You know that feeling when you’ve got a nice long weekend to hang out with your dog, and they sleep basically the WHOLE TIME? You might wonder, “Why is my dog so sleepy? Is my company really that boring?”
Well we were wondering that too! (The sleepy part, not the boring part.) So we decided to delve a little into what makes our dogs seem to pick up a seemingly endless craving for their ZZZZzzzzzzs.
There are three major things to consider when you’re wondering why your dog sleeps so much.
- Some dogs just need more sleep, like older dogs and puppies.
- Size Matters: Big dogs tend to sleep more.
- Dogs only spend 10% of sleep in REM compared to 25% for a human.
- Dogs need more hours to get the same quality of sleep.
So what’s the deal with my dog and sleep? Can dogs sleep too much?
On average, according to the American Kennel Club, dogs spend up to 12-14 hours sleeping. For older dogs it can be even more, since everything seems to go a little slower and get a little more exhausting when you reach those golden years.
Puppies can sleep for 18 or even 20 hours a day, because they spend all their waking hours burning a ton of energy—running around, playing, exploring. Picture a baby who spends about four hours a day driving a 100 mph motorcycle, exploring as much of the countryside as possible. That’s basically your puppy! And also kindof an insane image. You’re welcome.
Your dog’s breed has something to do with how much they sleep, too. Working dogs, or dogs that were bred specifically to perform a task, are more active and alert; while other breeds are likely to spend more time on their cozy pillows or getting fitted for their jammies.
And one more key difference: size matters. Larger dogs tend to be sleepier, which makes sense considering all that weight they gotta haul around. Smaller breeds can get by with about ten hours. Generally speaking, the larger the dog, the more sleep they need.
But WHY do dogs sleep so much? It’s all about R.E.M.
Humans spend 25% of their sleeping time in REM, the deep sleep where you really recharge. Dogs only spend 10% of their sleeping time in REM—so they need more hours to get the same quality of sleep. If your ears and nose were as strong as a dog’s, you’d probably have a harder time tuning out the distractions and falling asleep, too!
Bottom line, dogs are more distractible than humans- they’re flexible sleepers who fall asleep out of boredom, wake up easily and become alert immediately. You gotta admire a dog’s ability to get a full day of tail chasing, jumping around, and staring at you, all without even needing a pot of coffee!
So that’s what’s going on with your sleepy dog. And that’s why, as they say, it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie… because it’s tricky enough as it is for them to really get that nice rest! If your next question is “why does my dog lay on my feet?” we’ve got you covered (no, your feet don’t smell THAT good!)
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