Have you ever been cuddling a dog only to suddenly feel the full weight of their head on your arm and realize they’re falling asleep? What’s with that? You call and call them and all they offer is a dopey side-eye; the only thing that makes them jump up is the rattle of the biscuit tin.
Well don’t expect that to change any time soon, it’s just who he is. And there are a bunch of factors that go into why a dog sleeps for so much of the day!
A dog usually sleeps for around 12 to 14 hours per day, meaning they spend 50% of their day sleeping, and another 30% lounging around! Here’s why:
Like human babies, puppies spend much more of their day asleep than awake. This is because they spend a bunch of their time playing and expending energy, which they don’t have as much of as adult dogs to start with. Puppies can spend 18 to 20 hours of their day sleeping, which you’ll know if you’ve ever had a puppy because it’s the only time the house is ever quiet!
Older dogs also spend a lot of their time sleeping, because like humans, they tire out much easier and it becomes harder for them to find the energy to do young dog things, and, well, harder to live in general.
Large dogs such as Mastiffs and Saint Bernards have earned themselves the nickname ‘mat dogs’ because of the sheer amount of time they spend sleeping, up to 18 hours a day to be precise, because can you imagine lugging that great big body around all day!
Type of Sleep
Dogs don’t actually sleep as deeply as humans do. We stay awake all day and then sleep for one long chunk through the night, whereas dogs sleep for shorter stints throughout the day, with only around 10% of their sleep being REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Compared to humans’ 25% REM sleep, meaning they just sleep more frequently rather than at length.
If your dog is a companion dog, they may sleep for more of the day out of boredom. Dogs who are stimulated more — working dogs like police dogs, sniffer dogs, guard dogs etc. will stay awake for more of the day because there is a job to do. Dogs who are left at home without social stimulation or much to play with will sleep simply because there is nothing else worth doing. The bottom line is, make sure your dog has plenty to do!
Any dog owner will be aware by now of their dogs sleeping patterns, meaning you should be concerned if a dramatic change in routine occurs — if your dog suddenly starts sleeping more, less or for longer or shorter, you might consider professional help as they may have developed a condition which needs treating. It could be as simple as a change in diet, or a course of medication.
Take care of your snoozy pupperinos!