Dogs and humans don’t sleep the same way, so it can sometimes be tough to understand how well your dog is sleeping. In general, dogs sleep adaptively, and can get the rest they need on a flexible schedule. But sometimes, they need your support, and there are things you can do to ensure your dog is able to get the rest they need.
How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?
Compared to humans, dogs sleep much more. While humans generally sleep about seven to 10 hours each night, dogs sleep about 12 to 14 hours in a 24 hour period. Of course, that’s a general guideline, and age, health, and activity can vary sleep needs.
For example, puppies sleep practically all day with up to 20 hours of sleep each day. Elderly dogs and large breeds tend to sleep longer than younger, smaller dogs.
Do Dogs Sleep at Night?
Generally, dogs will sleep when you sleep and when you’re not engaging with them. That means you can expect they’ll sleep at night while you’re in bed, but that’s not all of the sleep they need. Dogs will make up additional sleep needs during the day, usually resting while you’re at work, not at home, or otherwise not engaging with them.
How Dogs Sleep
Dogs go through sleep cycles like humans do, but not in the same way. They can sleep in short stretches, so they reach deep sleep in about 10 minutes, compared to the 70 to 90 minutes it takes humans to get to deep sleep. This stage is when they dream, so you may realize your dog is in deep sleep when they are lightly barking or running in their sleep, moving their eyes, or twitching.
But even though dogs can get to deep sleep quickly, they can wake up easily. Dogs typically sleep in a state of readiness so they can wake up quickly to stay safe or defend their family.
Supporting Healthy Dog Sleep
Often, dogs don’t really need your help with sleep. As flexible sleepers, they can instinctively figure out when it’s a good time to sleep, and when it’s a good time to do other activities. Of course, there are exceptions, and some dogs do struggle with sleep.
Some indications your dog is having a hard time with sleep include being unusually tired, sleeping much more than usual, and other health changes. You should talk to your dog’s veterinarian about health changes and trouble with sleep so they can rule out any serious issues.
For healthy dogs, supporting good sleep can be as easy as offering overall healthy habits. Just like you feed your dog nutritious food, and offer exercise and stimulation throughout the day for their overall health, you can continue to do so for their sleep health. Stay on top of vet checkups, and make sure your dog has a comfortable, restful area where they can sleep and feel at home.