Understanding why your dog sleeps as much as he does will not only give you unique insight into his rest needs but also clues about his overall health. Your dog’s sleep needs vary depending on his life stage, as well as many other variables. As a pet parent, you need to be able to tell the difference between normal sleep needs and lethargy.
How much should a dog sleep?
Most adult dogs will sleep anywhere between 10 to 14 hours a day. Many factors affect your dog’s sleep needs and, just like with humans, there is quite a range when it comes to normal and healthy amounts of sleep.
Consider these factors on why your dog may be sleeping so much:
- While the above hours of sleep per day is average for the adult dog, this is considerably different for both puppies and seniors. For example, puppies require substantial more sleep per day (up to 20 hours a day). This is because, like babies and children, puppies are very busy playing, learning and growing. Alternatively, senior dogs will also have above-average sleep needs. Older dogs naturally slow down in all ways, and snoozing tends to be one of their favorite hobbies of all.
- Certain medical conditions, such as heart disease or cancer, may cause your dog to rest and sleep more. If your dog has a chronic illness, track his sleep patterns. If you notice that his average amount of time sleeping dramatically increases or that he is fatigued while awake, consult with your veterinarian.
- Dog breeds such as giant and brachycephalic dogs will be less active and tend toward more naps as compared to a Labrador Retriever or Cattle Dog. These variations between breeds are very normal and should be carefully considered during your process of choosing a dog.
- Activity level. Dogs who are more active, such as hiking dogs, working dogs or dogs who enjoy agility training, will likely sleep more during their downtime. This is OK and completely normal! Sleep in these instances will provide your dog with rest and recovery between his high-endurance activities.
Dogs sleeping too much vs. lethargy
If your dog’s sleep habits change dramatically or are accompanied with the below symptoms, then it’s time to reach out to your veterinarian:
- decreased appetite
- obvious discomfort or pain
- labored breathing
A general lack of energy at all times is considered lethargy and may be a sign that your pup is not well. Please do not ignore this symptom or assume your dog is acting normal!
Sleep is an incredibly valuable part of your pup’s overall health and wellbeing. Sleep promotes healthy brain development, boosts immune function and promotes an overall sense of wellbeing. There are several reasons why your dog may be sleeping a lot, many of which are completely appropriate. However, if you have any concern regarding your dog’s sleep needs, it would never be wrong to consult with your veterinarian!