What’s your furry friend doing right now? If they’re sleeping, that’s not terribly surprising.
So, why do dogs sleep so much?
You’ve likely noticed that they tend to sleep a lot. In fact, it may seem as though that’s how they spend the majority of their time, and could start to lead to worries on how much sleep do dogs need and if yours is getting too much.
We’ve got all the details on doggy sleepy patterns and why it’s — probably — nothing to worry about if you’re pup is getting plenty of shut eye.
How Much Do Dogs Sleep?
Most dogs need anywhere between twelve and eighteen hours of sleep a day – which may seem like a great deal of time, but when considering how their bodies work in contrast to our own, it’s not.
Here’s a quick video explaining how much sleep do dogs need:
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that contribute to your pooch’s need for sleep.
Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?
For humans, it’s a matter of around eight hours a night so we have sixteen hours in the day to accomplish things.
However, since dogs have no such social structure, their sleeping schedule is much more in tune with their needs and biological makeup.
Laid Back Lifestyle
When people work hard, they tend to need more sleep and spend more time in bed when they can.
In more demanding jobs or in times of extreme activity (after running a marathon, for instance), it can be hard to find time to rest, and sometimes sleep comes in small snatches. The same is true for busy dogs.
Whether they’re search and rescue dogs, police dogs, or just helping out your farm, they live busy lives and obviously can only sleep when nothing’s going on.
Conversely, a more laid back lifestyle leaves a lot of time for a dog to fill.
If your four-legged friend is the family pet who spends most of their time entertaining themselves, it may seem like they sleep a lot merely because they have fewer options for keeping themselves engaged.
This can be made even more apparent if your dog isn’t one for playing with toys or searching the house for mischief.
With little to occupy their time, they wind up lying around and snoozing quite a bit.
Puppies expend a lot of energy with the exploration of their new surroundings, and when they run around and play hard, they need a lot of sleep to build their energy reserves back up.
It takes a lot of energy to be that furry little ball of mischief, after all!
Senior dogs, on the other hand, may sleep more simply because they have less energy overall.
You can think of them like elderly humans in that sense, and especially when their health declines, they may choose to retreat to a quiet area where they can rest. What person over 50 has the same energy as when they were a young pup?
This can be especially true if there are younger children (or pups) in their living environment, where the excitement and higher energy can be too much for them to deal with, encouraging them to retreat away from the hustle and bustle more often.
You may think every breed’s sleeping habits are created equal, but that’s not necessarily the case!
While most breeds have the propensity for sleeping a lot, some are actually geared towards it more than others.
If you’ve ever watched a movie (animated or otherwise) with a hound dog in it, you may have noticed that they’re usually portrayed as lazy, sleepy dogs. Well, that’s not just a media trope – Basset Hounds really do require lots of sleep.
And several larger breeds, such as Huskies and Mastiffs, need several more hours of rest to stay well rested and healthy, simply because they have larger bodies and energy reserves that need endless topping up.
You’ll notice that your larger dogs will suddenly have energy to run and play incredibly hard when they deem it necessary, and this is because of how they were bred. Large hunting dogs were meant to chase down animal prey, criminals, or even endure extreme weather to help humans or livestock back in the day. In order to use that strength when it was needed, they needed to save it when possible.
Even if your hound dog’s most exciting activity is going to the park nowadays, the genes determining how they store energy are still there.
Conversely, there are some breeds that require less sleep than their counterparts. Border Collies, for example, are very high energy dogs and are hard to tire out, since they are smaller and it takes less to rejuvenate their batteries.
If you’ve ever wondered, ‘just how much sleep do dogs need?’ don’t worry; you’re not letting them overdo it. Fido needs plenty of rest to keep doing his best every day, and especially if he leads a docile lifestyle, he has nothing but time to kill.
Of course, if their normal habits suddenly change and they become a lot sleepier than normal, then it might be a good idea to consult your vet. Until then, you can rest easy.
What do you think – why do dogs sleep so much?