs truly love their lazy time and require more naps than we ever knew to be true.

Thankfully, it’s pretty normal for our pups to take advantage of their many opportunities to snooze throughout the day. In case you are still worried, here are some things to keep in mind regarding a dog’s sleeping habits!


Your Dog’s Age and Size

A dog’s sleeping habits will vary greatly depending on their age. Much like humans, they require a different amount of sleep throughout different periods of their life.

Puppies

King Charles spaniel laying on the foot of the bed

Think of puppies as you do human infants. We expect newborn babies and young toddlers to sleep away most of their days, only to wake for food and short playtimes. This is true of young puppies as well. Puppies from the age of 4 months and younger need anywhere from 17-20 hours of sleep a day, usually waking every few hours for a quick snack. It’s not out of the ordinary for a puppy to have bursts of energy a few times throughout the day, only to be followed by longer naps. Though this can seem concerning, as long as your pup wakes for food and has a healthy appetite, this is most likely just normal puppy sleepiness. Growing up requires a lot of energy.

Older Dogs

When dogs enter their senior years, they are going to spend a lot more of their time sleeping. Their sleeping habits can be compared to that of a puppy, without the vigorous playtime in between. As a dog ages, they are going to get slower with time. This can be due to joint pain, medical conditions, or the aging process in general. As long as older dogs' need for sleep is not associated with obvious pain, loss of appetite, or any other abnormal symptoms, their lower energy levels can be chalked up to old age.

Aside from puppies and seniors, the average dog generally sleeps anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day. Catching your dog in multiple naps throughout the day is completely normal.


Your Dog’s Breed

Shaggy dog laying on a nice couch

A dog’s energy level will rely heavily on their specific breed. Some breeds are known to be high strung, therefore they may require more stimulation in order to feel fulfilled and tired at the end of the day.

Working dogs

Energetic breeds may require less sleep in their day to day lives. Some of these breeds include Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, Terriers, Huskies, and other breeds known for their desire to work. If you own one of these breeds, they are less likely to sleep the day away in their younger years.

Sedentary dogs

In the dog world, there are certainly some breeds that are known for their love of naps. Some of these breeds include Bulldogs, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Pugs, Shi Tzus, and other breeds not often used for work. If you own one of these breeds, do not be surprised when they choose to spend their time snoring the day away.


Your Dog’s Life Changes

Bull Terrier laying on a bed under a blanket

Just like us, our dogs can experience life changes that can drain them of their normal energy.

Environmental

Changes in a dog’s environment can cause a major shift in its energy and sleeping habits. Some of these external changes include weather changes, switching to a new home, bringing a new animal into your home, a stressful environment, or any other drastic change in their surroundings. Any of the above can lead a dog to appear more tired than usual.

Emotional 

Animals can experience stress just as we do. Major life changes can lead to what can seem like depression and cause a dog to be more tired than usual. Environmental stresses can lead to emotional distress, as well as other outside factors that can affect a dog’s day to day life. For example, many pet owners say their dog’s nap more after losing a loved one (human or animal). There have been many examples to prove that animals can also experience sadness, which can, in turn, lead to them choosing sleep to help pass their time.


When You Should Worry

Pug Laying on a big white fluffy dog pillow

While dogs do enjoy naps throughout the day, there are a few exceptions that can cause pet owners to become concerned. If your pet appears exhausted and displays some of the other behaviors below, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for further care.

Ignoring regular activities for sleep

A healthy dog should always be able to be woken up for activities that they usually enjoy. While it’s clear that pups enjoy their daily naps, the thought of spending time with you should almost always entice them out of their slumber. If your furry friend does not want to wake for a trip outside, playtime, treats, meals, or other things they usually enjoy, give your vet a call ASAP.

Changes in eating or drinking

Changes in diet are often a precursor to developing medical issues. In several veterinary emergencies, a change in diet can be noted in the days before their illness strikes. If your pet is sleeping the day away, and their appetite is lacking as well, talk to your veterinarian.

Sudden sleep

Beagle Sleeping on a yellow dog pillow

If your dog ever seems generally normal, then experiences sudden weakness or sleepiness, contact your veterinarian ASAP. Sudden exhaustion can be a sign of a more serious problem.

Lethargy

Lethargy and general love for napping are extremely different. Lethargy can be described as overall weakness, lack of exercise, disinterest in things they generally enjoy, and an overall change in demeanor. If your pup does not want to wake for things they enjoy, seems weak when up and moving, or experiencing any other concerning symptoms, give your vet a call ASAP.

Anxiety

As previously discussed, emotional distress can cause a drastic change in a dog’s behavior. If your pet is experiencing behavioral changes that are affecting their day to day lives, contact your vet about options to bring your anxious pup some relief such as CBD.

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Overall, our canines need to nap throughout the day is nothing of concern. As long as your pup is not experiencing any other concerning behaviors in other parts of their life, their individual sleeping habits are normal. Make some room for your pup on the couch, and enjoy your lazy days together!

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