How Long Do Dogs Sleep?
In case you didn’t know, dogs sleep quite a lot.
Typically, dogs sleep more than humans – 12 to 14 hours per day. Bigger breeds usually need more sleep than smaller ones, while puppies are the sleepiest of them all, traveling to dreamland for about 18 to 20 hours every day. Puppies like to play and explore until exhaustion, which is partly why they need so much sleep.
Interestingly, although dogs adapt to their owners’ sleeping patterns relatively easily, they have a markedly different sleep pattern.
According to the American Kennel Club, dogs only spend 10% of their sleep time in the REM (rapid eye movement) phase. In humans, REM sleep occupies 25% of sleep.
If you didn’t know, in the REM phase, the eyes of animals start rolling under their lids randomly. The REM phase is also when dreams occur.
Anyway, dogs’ short REM phase is due to their irregular sleeping patterns – canines often doze off anytime they want. Dogs can also wake up and become alert very quickly. And because of their rather irregular sleep patterns, dogs require more sleep to compensate for lacking REM sleep.
So, in short, dogs have a more irregular, intermittent manner of sleeping, while humans tend to sleep for 7 to 9 hours at a time.
All the numbers above were given for healthy dogs – sleeping disorders may significantly affect actual sleep duration. Dogs with narcolepsy, for example, may spontaneously fall asleep during the day or be in a constant state of drowsiness. Pain, itching, and other health issues, on the other hand, may interfere with sleep and result in sleep issues.
Do Dogs Sleep All Night?
As mentioned earlier, dogs are intermittent sleepers, so they may wake up and fall asleep several times throughout the night. However, if you give your dog enough exercise and make an effort to adapt them to your day-night schedule, it’s very unlikely that they will disturb you at night – even if they do wake up.
Doggy Behavior In Sleep
To ensure that your dog gets enough quality rest, you should keep an eye on their behavior during sleep. Here’s what you should pay attention to:
- Naps or slight dozing. Dogs often doze off throughout the day. When dozed off, your dog will appear sleeping, but they will stay alert. One sign of alertness is the ears twitching in reaction to sounds in the environment.
- Circling or digging. Dogs tend to dig into their beds to get comfortable. This is normal behavior, but if your dog circles restlessly for a long time before sleep, there may be a problem – like an uncomfortable sleeping spot or body aches.
- Twitching, whimpering, barking, or growling. These signs typically appear during REM sleep, when dogs can have dreams. If having nightmares, dogs may exhibit more aggressive movement and louder noises.
- Excessive twitching. Excessive twitching may be a sign of a seizure. If your dog doesn’t react to their name or to attempts to wake them up, call your vet right away.
Additionally, you should pay attention to your dog’s sleeping position:
- Side sleeping means that the dog feels safe and comfortable. Dogs don’t assume a side sleeping position (which exposes vital organs) unless they feel safe.
- If your dog is curled up, they are either feeling cold or unsafe. Newly adopted pets often sleep curled up because they aren’t yet comfortable around their owner. Though note that some dogs just like sleeping all curled up.
- Lying on the back is a sign of extreme trust and comfort. Again, dogs wouldn’t expose their bellies in such a way if they weren’t feeling secure.
- Dogs who lie on their stomach, with their paws spread out, want to be alert and ready for action immediately after waking up.