Why Dogs Sleep So Much



Your dog, Pookie, is similar to a toddler: she plays, plays, plays, then sleeps, sleeps, sleeps. She loves that fluffy, pink dog bed and she enjoys taking naps by your side while you read. But, why does Pookie love sleeping so much? Also, why does she seem to sleep as much, if not more, than your ten-month-old? Is all of this sleep really necessary, or is Pookie just one lazy pooch? You do rather like the fact that Pookie sleeps so much. She is so cuddly and always lets you get your own rest. But she also seems to sleep at the most random times. Why is that?

The Root of the Behavior

Did you know that dogs spend 50 percent of the day catching Zs? Unlike humans, who sleep for long amounts of time at night, dogs have shorter REM cycles that result in more frequent cat naps during the day. Of course, there are other factors that contribute to how often your pooch sleeps such as age, activity level, breed, size, and health. Let’s start with age. You think babies sleep a lot, well so do puppies. To a puppy, everything is new and they end up sleeping 18-20 hours a day! Older dogs also need more rest. Older dogs have less energy, and they are prone to more health problems, both of which cause a need for more sleep. Activity level also affects how much a dog sleeps. Contrary to belief, an inactive dog is actually more likely to sleep than a fairly active dog--primarily due to boredom. This is why regular walks and exercise are so important. Working dogs, such as service dogs, sled dogs, etc. tend to stay awake when they know they are working and may have sleep schedules similar to a human’s. Breed also affects a dog’s sleep. Saint Bernards, Mastiffs, and Newfoundlands can rake in 18-20 hours of sleep time a day! This also correlates with size. It seems larger dogs tend to need more sleep than smaller dogs. This is important to note if you are looking to get a new dog. Do you want an active one or a more laid back sleeper? Dogs can also sleep more because of medical conditions, such as canine depression. Yes, dogs get depressed too. Canine depression is often caused by a sudden change in routine: rehoming, owner’s change in work schedule, etc. If Pookie starts sleeping even more than usual, and you notice a dramatic change, consult your vet.

Encouraging the Behavior

If your dog is sleeping like she usually does, she has probably found her routine and knows how much sleep she needs. The amount Pookie sleeps may seem excessive, but if it’s the way she’s always been, it is probably no need for alarm and has to do with the fact that dogs just don’t sleep as soundly as humans. As mentioned above, Pookie has different REM cycles than humans, and this is why she is sleeping sporadically during the day. Since she also doesn’t sleep as soundly as you do, she needs more sleep during the entire day, opposed to your eight hours of solid and heavy filled REM bliss. However, there are sometimes when excess sleeping, especially out of the norm for your dog, can be a sign of something more serious. Canine depression was already mentioned, but increased lethargy and sleeping can also be tied to diabetes, hypothyroidism, or an infectious disease. It is important to keep an eye out for any sudden and dramatic changes to your dog’s sleeping routine. As your dog’s owner, you can probably sense when something is just off in terms of your dog’s sleeping. But if Pookie is sleeping like she always has, even if it seems like a lot, that might just be part of her and her unique personality. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

Although for most dogs, sleeping a lot is normal for them but you should be concerned if there is a major and abrupt change. This might be due to aging, poor diet, or even health-related issues. If you are ever concerned about your dog’s sleepiness, consult your veterinary professional. Common health-related issues associated with excessive sleep are canine depression, hypothyroidism, and diabetes, so it is important to observe Pookie’s routine for any signs of abrupt changes to her sleep. There also are great infographics online that show typical sleep times based on size, breed, etc.that could help ease your mind. 


It seems that Pookie is just one of those dogs that loves to sleep. There is nothing wrong with her; this is just who she is. It’s good that she gets the required amount for her, and you can rest easy with her by your side. Pookie hasn’t demonstrated any abrupt changes in her sleeping patterns, so you feel confident that you can both go to bed tonight in good health, but you still make Pookie sleep on the couch because she does love to snore.