How Long Do Dogs Sleep? (All Sleep Phases Explained)
The night was short, the day is long. Feeling "dog-tired"? As a human, you normally pay attention to your sleep rhythm. You should do the same for your dog. Here you can find out how much sleep dogs really need, what constitutes a good night's sleep and how you can help your dog get it.
Dogs need much more sleep than we humans do. Your pet needs enough sleep to recover and recharge its batteries.
The Sleep Needs of Dogs
If you have a dog at home, you may have wondered how much sleep they need. Sleep time can vary depending on age, breed, and activity level.
The average sleep requirement of a dog is 14 to 20 hours per day. The age and size of the dog play an important role in this.
On average, adult dogs need 12 to 14 hours of sleep per 24-hour period. This includes sleep at night and naps throughout the day. The exact amount may vary depending on activity and individual needs. Adult dogs typically sleep between 7 and 9 hours at night.
Puppies need the most sleep. At 18–22 hours, they sleep most of the day. But why do puppies sleep so much? They are growing and developing very rapidly during this stage of their lives. Sleep supports growth and development of the body and immune system.
During sleep, the puppy's body releases growth hormones. These hormones are important for bone growth, muscle development, and overall physical maturation.
In addition to supporting physical growth, sleep is critical for brain development. While puppies sleep, their brains process the day's experiences and impressions, which is important for learning and memory formation.
Puppies are very active and curious during their waking hours. This high level of activity consumes a lot of energy, which is replenished by adequate sleep. Sleep helps puppies recover from the physical and mental exertion of their explorations.
Even large, older or sick dogs need 16–20 hours of sleep per night. Age is often accompanied by health problems and a general slowing down, which leads to an increased need for sleep.
Sleep needs also include different sleep stages. Dogs have the same two sleep stages as humans: A deep sleep phase and a light sleep phase....
1. The REM-Phase
The deep sleep phase (also known as rapid eye movement or REM sleep) is used to process the events of the day. Dogs dream during this stage. While your dog is dreaming, you can watch him closely.
He relives the events of the day. Emotions are also relived. This is shown by twitching paws or moving eyelids. They may also whimper softly or even bark loudly in their sleep.
These twitches and noises are completely normal and nothing to worry about. On the contrary, it is very entertaining to watch your dog sleep. The more exciting the day has been for your dog, the more restless and noisy he will sleep.
This processing time is the only way your four-legged friend can recover and regenerate. You can observe the dream phase very closely, especially with young or older dogs. However, make sure that you do not disturb your pet during their deep sleep phase. Even the sweetest dog can become aggressive in this situation.
2. The Resting Phase
A dog's sleep cycle is different from a human's. A dog's sleep cycle lasts only 20 minutes. Therefore, dogs sleep often, but only for short periods of time.
After a walk, a short nap is just the thing to help your dog process the outing. After less than half an hour of sleep, your four-legged friend is ready to go. The dog's second resting phase, when he sleeps lightly, can be divided into "resting" and "dozing".
Your dog's eyes do not need to be closed when resting. He usually lies relaxed or snuggles up to you. It is important not to disturb him in this state. Sleeping is also an important part of resting.
Snooze is a twilight state in which your pet lies still with its eyes closed. But don't be fooled: even if it doesn't look like it, your dog is aware of everything. His hearing and sense of smell make sure he doesn't miss a thing. He can get up at any time and accompany you if his curiosity is aroused.
Sleep Quality Is Critical
It is not only how long or how often your dog sleeps that matters, but also how well he sleeps. The quality of the sleep is important. The deep sleep phase is only reached when your dog is completely relaxed.
During a short nap in light sleep, the dog usually sleeps on its belly or curled up. Because he remains alert and his muscles are tense, he does not fall into deep sleep.
A relaxed sleeping position is on your side or on your back. When your dog is on his back, he is completely relaxed and carefree. Your four-legged friend will sleep the best and easiest if you have exercised and challenged him enough. Exercise and attention are important for a good night's sleep.
Lack of Sleep and Its Consequences...
