Ah, the life of a well-cared-for dog...who wouldn’t want to live it? Wake up, go potty, have some food, play, take a nap, potty, play, sleep, eat, repeat!
Have you ever wondered just how long should a dog sleep? Well, dogs need more sleep than humans. They spend ruffly about 50% of their day, or about 8 to 14 hours depending on age, breed, and environmental factors, sleeping! Another 30% of their day is spent doing what’s called “loafing” or just relaxing. Now we really would like to be our dogs, huh?! :-)
Puppies can sleep 18 to 20 hours while senior dogs sleep 16 to 18 hours! This is because puppies need lots of sleep to develop their tiny bodies into healthy muscles, bones, and brain activity. They also need to recover energy after zipping around the house or yard in a frenzy!
Large-breed dogs tend to slumber more than their smaller counterparts. And similarly, working dogs may sleep a little less than other breeds.
The reason canines need so much more sleep than us humans is because they reach the state of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep much less, and for shorter periods than we do. So, they take many power naps throughout the day to make up for less REM sleep.
Sometimes people ask if their dog sleeps too much and should worry. The short, general answer is no, and you shouldn’t worry if your dog accumulates many hours of sleep per day. As you live with your dog, you’ll learn her patterns, what’s normal for her. It’s time to call the vet if you see a change in her habits, or she’s hard to wake up, or she’s not eating normally.
Dogs do dream, though. Have you seen your pup twitching or kicking his legs, wagging his tail, or even barking or whimpering in his sleep? It’s so funny and cool to watch! It is thought that they’re replaying the day’s events in their heads. During restful times, it is believed, dogs process and organize thoughts and emotions and the day’s activities just like we do. That’s another reason rest and sleep are so important, not to mention it helps with cognitive ability and healthy immune systems. Some researchers think dogs sometimes dream of their owners, too. We dream about our pooches sometimes, so it seems reasonable they could also dream of us, right?
One thing to note - it’s best not to abruptly wake your dog while she’s sleeping, especially during a dream/REM sleep, as it can teach her it’s not safe to sleep. If you need to wake them or you’re concerned, gently call their name to bring them out of the dream and into reality. The old adage “let sleeping dogs lie” has some truth to it!
Have you ever seen your dog dreaming? What was he doing? What do you think he was dreaming about? Make it up - was he leaping through a field of wildflowers? Gnawing on a big soup bone? Let us know by commenting below! :-)