Dogs are essentially very-fun loving creatures, and they are charged with oodles of playful energy. They spend their time running from one place to another, jumping and chasing onto different things, which drains their energy and leaves them exhausted. To recover from this insane amount of lost energy, dogs require a generous amount of sleep and rest. First-time dog owners often worry about their dog oversleeping or simply lying around the house all day. And the common question is, “How much sleep is normal?” Well, here’s everything you need to know about a dog’s sleeping behavior.
How much sleep do dogs require?
According to a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, adult dogs generally need 12-14 hours of sleep per day. In comparison, young dogs or puppies require a stretched 18 hours long nap. They lose out on their energy faster than adult dogs, and therefore a good 18 hours long nap will help them re-energize and become the ball of happiness that they normally are. Senior dogs will typically need a large amount of sleep too; this is because their body and mind are left exhausted with minimal activity and will need more sleep to regain that lost vitality. To re-boost their body with energy, they demand a solid 18-20 hours of sleep.
Why do they sleep so much?
Unlike humans, your furry family member does not have a 9-5 job. There is usually no fixed schedule or routine for a dog to follow throughout the day. Unless you don’t give your dog rigid training that keeps them active all day, it is quite likely for your dog to take numerous short naps in the day time.
Your dog’s breed also explains its sleeping hours. Breeds like Bulldog, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Greyhound, etc. love naps. Sleeping is quite evidently their favorite pastime. On the contrary, breeds like Pomeranian, Australian Terrier, Labrador Retriever, etc. sleep the least.
Although not a comprehensive factor, sometimes the dog’s size also explains its sleeping hours. Large-sized dogs (either by breed or simply overweight) require more than usual energy even in small body movements. They get exhausted sooner, even with minimal activity due to their massive bodies. This is why they require a more extended period of sleep to recover the lost energy. On the other hand, small-sized dogs have a hyperactive lifestyle. With all the running, jumping, playing, and chasing, they ultimately tire themselves out and then take a long, happy nap until they have restored enough energy to start cheering again.
It might come off as a shocker to you, but just like humans, dogs also recollect and restore all their memories from the day. Their subconscious mind filters memories when they are asleep. It stores important and cherished memories and discards the remaining ones. Dogs also have a 10% of REM in their sleeping time. During this time, they try to make sense of their memories and dreams. You will often see your dog acting out fantasies in their sleep. Such kind of activity while sleeping is also one of the reasons behind their deep periods of rest.
Yes, dog dreaming is real. For a long while, it was unknown whether dogs dream or not. Studies have shown that dogs dream when they are asleep, and their dreams are not the same kind, but similar to humans. Of course, it is almost impossible to know what exactly dogs dream about since they cannot tell us. But, it is understood that they replay their memories in the form of dreams. They dream about their daily actions like chasing a car, eating dog food, barking at strangers, etc. You may notice that your dog is twitching, licking its paw, whimpering, or even barking, for that matter, while it is asleep. Dreams may also influence your dog’s sleeping hours, especially if you have a dreamy one.
This is not sleeping in its exact sense, but more like resting or simply lazing. It is another favorite pastime for dogs. They spend around 30% of their time simply lying around and relaxing. Lounging can be a result of exhaustion or general boredom.
In conclusion, your furry, adorable pet has some essential things to always keep a check on. Sleep is one of the most important ones because it ultimately affects other aspects like hunger, thirst, mental stimulation, etc. Ignoring your dog’s sleeping behavior will not only affect its health but will also hamper your relationship with the dog as it will consider you to be a neglecting and mistreating parent. Dogs are prone to anxiety and loneliness, and these conditions develop and even worsen if their owners do not give them enough importance and care. Noticing, understanding, and helping them with their sleeping problems will definitely sow the seed of trust in their heart for you.