Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, But How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?

Today’s post was written by guest contributor Sloan McKinney.  Please remember that different dogs have different needs, and this is intended as a guideline, just like our other informational posts, such as best distances for walking a dog and first aid for pets.

If you’re like me, and you have a household with dogs of different breeds, you may be surprised at the differences in sleeping patterns from one dog to another. While one dog may spend a large portion of the day snoozing in its kennel, another may be alert most of the day, watching for UPS deliveries, squirrels, butterflies, or anything that moves on the sidewalk.

The first time you perceive such vastly different sleeping patterns, you may be a little concerned. Is one dog sleeping too much? Or is the other dog sleeping too little?

 

Determining Normal Sleep Habits

As shown in the accompanying infographic, the average dog will sleep 12-14 hours per day. If your dogs have adjusted to your sleep patterns, which most do eventually, they’re sleeping around eight hours at night. So the other four to six hours required will occur during the day in the form of naps.

 

Determining just how long those naps should last for each dog will vary by the type of dog. Many reasons exist to cause a dog to sleep more or less than the average.

 

  • Active working dogs. Dogs like police dogs or service dogs will tend to sleep less because they’re active much of the day alongside the humans with which they’re working. Dogs like German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers that are often bred for this type of work also may naturally sleep less, even if they are companion animals and not active working dogs.

 

  • Passive working dogs. A dog that works passively, such as one that guards livestock, may sleep a bit more during the day, allowing it to be on alert a bit more during the night. Breeds like Sheepdogs or Great Pyrenees may follow a similar sleep pattern, even if they are companion dogs rather than livestock guardian dogs. Many of these types of dogs are large breeds, which also naturally need more sleep than an average-sized or small dog.

 

  • A puppy will need more naps than the average adult dog, in part because the young dogs naturally need a lot of sleep and in part because the young dog may wake up once or twice in the night during housebreaking training.

 

  • Older dogs. As dogs age, they’re going to sleep more, especially during the day in the form of naps. If the dog was really active during its younger years, this increase in its amount of sleep might seem dramatic to you, but it’s usually a natural part of the dog’s aging.

 

Dog Infographic: how much sleep do dogs need, let sleeping dogs lie infographic

Most dogs will follow these sleep patterns. However, if you have any concerns over a sudden change in your dog’s sleep habits, it’s best to have the animal examined by a veterinarian. While it could be the result of something serious, it could also be as simple as something like lactose intolerance causing digestive problems and interrupting sleep.

 

  • Keeping Your Dog Active

    If you find that your dog is napping so much during the day that it isn’t sleeping well at night, which is interrupting your sleep pattern, you may need to find a way to keep the dog more active during the day. A dog that has a boring daily routine may tend to sleep too much during the day.

  • The infographic shows that you can stimulate your dog during the day through activities such as dog daycare or with a new toy. Volunteerism is great for many dogs. And another of the best ways to keep a dog active during the day is with exercise. Walking your dog more often will represent a good physical activity for both of you!

About the Author:  Sloan McKinney is a journalist based in Southern California. After writing about pop culture for a number of years, she has recently begun writing for a new audience. Inspired by DeAnthony, her cat, as well as her dog Max, Sloan now hopes to help other pet owners guarantee their animal companions happy and healthy lives.

28 Comments

This is so interesting, I love the Infographic! Thanks for sharing this. One of my dogs sleeps only in her doggie bed, my Husky sleeps in various places around the house; I think she chooses spots w/ flooring that are cooler for her.

Very interesting information. We’d love to see a comparison of cat sleeping habits with humans.

Great infographic! My huskies are very light sleepers. If someone moves even one little muscle, they are ALL over it, wide awake, ears perked and waiting to see what the interesting human is about to do. LOL!

Robin says:

Very interesting! Dogs sleep almost as much as cats (house cats average about 15 hours per day). I haven’t thought about how the things that different dogs are bred for would affect their sleep pattern. Great infographic!

Great infographic. Cats sleep a lot too, I’d just like it more if they slept when I do at night and didn’t want to be feed at 5am on the weekends. LOL 🙂

Amy says:

Fantastic infographic! I was so surprised that only 17% of dogs sleep in a dog bed like Toby does (next to our bed). Also I didn’t know they got less REM sleep. Very cool, thanks for posting.

Dogvills says:

What a great infographic. Our fur babies sleep on their pet beds inside our room.

This is fantastic! I love the infographic and am sharing over on my FiveSibes Facebook page!

Christine Jones says:

I live in the tropics (Jamaica) where it is summer 12 months of the year. 99% of dogs sleep outside. However my tribe of 6 Labs has varying taste. One likes to sleep outside; I guess likes the fresh air. About 4 others like to sleep inside and the other two likes indoors but they must be in my bedroom. Sparkie, the 12-y-o Lab does snore; he’s about 90 lbs but according to the infographic, it’s a sign of sleep apnea. Very, very interesting infographic.

Scott J says:

I just thought dogs were bored and that’s why they napped so often. My dogs nap the day away 20 minutes at a time. Makes so much sense now.

Suzanne says:

Love the information. The info graphic is great. I am definitely sharing this post. Thanks for sharing such a grate post.

Is there a way to get this as a download if we wanted to print it?

    Beth says:

    I will find out and email you once I know.

It is for sure that a dog who doesn’t sleep well at night will impact its owner’s sleep as well. Been there, done that. This is helpful information, and a cool infographic! Thanks for sharing!

That’s interesting about the REM sleep and why dogs need to sleep more. I never knew that. I’m most happy to see that almost 50% of people let their dogs sleep in their beds. I know mine sometimes disrupt my sleep but most of the time I sleep so much better when they are there. I have small dogs, and slept with a cat all of my childhood, so it’s like “comfort food” for me.

MattieDog says:

This is really good information – I do have one follow-up question: do female dogs sleep more than boy dogs?

    Beth says:

    I will ask the author and let you know her answer.

Very interesting. I did not know about the REM sleep that they only get it 10% of the time.

Your graphics are great!

My dogs sleep in their crate 75% of the time and in my bed the other 25% of the time.

nichole says:

This is such an interesting infographic… lots of fun, but important info!

LOVE this info-graphic! It really is interesting how different each dog’s sleep pattern is at my house. I am a little concerned with Piper being on restricted activity for the next eight weeks that her sleep patterns will be disrupted by reduced playtime and walks.

kelly says:

Great info and wonderful graphic. It seems sleep issues that effect dogs are the same that effect humans!

Kevin says:

Fascinating info! Our boys are large dogs and probably more in the 12-16 hour range! Although they are always up for anything whether we are active all day or simply staying at home.

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  • Rita long says:

    Great information. Adopted a Lhasa/Shih Tzu mix, approximately 8 yrs old, about 3 months ago. Was concerned about how much she naps during the day. We take long walks, about 3 miles in the morning, 1 mile in the afternoon and another mile in the evening. She moves around a small amount during the night. Sleeps in her bed mostly; sometimes in my bed and sometimes a small portion of the night on the carpet in the bedroom. After reading the info graphic and comments, I’m now comfortable with her sleeping/napping habits. Thank you for the good information.

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  • Danielle says:

    Very cool I didn’t know anything about dogs sleeping patterns I’m glad I know now thanks. My two Staffordshire Bull Terriers sleep in my bed with me I can’t sleep unless they are there next to me. My boy sleeps a lot more than my girl she has so much energy more than me lol.

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  • Vivian Lopez says:

    I learned a lot from this post so I can take care of my dogs better. Thanks for sharing!

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