How Much Sleep Does a Dog Need?

How much does a dog sleep or nap?

All dogs require a lot of sleep – much more than humans. However, the recommended hours vary based on your dog’s age. They say to let sleeping dogs lie, but is it possible for them to lie down too much?

If you’re worried that your dog is getting too much or not enough sleep, this guide is for you. Find out how many hours of sleep your dog actually needs below.


Puppies, like babies, require the most sleep, potentially at least 18-20 hours per day! Puppies might sleep less during the night (because they have to get up for bathroom breaks) but may sleep more during the day to make up for it.

Adult Dogs

Adult dogs generally require between 8 and 14 hours of sleep per day. The average is just under 11 hours. Adult dogs typically get the majority of their sleep at night. However, they still require daytime naps.

Senior Dogs

Middle-aged and senior dogs need about the same amount of sleep as adult dogs (although the scale may tip closer to the 14-hour mark as they age). Seniors typically sleep through the night and into the late morning. They may also take more naps during the day as well.

The Sleeping Cycle of a Dog

Dogs are polyphasic sleepers, which means they sleep on and off during the day and can sleep anywhere and anytime. Humans are monophasic sleepers (we sleep in one long stretch at night). 

Dogs and humans both experience Rapid Eye Movement (REM or dream) cycles and non-REM cycles (deep sleep). However, dogs’ sleep cycles are very short. During a 45-minute period, they will cycle through REM and non-REM sleep twice (each REM stage lasts about six minutes).

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What if My Dog Sleeps a Lot?

Now that you know the answer to the question “How much does a dog sleep?” ask yourself if your dog actually sleeps a lot or if they’re getting the recommended amount (and it just seems like a lot to you).

There could be several reasons why they sleep much longer than recommended. Some reasons are medical, and others are psychological.

The Importance of Sleep for Your Dog

Sleep is essential to your dog’s well-being. The following are some of the most significant benefits quality sleep offers:

  • When they’re asleep, dogs organize all the data collected throughout the day, which aids in memory and learning.
  • Sufficient sleep helps strengthen your dog’s immune system to fight off infections and illnesses.
  • Poor sleep can also cause mood changes in dogs (similar to humans), which may exacerbate behavioral problems. 
  • Sleep is essential to physical recovery, which helps to prevent your dog from getting injured while playing or going for walks.

While one bad night won’t cause significant damage, prolonged sleep interruptions and poor sleep quality could compromise your dog’s overall health. 

What Is Psychological Recovery in Dogs?

Sleep is also vital to your dog’s psychological recovery. Dogs can experience psychological stress and post-traumatic stress disorder, just like humans. Prolonged, unmanaged stress may cause several problems, including the following:

  • Avoidance (even of familiar areas)
  • Increased barking
  • Urinating during greetings
  • Hiding from humans or other dogs
  • Hypervigilance
  • Out-of-proportion aggressive behaviors
  • Shaking

You might also notice changes in body language. For example, your dog might tuck their tail between their legs, pin their ears back, crouch down low, or breathe more rapidly.

Sleep Lessens Stress for Dogs

Sufficient rest can help your dog reset after a traumatic event (such as being attacked by another dog).

One reason for this is that cortisol (stress hormone) levels naturally decrease when they’re asleep. Your dog may also be extra-tired after going through something difficult, so giving them additional time to rest comfortably can help them recover.

Tips for Helping Your Dog Sleep Better

Now that you know how important sleep is for dogs, you might want to ensure your dog gets more quality rest. If you’re curious about how to help a dog sleep better, the following can help:


A consistent routine helps you ensure your dog gets enough rest. It creates regular opportunities for them to lie down throughout the day. It also reduces stress or anxiety caused by novel situations.


Provide your dog with a quiet, comfortable environment. For example, avoid turning the thermostat up too high or cold, and don’t let your dog get too close to heat vents or fireplaces. 

Sleeping Spot

Make sure your dog has a soft, comfy bed to sleep in. Some dogs don’t mind sleeping on the floor (and even prefer it sometimes), but it’s always good for them to have a cozy place to call their own.  


Avoid exposing your dog to unnecessary stress throughout the day.

Enrichment toys like Kongs and snuffle mats can reduce stress and provide mental stimulation. Giving your dog a safe space to go (such as a crate or pen) when new people come over can also help them stay calm. 

Daily Activities

Daily exercise can reduce stress and help you tire your dog out so they sleep more soundly. Make sure they get consistent walks, opportunities to play outdoors, etc.

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When Should You Contact a Vet?

Dogs require a lot of sleep, but it’s still possible for them to get too much. You should contact a vet if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Your dog is suddenly sleeping much longer than usual (i.e., they usually sleep for three hours in the afternoon, and now they’re sleeping 5-6)
  • It’s hard to wake your dog up from a nap
  • Your dog doesn’t want to get out of bed, even for walks or treats

These issues can be signs of health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, heart disease, or arthritis. A vet can conduct an exam and help you identify the cause of their increased fatigue.

Concerned That Your Dog Sleeps a Lot? We Can Help

Your dog needs sufficient quality sleep to feel their best. Use the tips discussed in this guide to ensure they sleep comfortably and enjoy all the benefits sleep has to offer.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s sleep, ask a vet for their opinion.
Cooper Pet Care allows you to connect with a vet online from the comfort of your home. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an exam online.

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