Lack of sleep also has serious consequences for dogs. These 5 consequences can occur in sequence. The duration of each phase can vary. But before you get to that point, consult your trusted veterinarian.
- Your dog is very excited.
- His concentration and motor skills deteriorate.
- Irritability and nervousness increase.
- He becomes susceptible to disease and reacts more aggressively.
- Serious and chronic diseases develop.
Your dog may have trouble sleeping because of his breed. Dogs with short muzzles, such as bulldogs or pugs, are particularly prone to this problem. This is called sleep apnea and is a physical condition.
Other causes include too much noise or distraction. Always be aware of your dog's sleep patterns so that you can respond immediately to any changes.
My Dog Is Sleeping More Than Usual
Does your dog sleep too much? This is also possible. If all your dog does is sleep, you should watch him more closely. He may be underchallenged or suffering from depression.
Lack of mental and physical stimulation can lead to more sleep. When dogs are underchallenged, they often see sleeping as a way to pass the time.
Changes in the weather, especially cold or rainy days, can also have an impact as dogs spend more time indoors and therefore resting.
Dogs' sleeping habits often change as they get older. Older dogs need more rest, just like older people. As your dog ages, he may simply need more sleep.
Several health problems can cause an increased need for sleep. If you notice a sudden change in your dog's sleeping patterns that is accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or behavioral changes, you should consult your veterinarian.
Diet can also affect your dog's energy levels. An unbalanced diet that does not provide all the necessary nutrients can lead to increased sleepiness.
If your dog has recently been started on a new medication, this may also be the cause of his increased need for sleep. Some medications have a side effect of drowsiness. If your dog is sleeping abnormally, consult your veterinarian. This will help determine if the insomnia is psychological or physical.
Sleep Optimization and Support
Make sure your dog gets plenty of rest between activities. Constant activity will only harm your dog. This is the only way to keep him physically and mentally fit for the long term.
Not every dog is the same and doesn't come to rest on its own. The fear of missing something important keeps him from sleeping. If your dog hasn't learned to take his breaks, he won't. Even when his body sends him clear signals, he may ignore them.
So you can expect to have to help your dog get to sleep. The best way to do this is to teach him as a puppy that he needs to rest. You can lie down with him and encourage him to sleep.
A quiet and comfortable place to sleep is important. A dog bed or blanket in a warm, draft-free place can work wonders. Over time, your dog will learn to prefer certain sleeping areas. If he retreats there, do not disturb him. Avoid noise and play.
A regular daily routine helps a lot. Having consistent times for eating and playing also has a positive effect on sleep patterns. This creates a regular sleep schedule that gives the dog a sense of security. Regular physical and mental activity during the day promotes restful sleep.
A long walk or play session in the evening can help release excess energy and prepare your dog for a quiet night. A regular evening routine signals to your dog that it's time to settle down. This may include feeding, a short walk, and a relaxing time before bed.
What Should the Sleeping Area Look Like?
You can also help your pet with a well-chosen and prepared sleeping area. Of course, dogs love to sleep on the sofa and in their human's bed. The question is, is this right for you? If it is, you are doing your four-legged friend a great favor.
Since dogs always want to be close to their human pack members, the choice of sleeping place is important.
If you sit in the study or stand in the kitchen all day, you should have a basket for your pet. That way you can enjoy your dog's company.
Always make sure the sleeping area meets the following criteria:
- No draft
- No sun or excessive light exposure
- Proximity to you
- Sufficient space
- Not directly on the heater
- Rear wall
Sleeping Positions of Dogs
Have you ever wondered why your dog sleeps in certain positions and what that might tell you about him? A dog's sleeping position can tell you about his well-being, his personality, and even his body temperature.
Dogs, like people, can change their sleeping positions to feel more comfortable. Observing your dog's sleeping positions can not only make for great photo opportunities, but can also give you a deeper insight into your dog's well-being and personality. By understanding your dog's preferences and behaviors during sleep, you can help him find the best rest and security possible.
Why Does My Dog Snore When He Sleeps?
If your dog snores when he sleeps, it can be both cute and a little disturbing. Snoring in dogs is not uncommon and can have several causes.
Some dogs, especially those with short muzzles such as Pugs, Bulldogs or Shih Tzus, are more prone to snoring. These so-called brachycephalic breeds have a shorter head, which results in narrower airways. This can lead to loud breathing sounds during sleep.
Your dog's sleeping position can also play a role. If your dog sleeps on his back, his palate tissue can relax and partially block the airway. Changing his sleeping position can help reduce snoring.
As in humans, obesity can cause snoring in dogs. Extra weight causes fat to accumulate around the throat, which can narrow the airway. A healthy diet and regular exercise can not only reduce snoring, but also improve your dog's overall health.
Allergies, colds or respiratory infections can cause nasal congestion or inflammation, which can increase snoring. If you suspect that your dog is snoring for these reasons, especially if the snoring starts suddenly or is accompanied by other symptoms, you should consult a veterinarian.
Sometimes a foreign object can get stuck in your dog's nose or throat and cause snoring. If you have reason to believe that this may be the case, you should take your dog to the vet immediately.
When to Go to the Vet?
Although snoring in dogs is often harmless, there are situations in which it is advisable to consult a veterinarian:
- Snoring suddenly starts or gets dramatically louder.
- It is accompanied by other symptoms such as shortness of breath, changes in breathing patterns upon awakening, or loss of appetite.
- You suspect your dog is overweight or has a respiratory disease.
Snoring in dogs can have many causes, from harmless anatomical features to serious health problems. Observing the circumstances under which the dog snores and having a good understanding of the dog's overall health can help determine whether a visit to the veterinarian is necessary.
Dog Twitches in Its Sleep?
Have you ever noticed your dog twitching, pawing, or making soft noises while he sleeps? This behavior can be cute, but you may wonder what's going on. In fact, it's completely normal and in most cases, nothing to worry about. Find out why dogs twitch in their sleep and what it means.
Do Dogs Dream?
Yes, dogs dream just like people do. Scientific studies show that dogs dream during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, a phase of sleep when the brain is very active. During this phase, dogs may dream that they are running, playing, or doing other typical activities. The twitches you see are physical responses to their dreams.
Why Do Dogs Twitch When They Sleep?
- Dream activity: Twitches are often a harmless side effect of your dog's dreams. They can be a sign that your dog is dreaming about an exciting chase or game.
- Muscle relaxation: During REM sleep, the dog's body is relaxed, but the brain is still sending signals to the body, which can cause occasional twitching.
- Growth and development: In puppies, twitching may be part of the growth process as their nervous systems develop.
When Should You Worry?
Although twitching during sleep is usually normal, there are situations in which it is advisable to consult a veterinarian:
- Persistent or violent twitching: If the twitching is severe or the dog has difficulty calming down after waking up, this may indicate a health problem.
- Signs of pain: If the twitching is accompanied by sounds that indicate pain or discomfort, a veterinarian should be consulted.
- Frequency and duration: Twitches that are too frequent or too long may also be a cause for concern and should be investigated.
Tips if Your Dog Twitches in His Sleep
- Do not disturb: It is best not to wake your dog if he is twitching, as this may confuse or disorient him.
- Comfortable sleep environment: Provide a quiet and comfortable sleeping environment to help your dog sleep deeper and more soundly.
- Observe his behavior: Pay attention to patterns in your dog's sleeping behavior and consult a veterinarian if in doubt.
Sleep twitching is a normal behavior in dogs and is often a sign that they are sleeping soundly. As long as your dog is healthy and showing no signs of discomfort, there is usually nothing to worry about. Enjoy the sweet moments when your dog is asleep and dreaming, and rest assured that it is part of his natural sleep cycle.
In the end, one thing is clear. Dogs are really late sleepers. Adequate and quality sleep is important for your dog's well-being. It keeps them physically and mentally fit. The best way to help your four-legged friend is to establish sleep routines and sleep areas.
Then there's only one thing left to do - wish your sweetheart sweet dreams!