Dog Training

How long do dogs sleep? (All sleep phases explained)

The night was short, the day is long. You feel "dog tired"? As a human being, you usually pay attention to your sleep rhythm. You should do the same for your dog. Here you can find out how much sleep dogs actually need, what constitutes a good night's sleep and how you can support your dog in this.

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Dogs need much more sleep than we do. To recover and recharge your pet's batteries, he needs to get enough sleep.

The sleep needs of dogs

The average sleep requirement of dogs is 14-20 hours per day. Age and size of the dog play an important role here. 

Puppies need the most sleep. With 18-22 hours they sleep almost the entire day

Even large, older or sick dogs need 16-20 hours of sleep. Due to the high sleep requirement, dogs not only sleep at night, but also during the day. However, the sleep requirement also includes different sleep phases.

Dogs have the same two sleep phases as humans: A deep sleep phase and a light sleep phase.

1. the REM phase

Husky dog cave sleeping

Dogs have the same two sleep phases as humans: One Deep sleep phase and a Phase with light sleep

The deep sleep phase (also called Rapid Eye Movement, or REM sleep for short) is used to process the events of the day. In this phase dogs dream. While your dog is dreaming, you can observe this well. 

He relives the events of the day. Feelings are also relived. This causes the twitching in the paws or the movement of the eyelids. Also a quiet whining or even a loud barking in sleep is possible. 

These twitches and noises are quite normal and no cause for alarm. Rather, it is very entertaining to watch your dog sleep. The more exciting your dog's day has been, the more movement and noise his sleep will be. 

Only through this processing time can your quadruped recover and regenerate. Especially with young or old dogs you can observe the dream phase very closely. 

But be careful never to disturb your darling during his deep sleep. Even the dearest dog can become aggressive in this situation.

2. the rest phase

The sleep cycle of dogs is different from the phases of humans. The sleep cycle of dogs lasts only 20 minutes. Therefore, dogs often sleep, but rather for a shorter period of time. 

After a walk, a short nap is just the right thing for your dog to process the excursion. After less than half an hour of sleep, your four-legged friend is back in top form.

The second phase of rest of dogs, in which they have only a light sleep, can be found in "Rest" and "Snooze" can be divided. 

At Rest your dog's eyes do not have to be closed. Most of the time he lies relaxed or cuddles with you. In this state it is important not to disturb him. Resting is also an important part of recovery. 

The Snooze is a twilight state, in which your quadruped lies quietly with closed eyes. But do not be mistaken, even if it does not seem so, he gets everything in this state. The sense of hearing and smell allow your pet not to miss anything. He can jump up from this state at any time and accompany you, if his curiosity is aroused.

The quality of sleep is crucial

It's not just how long or how often your dog sleeps that matters, but also how well. Here it depends on the quality of sleep. 

The deep sleep phase is only reached when your quadruped is fully relaxed. 

With a short nap in the light sleep phase, dogs usually sleep on their bellies or curled up. Since he is still alert and his muscles are tense, he will not go into deep sleep during this. 

A relaxed sleeping position is lying on the side or on the back. When your dog is lying on his back he is completely relaxed and carefree. 

Your four-legged friend will sleep easiest and best when you have sufficiently challenged and exhausted him. Plenty of exercise and enough attention are very important for quality sleep.

Lack of sleep and its consequences...

Sleepy yawning dog

Too little sleep has severe consequences even in dogs. These 5 consequences can occur in sequence. The duration of each phase may vary. 

However, before it gets to that point, you should visit the veterinarian you trust.

  1. Your dog is completely overexcited.
  2. His concentration and motor skills are deteriorating.
  3. The irritability and nervousness increases.
  4. He becomes susceptible to diseases and reacts increasingly aggressive. 
  5. Serious and chronic illnesses occur.
It may be that your dog, due to his Race Has sleep problems. Especially in dogs with short muzzles, such as bulldogs or pugs, the problem occurs. This so-called Sleep apnea is a physical cause.
Other causes may be too much Sounds or Distractions be. Always keep an eye on your dog's sleep patterns so you can react immediately if there are any changes. 

Too much sleep is actually possible, too. If your dog is only sleeping, you should also watch him more closely. It may be that he underemployed is or to Depression suffers. 

If your pet doesn't get enough attention, he doesn't know what to do with his time and sleeps out of sheer boredom. 

If there is an unusual amount of sleep, you should also see your veterinarian. In this way, it can be clarified whether the sleeping disorder has emotional or physical causes.


Sleep optimization and support

Dog bed

Make sure that your dog always has enough rest periods between activities. A permanent entertainment only harms your darling. This is the only way to keep him mentally and physically fit in the long term. 

Not every dog is the same and manages to rest on its own. Through years of chastisement, man has ensured that his faithful companion is always ready. 

The fear of missing something important keeps him from sleeping. If your four-legged friend hasn't learned to take his rest time, he won't. Even if his body sends him clear signals, he may ignore them.

So you can assume that you need to help your dog sleep. It's best to teach him as a puppy that he needs to come to rest. You can lie down with him and encourage him to sleep. 

Your dog will choose certain sleeping places over time. When he retreats to these, you should not disturb him. Avoid making noise or trying to play.

A regular daily routine is a great help. If there are consistent times for eating and playing, this also benefits the sleeping behavior. This creates a regular sleep rhythm, because your dog feels so safe.

What should the sleeping place be like?

You can also support your darling by a well-chosen and prepared sleeping place. 

Of course, dogs prefer to sleep on the sofas and in the beds of their humans. The question is, are you okay with that? If so, you're doing your four-legged friend a big favor. 

Since dogs always seek the proximity of their human pack members, this is also important when choosing a place to sleep. 

If you sit all day in the study or stand in the kitchen, there should also be a basket for your darling. So you can also enjoy the company of your dog. 

Always make sure that the sleeping place meets the following criteria:

  • No draught 
  • No sun or excessive light exposure 
  • Rest
  • Proximity to you
  • Sufficient space
  • Not directly on the heater
  • Wall at the back


Ultimately, one thing is clear. Dogs are true frequent sleepers. Sufficient and quality sleep are very important for your dog's well-being. This keeps him physically and mentally fit. 

You can best support your four-legged friend through fixed sleeping habits and selected sleeping places. 

After that, only one thing remains - to wish your darling sweet dreams!

Written by Claudia Weise
Written by Claudia Weise

I am an editor at hundeo and when it comes to dogs, my heart beats faster. My goal is to publish the best dog guides on the web. There is a lot of passion in every article and I am happy about every feedback to constantly improve our content.

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