Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

July 10, 2015

dogs sleep siniBy Laurie Darroch

It may seem like your dog is sleeping too much, but their lifestyle, amount of exercise, and what breed they are may affect the amount of sleep they need. Even the age of the dog impacts the amount of sleep they require.

Age and Size

Puppies sleep excessively. They run around using every bit of energy and then suddenly crash and sleep, almost mid step at times. It is very much like dealing with a human child who has bursts of exuberant energy and plays hard until they drop from exhaustion. Conversely, older dogs sleep more than younger ones. As dogs age, they slow down. The size of your dog can be a factor as well. Larger dogs tend to sleep more than smaller dogs.


Dogs react to the people and environment around them. If they lose a companion, it may affect their behavior or mood. That can be true whether it’s a human or another dog companion. They are very loyal and like their routines. Losing a being they love can make them depressed.

If you move to a new house, are in a stressful living situation, or become part of a new family, it takes time for your dog to adjust, the same way it does for you. This may show itself in increased amounts of time spent sleeping. Be patient and help them to adjust.

Medical Reasons

If you are concerned about the amount of time your dog is sleeping or his sleep time seems to have increased for no apparent reason, have your vet check him out. There are medical concerns that can be linked to excessive sleeping. Diabetes is one such condition. Among the possible signs signaling the onset of diabetes are lethargy and excessive sleep. Infectious diseases such as parvo virus, Lyme disease or rabies, for dogs sleep joiexample, can include sleepiness and lethargy in the list of symptoms. Hypothyrodism can also cause sleepiness. Your vet will be able to sort out any more extreme cause for too much sleep, if your dog’s sleep patterns seem to have changed dramatically.

Activity Level

Working dogs spend a lot more time being active every day. The physical demands and mental challenges of a working dog (such as a sheep herder or farm dog), require that they stay awake and alert. Work gives a dog something to focus on and something to do.  An active dog is not going to be sleeping all the time.

Many other dogs live a more sedentary lifestyle. They may sleep a lot out of sheer boredom. If you are concerned, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and interaction with you and others. Take them for walks. Play with them and leave dog toys where they are easily accessible to them. Hide some CANIDAE dog treats around the house for them to sniff out. Give them activities that stimulate their minds and bodies. We humans get bored when there is nothing fun to do, and so do dogs. If your dog gets stimulation and exercise during the day, they will sleep better at night.

Type of Sleep

Dogs have similar sleep patterns to humans. When a dog has reached full sleep, you can see how their body releases and relaxes. Once they enter REM sleep, they appear to be dreaming when you see movement or hear whimpering or other sounds while they sleep. Dogs sleep more than humans do, but their sleep is more interrupted than ours. They wake up easily and are often on alert.

If you are worried about how much your dog sleeps, or you see some extreme change, keep all the possibilities in mind. If you are still concerned, it’s always good to see your vet. Otherwise, let sleeping dogs lie! Sometimes a snooze just feels good.

Top photo by Sini Merikallio/Flickr
Bottom photo by Joi Ito/Flickr

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

Share this: