If there’s one thing we envy about our dogs, it’s that they never have to feel guilty about hitting the snooze button a few too many times. Some dogs are super active each day, whilst others prefer to be curled up and chilled out, but how much sleep does your dog actually need?
Why is sleep so important?
Just as it is for humans, sleep is needed to allow the body to recover from daily activities. For puppies, sleep is important to allow healthy mental growth and development, as well as physical. Puppies require a lot more sleep and will tend to nap more often than adult dogs as a result.
How much sleep does a dog need?
Every dog is different and some will sleep more than others. As a general rule, dogs tend to sleep for about half of their time throughout a 24 hour day. In some cases, sleeping for 12-14 hours a day isn’t unusual. Some dogs will spend a lot of their time resting but not actively sleeping. Due to the amount of time that dogs will spend sleeping, napping or resting, it’s important to make sure they’ve got a comfortable and secure environment to rest their heads.
What about puppies?
During their first year, a puppy’s body undergoes an enormous change, with some dogs growing to their adult size in the space of a year. During this period, they’ll need quality nutrition and quality sleep time in order to digest and utilise the food for their optimum growth. It’s not unusual for puppies to sleep for 18 hours or more each during a 24 hour day, accompanied by short bursts of excitable and sudden strenuous activity throughout the day!
Reading your dog’s sleeping pattern
Knowing your dog’s sleeping pattern can help you to determine any change or development in physical or emotional health issues. Sleeping more than usual signals changes in health in the same way that being more lethargic or less energetic does. Dogs who are unwell/suffering from pain or illness will often withdraw from interacting with the family and head to their beds to sleep.
What can oversleeping be a symptom of?
Unlike humans, dogs are the masters of disguise when it comes to showing pain. An increase in sleep can be a sign that your dog is dealing with a chronic low-grade pain, as can be seen with arthritis. Dog owners will often miss out on the fact that their dog is in pain because they aren’t displaying visible or audible symptoms like crying or limping. Oversleeping can also indicate that your dog is overweight or even obese, as the extra exertion required to get around can be exhausting. Hormonal problems such as underactive thyroid glands can also lead to sluggishness and increased sleep.
A combination of knowing your dog’s sleeping habits, feeding them a nutritionally balanced diet and keeping them fit and active will help to keep them healthy and in good shape so that they keep their joints healthy and enjoy exercising. If you’re worried that they’re suddenly sleeping more or are withdrawing themselves to bed for longer periods of time, take your dog to the vet for a checkup.