How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need? A Guide to Healthy Snoozing

Hey there, fellow dog lovers! Have you ever watched your furry friend twitch their paws or let out little whimpers while they snooze? I bet it’s got you wondering – do dogs dream? And if they do, are they chasing squirrels, reliving their best game of fetch, or maybe even plotting their next snack heist?

Well, the answer is a resounding yes! Dogs do dream, and what they dream about might just surprise you. But dreaming is only part of the picture. How much sleep your pup needs depends on a whole bunch of things, like their age, breed, and how active they are. You probably know that puppies sleep a lot, but there’s more to it than that.

Why Sleep is a Dog’s Best Friend

Just like us humans need our sleep to function at our best, doggos need plenty of shut-eye to be the happy, healthy companions we love. Sleep is when their bodies get a chance to recharge and repair. It’s when their brains process what they’ve learned that day and when their immune systems get a boost. If your pup isn’t snoozing enough, you might notice they have trouble paying attention, get grumpy easily, or even seem a bit under the weather.

Meet Your Dog’s Inner Sleeping Beauty

So, how much sleep is the magic number? Well, that’s where things get a little interesting. I’m about to reveal some fascinating facts about our furry friends’ sleeping habits – and trust me, you don’t want to miss this!

The dog is sleeping in a funny position
Illustration: The dog is sleeping in a funny position

Beyond the Snoring: Decoding Dog Sleep Cycles

Okay, we know dogs need plenty of sleep, but have you ever wondered what’s going on in their furry heads while they’re snoozing? It turns out dogs have their own unique sleep patterns, just like humans. Get ready to learn some amazing facts you can share at your next doggy meet-up!

REM Sleep – Where Dream Adventures Begin

Did you know that dogs, just like us, experience REM sleep? That’s right, during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, their eyes move quickly beneath their eyelids, and this is when they’re most likely to have those adorable dreams of chasing squirrels, rabbits, or maybe even, let’s face it, giant sausages.

Fun fact: Larger breeds often act out their dreams more than small breeds. So, if you’ve got a Great Dane who’s paddling his legs in his sleep, chances are he’s on an epic dream adventure.

Light Sleep vs. Deep Sleep – It’s All in the Brain Waves

But REM sleep isn’t the whole story. Dogs also go through periods of non-REM sleep, which can be divided into light and deep sleep stages. During light sleep, they might be a bit more easily woken up. But when they hit deep sleep, their muscles relax completely, and their breathing becomes slow and steady.

How It All Adds Up – A Dog’s Sleep Cycle Breakdown

A surprising fact: dogs actually spend a bigger chunk of their sleep time in REM than we do! This could be why those cute little puppy dreams seem so vivid sometimes. Of course, puppies and old dogs need even more shuteye than adult pups – we’ll talk more about why soon!

A Lifetime of Zzz’s: How Sleep Needs Change with Age

Let’s talk puppies, those adorable fluffballs of energy! Growing up is hard work, which is why puppies seem to sleep all the time. They can easily snooze for a whopping 18-20 hours a day! This is crucial for their development – all that sleep helps their bodies grow and their brains learn.

Think of those senior dogs you know – they tend to sleep more and wake up less playful, right? That’s because their activity levels have likely slowed down, and they might even have a few aches and pains that make getting a good night’s sleep more difficult.

It’s Not Just Age: What Impacts Your Dog’s Sleep Schedule

Picture this: You have two dogs, both around the same age. One is content to snooze after a brief walk, while the other seems like a ball of endless energy. Why the difference? Well, it turns out there’s a whole lot more to a dog’s sleep needs than just their birthday. You can see more information about dogs at the website: American Kennel Club’s.

Breed Matters – From Couch Potatoes to Energizer Bunnies

Did you know that a dog’s breed plays a huge role in how much sleep they need? Generally, larger breeds, like Mastiffs and Newfoundlands, tend to be champion sleepers. After all, it takes a lot of energy to move all that fluff!

Newfoundland and Mastiff nap together
Illustration: Newfoundland and Mastiff nap together

On the other hand, some smaller breeds are well-known for their seemingly boundless energy. Terriers, for example, were often bred to hunt or work the land, so they may naturally have lower sleep needs. But don’t worry, they’ll happily snooze after a good play session!

And then we have working breeds, like Border Collies or German Shepherds. You might think all that activity would tire them out, but their working instincts can keep their brains buzzing. They might need more mental stimulation and well-structured activities along with their physical exercise to get a truly restful sleep.

Is Your Dog an Olympic Athlete or a Couch Potato?

Just like us, active dogs tend to get tired out more easily and sleep more soundly. If your pup spends all day hiking trails with you or chasing frisbees at the park, don’t be surprised if they crash hard in the evenings.

