Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?


It seems that whenever I look over at my dog, she is always taking a nap.  I would say a cat nap, but dogs nap so much differently than cats!  I can be on the computer with her sound asleep on the bed, even snoring, and if I move to get up and go to the bathroom or make a snack, she is probably ready to go even before I am.  Despite being seemingly asleep, she is always on the alert for the next big adventure and most specifically making sure I am not outside of her sight (even if she is sleeping!).  So why do dogs sleep so much?  How is their sleep similar or different from ours?  I know I wish I could have the awesome command over sleep that my dog does!

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?The amount of sleep dogs get primarily depends on their breed.  Most dogs spend about half of their adult life asleep, or 12 hours a day, although some breeds will sleep as much as 18 hours a day!  So really now, why do dogs sleep so much?  Most of us would not (or could not I should say) sleep 12 hours a day. That’s crazy, we have to go to work and stuff.  Oh, wait…..a dogs sleep cycle is actually very similar to that of a human’s.  Dogs have two main cycles of sleep, slow-wave sleep, and REM sleep.  Unlike us, however, dogs do not go into a “deep sleep” and are always alert.  As such, dogs do not get as much “sleep” in single periods as we do, because things are always waking them up to monitor the situation.  So although you may think your dog is sleeping a whole bunch, they are actually probably awake half that time.

Just like us, working dogs actually sleep much less than dogs who sit around the house all day.  And just like us, a dog will sleep out of boredom (They can’t exactly go play a video game now can they?).  A dog that is running around with a job all day will sleep much less than a dog that sits around inside all day.  A dog that is older will sleep more.  As well as sick dogs, or dogs that sits in its crate multiple hours per day.  Their sleep is not too much different than ours if we were put in their situation.

Now that we know why do dogs sleep so much, what do we do about it?  Well, if you have ever heard the phrase “Let sleeping dogs lie”, it is totally true.  There is no reason to wake up your dog if they are napping just because they are napping.  If you have something to do, great!  Call them and they will be ready to go before you are!  Dogs make up for this readiness with more sleeping periods throughout the day, which may seem odd to us, but is perfectly natural and healthy for them.