We know that sleep is important for humans, but how much sleep do dogs need to be healthy?
Thanks to guest contributor Sloan McKinney for this post. Please remember that dogs are individuals. This is intended as a guideline, just like our other informational posts, such as the best distances for walking a dog and first aid for pets. This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links, we make a small commission (at no additional cost to you.)
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 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 actively 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 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 because the young dogs naturally need a lot of sleep and in part. After all, the young dog may wake up once or twice in the night during housebreaking training.
As dogs age, they’re going to sleep more, especially during the day in the form of naps. If the dog was 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.
Most dogs will follow these sleep patterns. However, if you notice a sudden change in your dog’s sleep habits, it’s best to consult a vet. While it could be the result of something serious, it could also be as simple as lactose intolerance causing digestive problems and interrupting sleep. A healthy diet, like NomNomNow, is also an important way to keep a dog healthy.
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 interrupts 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 is a good physical activity for both of you!
Dogs deserve a comfortable place to sleep and rest. My dogs are big fans of bolster beds. Large dogs seem to appreciate memory foam beds.
Nest Bedding makes great beds for dogs as well as for people!
If your dog sleeps on your bed with you, we’ve found that a mattress like this one from Nectar helps all of us get a good night’s sleep!
About the Author: Sloan McKinney is a journalist based in Southern California. After writing about pop culture for some years, she has recently begun writing for a new audience. Inspired by DeAnthony, her cat, and her dog Max, Sloan now hopes to help other pet owners give their pets happy lives.
Cathy Armato says
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.
Sweet Purrfections says
Very interesting information. We’d love to see a comparison of cat sleeping habits with humans.
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
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!
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!
Pawesome Cats says
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 🙂
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.
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.
Love the information. The info graphic is great. I am definitely sharing this post. Thanks for sharing such a grate post.
Stacy Greer says
Is there a way to get this as a download if we wanted to print it?
I will find out and email you once I know.
Christina Berry | The Lazy Pit Bull says
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!
Jessica @YouDidWhatWithYourWiener says
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.
This is really good information – I do have one follow-up question: do female dogs sleep more than boy dogs?
I will ask the author and let you know her answer.
Tricia Clements says
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.
This is such an interesting infographic… lots of fun, but important info!
Sarcastic Dog says
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.
Great info and wonderful graphic. It seems sleep issues that effect dogs are the same that effect humans!
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.
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.
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.
Vivian Lopez says
I learned a lot from this post so I can take care of my dogs better. Thanks for sharing!
What an interesting post, and I adore the infographic! I have never had dogs, so I loved reading this. It’s so interesting to consider all of the different variables that can disrupt a dog’s sleeping patterns, and how important it is to manage that for them. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Holy moly! 12-14 hours a day!? Wow… I did not expect you to say that when I clicked on this blog post. That’s crazy! I don’t know if I ever plan on getting a dog, but if I do… I’ll definitely be remembering some of the info from this blog post to make sure my dogs getting the proper amount of sleep, staying active, etc.
Lecy | A Simpler Grace says
This is so interesting. I had no idea that dogs don’t get as much REM sleep as humans. I love the infographic you are sharing here!
This is so interesting! I always think my dog sleeps too much, but she’s probably pretty normal according to this! She could probably use a little more stimulation some days though!
No wonder my dog is so unconcerned when I go to work! He’s sleeping! Lol. This was very informative and I have often wondered how much my little buddy should be sleeping.
Awe, I had no idea they didn’t go into REM sleep as often. No wonder my sweet Charlie sleeps a lot — doesn’t bother me one bit, since he is so playful and active when he is awake.
John Curtis says
Fantastic infographic and a lot info. We let our buddy to sleep on our beds.
This is so interesting! I never knew just how much the dogs sleep but this totally makes sense. I grew up with a dog that slept so much she seemed like a cat. 🙂
I never knew how much sleep my dog actually needed and this is very eye opening. My dog sleeps through the night when we sleep which is a blessing! Haha I love your info graphic & tips for keeping dogs active. I need to start walking my dog more for sure!
Thanks for sharing!
Both of my dogs love to nap! They usually nap wherever I am. If I’m in my office teaching, they are in there with me. One is asleep on the floor and the other is usually asleep on my couch. If I’m in the living room watching TV, they stay in there with me asleep on opposite ends of the couch. At bedtime, one of my dogs sleeps in the bed with my husband and me. He is the biggest cuddler! However, our other dog hates me disturbed when he is sleeping, so he sleeps under the floor in the corner. He used to sleep underneath the bed haha!
Becky Ginther says
That’s great info! I think cats must sleep even more? They mostly sleep throughout the night with us, and i’m pretty sure they’re asleep all day that we’re at work.
It’s amazing infographic
Richard Paolucci says
Thank you for your great article and sharing. I learned a lot. Just like people some dogs need more sleep and other dogs less sleep. Very informative. I will bookmark this site for future reference.