But if your dog spends most of the day chilling on the couch, they might have pent-up energy that makes it difficult to settle down at night.

Health Check-In: When Sleep Disruptions Signal Something More

Sometimes, changes in sleep patterns can be a sign that something isn’t quite right with your dog’s health. If your normally energetic pup suddenly starts sleeping all the time, it’s definitely worth a trip to the vet. Conditions like these can cause changes in a dog’s sleep:

  • Pain from arthritis or other joint problems
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Neurological disorders
  • Environmental allergies flaring up at night

Sweet Dreams Design: Crafting the Perfect Dog Sleep Space

A comfy bed in a relaxing spot is doggy dreamland! But it might not be that simple, especially if your pup is a restless sleeper or your house is a bit on the noisy side. Don’t worry, though! I’ve got you covered with tips to create a doggy sleep zone that’ll have them snoring in no time.

The Ultimate Dog Bed – Comfort is Key

Think of a dog bed as your pup’s happy place. Choose one that’s the right size – they should be able to stretch out comfortably but also feel a bit enclosed. There are so many fun options:

  • Cozy nests: Great for dogs who love to curl up.
  • Orthopedic beds: Perfect for older pups or dogs with joint issues.
  • Elevated beds: Help keep your dog cool in warmer climates.


Where you place the bed matters! Aim for these qualities in the ideal spot:

  • Peace and quiet: Find a corner away from hustle, bustle, and drafts.
  • Safety and security: A space where your dog feels protected but can still see what’s going on.
  • Personalized touch: Place a favorite blanket or toy in the bed to make it extra inviting. Consider using a calming scent, such as lavender, to promote relaxation.

Snooze Schedule Success: The Power of Routine

Dogs thrive on routine, and that includes their sleep schedule! Sticking to a regular bedtime and wake-up time helps them settle into a healthy pattern. Here’s the idea:

  • Nighttime Wind-Down: Calm things down before bed with a gentle walk or quiet playtime – avoid anything too exciting!
  • Consistent Bedtime: This helps their body know when it’s time to switch into sleep mode.

Nighty Night Troubles? Tips for Common Sleep Struggles

What do you do when your pup whines at night or can’t settle down? Here are some ways to address common sleep issues:

  • Separation Anxiety: If your dog gets anxious when left alone, try crate training with a comfy crate, short practice sessions leaving them alone, and lots of positive reinforcement.
  • Noise Phobias: If thunderstorms or fireworks leave your pup trembling, try creating a safe space like a windowless room and using white noise or calming music to drown out the scary sounds.
  • Late-Night Potty Needs: Make sure your dog’s last potty break is close to bedtime and consider limiting water intake a couple of hours before they snooze.


Wow, we’ve covered a lot about dog sleep! You now know just how important those Zzz’s are for your furry friend’s health and happiness. You’re also an expert on sleep cycles, the things that affect how much (or how little) your dog snores, and what you can do to turn their sleep space into an absolute dream.

Remember, every dog is different! Pay attention to your pup’s individual sleep habits. If you have any concerns about their sleep, don’t hesitate to talk to your veterinarian. With a little understanding and attention, you can set your doggo up for a lifetime of sweet dreams!


Why does my dog sleep so much more in the winter?

There are a few reasons your pup might be hitting the snooze button more often in winter! Just like us, they might be a little more sensitive to the shorter days and colder weather. Some dogs even get a touch of the winter blues, making them sleepier. Also, if they’re spending less time on outdoor adventures when it’s chilly, they might need less sleep overall. Keep an eye out to make sure there aren’t any sudden, drastic changes or lethargy that seems out of the ordinary.

Do all dog breeds have similar sleep needs?

Definitely not! Think about what different breeds were originally bred to do. A working breed like a Border Collie was built for all-day action and has tons of mental energy, so they might need more sleep to recover. On the other hand, some companion breeds like French Bulldogs are natural couch potatoes and may sleep much of the day.

Can my dog’s diet influence how much sleep they need?

Yes, it can! A balanced diet that gives your dog steady energy levels throughout the day will help them have more consistent sleep patterns. Overly processed food or tons of sugary treats could cause energy crashes that make them sleepy at odd times. If you notice big sleep changes after altering your dog’s diet, that’s something to chat about with your vet.

My dog sleeps with their eyes slightly open sometimes – is this normal?

While it might look a bit funny, it can be perfectly normal, especially during lighter sleep phases. However, if your dog’s eyes are always open while sleeping, or they seem to be having trouble closing them fully when awake, it’s definitely time for a checkup with your veterinarian.

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