We asked dog owners* how many hours a day they think their adult dog sleeps. The answers averaged around 9.7 hours. Truth is, dogs normally sleep around 12-14 hours a day. (Cats sleep 12-16 hours, which is why it’s called a “catnap,” we presume.) “Normal” can depend on lots of things. Bigger breeds definitely need more z’s. Older dogs tire quicker and sleep more. Growing puppies need up to 20 hours a day. Being cute must really be tiresome.
But why do they sleep so much? We’re not going to let sleeping dogs lie; we’re getting to the answers.
Always on alert
Dogs spend less time in deep REM sleep, so they’re able to wake quickly and be ready to go — whether it’s responding to danger or the opening of a bag of chips. It also means they need to doze more often to make up for that lack of truly restful sleep.
A dog’s diet plays a role in their sleep
In general, carnivores need more rest. “In their wild dog and wolf days, it was a hunt for food, bringing down large prey, then feasting,” says
Opens a new windowDr. Jo Gale, BVetMed CertLAS MRCVS, Senior Manager, Global Science Advocacy at Waltham Petcare Science Institute. “They’d spend a long time digesting and may not eat for a few days. There’s a tendency to conserve energy.” Just think about how you feel after eating a huge steak. Incoming meat coma. Goodbye, belt. Hello, sofa.
Dogs sleep because they are bored
Yawn. When owners are out of the house, dogs often sleep simply because they’re bored. They’re not into books and haven’t quite figured out how to turn on the TV, so why not catch a few extra winks? Plus, they want to be super refreshed when you come back home in the evening.
Can dogs sleep too much?
Some dogs like to sleep longer and some dogs are just lazier than others. According to
Opens a new windowDr. Tammie King, Applied Behavior Technical Leader at Waltham Petcare Science Institute, “You might see more sleeping after intense exercise or they’ve gone to a pet sitter or boarding center due to high stimulation.” There’s usually no cause for concern unless they seem lethargic and lose interest in playing or eating, or begin listening to a lot of emo music.
Losing sleep over your dog’s sleep schedule?
Their wild days long gone, dogs have adapted their sleep schedules to match humans’ sleep schedules. Sort of. They still might get you up in the night or early morning before your alarm goes off. It’s best to exercise them in the morning and evening so they’re more tired — and have used the facilities — right before everyone else goes to sleep.
Now, the only question remaining is, what do you think your dog dreams about?
*Surveyed U.S. dog owners, age 18+
Sample Size: n=201
Fielded May 8-10, 2020
adp_related_article_block300 YOUR --spice-- MAY ALSO LIKE …
adp_related_article_block300 Continue scrolling for next content
Does your mature dog sniff at his bowl and walk away instead of digging in? You may think he’s just being picky, but it’s important to keep an eye on how much he’s eating — especially if he’s a senior. While age-related diminishment of the senses of smell and taste may account for some of his disinterest in food, appetite loss can also indicate a serious medical problem.
“It’s important to give your dog enough calories because weight loss can be debilitating to senior pets,” says Wendy Brooks, D.V.M., who warns that a loss in appetite should be mentioned to your vet. A good rule of thumb: If your pet hasn’t eaten in a day, make a visit to the vet. Here are six ways to entice your canine friend with a nourishing meal.
6 Ways to Encourage Your Senior Dog to Eat More
1. Mix Dry Food with Moist Food
Many animals find canned food more palatable because they like the taste and texture, Brooks says. You can top their favorite dry food with room-temperature wet food.
2. Warm It Up
Dogs like a warm or room-temperature (not hot or cold) meal. Avoid serving him day-old wet food from the refrigerator, and keep his food away from heat. Another reason he might not be eating: It's too hot outside.
3. Try a Change
Dogs prefer consistency when it comes to their food. Don't change every day, but try a new flavor, such as lamb or chicken, and see if he responds (it may trigger his sense of smell). To avoid an upset stomach, introduce a new food by mixing it with his old food in equal increments each day.
4. Stay Close
Common mature-dog health issues, such as arthritis or joint pain, can make it difficult for him to access his bowls. Keep food and water where he spends most of his time. Put a water bowl on all floors of the house, too.
5. Keep the Fresh Water Flowing
Older pets are at a higher risk of dehydration. Provide a clean bowl with fresh water at all times. It will help prevent disease, such as a kidney condition, and aid in digestion.
6. Offer Praise
Dogs are people pleasers. If you see him eating, give him a little verbal reward. He'll know it makes you happy and will repeat the behavior.
adp_related_article_block277 YOUR --spice-- MAY ALSO LIKE …adp_related_article_block277Continue scrolling for next content