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Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

Read time: 5 mins

16 Aug 2023

As devoted pet parents, we've all experienced the marvel of our pooches' remarkable sleep schedules. From lounging around during the day to snuggling up beside us at night, our dogs' sleep habits often leave us wondering, "why do dogs sleep so much?".

Let’s delve into the fascinating world of doggy slumber, uncovering the reasons behind their seemingly endless nap sessions. From the amount of sleep they need to the curious behaviours they exhibit while sleeping.

How Many Hours a Day Do Dogs Sleep?

It's a well-known fact that dogs are avid sleepers, often indulging in the art of snoozing for a significant portion of their day. 

On average, adult dogs tend to sleep anywhere from 12 to 14 hours each day

Puppies, in their rapid growth phase, require even more sleep—sometimes clocking in at an astonishing 18 to 20 hours per day

Senior dogs, too, lean towards the higher end of the spectrum due to their energy levels declining with age.

Why Do Dogs Need So Much Sleep?

As much as we all wish that we could sleep all day long, sadly humans don’t have that same luxury. But why exactly do dogs need so much sleep?

Nurturing their vitality

Similar to humans, dogs need sleep to maintain their overall health and vitality. Sleep serves as a critical time for their bodies to recuperate and rejuvenate. The various activities that fill their waking hours, such as playtime, walks, and mental stimulation, demand ample periods of rest to recharge their energy levels. 

Think of sleep as nature's way of ensuring that our dogs remain active, alert, and ready to embrace the world around them.

Supporting growth and development

For puppies, sleep isn't just a luxury; it's a vital component of their growth and development. The early stages of a puppy's life are marked by rapid physical and mental changes. These little bundles of joy spend a significant amount of time sleeping to fuel their growth. 

During sleep, their bodies release growth hormones that play a pivotal role in bone development, muscle growth, and overall maturation. So, the next time you see a puppy snuggled up for yet another nap, remember that they're not just resting; they're actively growing.

The comfort of routine

Dogs are creatures of habit, and establishing a consistent routine around sleep can provide them with a sense of security. Just like a soothing bedtime routine can prepare a child for sleep, a predictable pattern can signal to your dog that it's time to wind down. 

Providing a comfortable and quiet sleeping environment can further enhance their sleep quality and contribute to their overall well-being.

Should I Be Worried About My Dog Sleeping A Lot?

Generally speaking, it is normal for dogs to sleep a lot and shouldn’t be cause for concern.

Dogs, much like humans, need sleep to rejuvenate their bodies and minds. Their active lifestyles—filled with playtime, walks, and mental stimulation—demand ample periods of rest to maintain their overall well-being.

If long sleep periods are combined with other worrying factors, such as decreased appetite and lack of enthusiasm, it may be worth getting them checked over by the vet to ensure that they’re in good health.

Why Do Dogs Twitch In Their Sleep?

Have you ever caught your pup's legs twitching or their paws paddling during slumber? 

This is commonly known as "sleep twitches." While researchers are still uncovering the exact reasons behind this behaviour, it's believed that these twitches are linked to their dream state. 

Just like humans, dogs enter different sleep phases, including rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, during which most dreams occur. These twitches could indicate that your pup is embarking on an exciting dream adventure of their own.

Why Is My Dog Breathing So Fast While Sleeping?

Breathing heavily and fast during sleep, otherwise known as ‘sleep panting’ can be attributed to the fact that dogs don't sweat like humans do.

Instead, they release excess heat through panting, even during sleep. Additionally, the transition between different sleep stages can sometimes lead to faster breathing patterns. However, if you notice other signs of distress or if the fast breathing persists during wakeful moments, it's best to consult your vet.

Why Does My Dog Sleep Against Me?

The heartwarming sight of your pup snuggled up against you while sleeping is undoubtedly endearing. Dogs are social animals, and their natural instincts drive them to seek comfort and safety in the presence of their pack—yes, that includes you.

Sleeping against you allows them to feel secure, warm, and connected, just as they would in a pack setting. This behaviour showcases the deep bond you share with your pup, and it's a testament to the trust and affection they hold for you.

Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You?

Ah, the classic "bum-to-face" sleeping position—a quirk that never fails to elicit a smile. While it might seem peculiar, there's a simple explanation for this behaviour rooted in their ancestral instincts.

In the wild, dogs often sleep in a curled position to protect their vulnerable abdominal areas. When your dog turns their bum towards you while sleeping, it's a sign of trust and submission. They're indicating that they feel safe and secure in your presence, allowing themselves to let their guard down completely.