• Claire

Just how many hours sleep does a dog need?


It's national World Sleep day on Friday and dogs seem to sleep A LOT! But just how much sleep do they need?


How much sleep does a dog need?

Watching a dog take a nap can be an entertaining experience. Their legs twitch as if they are running. They yip, they snore and sometimes they even growl. Dogs have far different sleeping patterns than humans do, and understanding the way dogs sleep can help pet owners keep their dogs happy and healthy for a lifetime.


Cats are famous for sleeping the day away, but dogs sleep quite a bit, as well. While owners are away at work all day and a pet’s stimulation is quite low, odds are the dog will sleep.


Puppies

Puppies sleep far more than adult dogs, as sleep is an important factor for raising a happy, well-adjusted dog. Owners of growing pups must balance out stimulation and exercise with plenty of rest.

We all know that puppies are full of life—and mischievousness! But exploring the world is hard work and puppies need a lot of sleep to balance out the energy they spend when learning.

Night time sleeping habits: Puppies are like babies and face the same challenge of understanding the world around them. Like babies, they are unlikely to sleep through the night. When very young, puppies may even need to get up for a toilet break. You can expect your puppy to sleep for about six to ten hours a night. By 16 weeks, they should have begun sleeping through the night.

Daytime sleeping habits: Puppies sleep a lot during the day, just like babies. They are likely to sleep after a period of activity and then wake up refreshed, ready to play again. These naps can last anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours. Puppies will often fall asleep where they are playing.

The relationship between sleep and development

All this sleep is extremely crucial to your puppy’s development. A puppy’s sleeping habits are an important part of their learning process. Because your puppy is exploring the world for the first time and learning new commands, smells, people and routines, a lot of their energy is used up in trying to understand and remember these things.

Sleep helps. Sleep allows your puppy’s mind to process all the material they have learnt in the time they have been awake. It allows them to make sense of it. Sleep also helps them store the information and remember it. In other words, their mind is still working when they sleep!

How much sleep your puppy needs may differ from breed to breed. On average, puppy sleeping habits include about seventeen hours of sleep in a day. Puppies can sleep anywhere between sixteen to twenty hours.



Adult dogs

The sleep patterns of adult dogs depend upon the age of the pet, the daily activities of the pet, and even the size of the pet. Large breeds sleep far more than small breeds. It’s not uncommon for owners of Saint Bernards and Mastiffs to believe their dogs spend more time sleeping than they do in wakeful activities. A simple walk for a large dog can be enough to send the pooch into a two-hour nap.

Dogs that do not engage in exercise and mentally stimulating play throughout the day will sleep far longer than their active counterparts. And while it may seem counter-intuitive, inactive may also suffer from insomnia. If a dog sleeps all day, it’s likely he won’t be ready to turn in for a long night with the rest of the family. Insomnia from inactivity is especially common in small breeds or among dogs that live an urban lifestyle, where they don’t get out and run regularly.

Owners should commit to exercising their dogs at least 30 minutes a day, though large breeds and working breeds will require much more. Walking a dog before and after work can help significantly manage sleep, and scheduling some one-on-one play time is also good for developing healthy sleep patterns. Adult dogs can sleep around 14 hours per day.



The Golden Oldies

As a dog matures and reaches its golden years, it’s likely that the dog will sleep often. As the body slows down and conditions like arthritis and hip dysplasia set in, dogs are far less apt to romp around the house or the yard. Elderly dogs may sleep for more than 18 hours a day as they settle into a more relaxed way of life!

We're all different and just like us dogs will find their own pattern depending on age, routine and activity levels. One thing I do know is in the winter I love nothing more than to snuggle up with my girls on the sofa and cuddle the evening away , watching them relax and dream. How lucky are we as pet parents, that we get to do this with such amazing creatures!!




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