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Why do dogs sleep so much?

Updated on January 4, 2013

Dogs really know how to sleep, they sleep a lot! Did you know that most dogs spend more that fifty percent of their day sleeping? Basically, dogs would sleep from 12 to 14 hours a day but some breeds are known to sleep more. The sleeping behavior of the dog depends on a lot of factors. The age, the personality, the breed as well as the activity of the dog counts a lot for the number of hours spent sleeping.

Sleeping dogs

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Reasons why dogs sleep a lot

Generally, dogs sleep all day when they do not have anything else to do. Oftentimes these dogs are left leashed alone in the yard and the family would see the dog only during meal times. Dogs that are left alone at home all day are also known to sleep a lot. Humans would do this too when there is nothing better to do.

The sleeping nook of the dog

The place where the dog sleep also counts a lot on the number of hours spent sleeping. Primitive animals used to sleep in dens and on the forest floor. Some are known to bed on snow. These primitive dogs would trample the vegetation and the snow to make the bed comfortable. Domesticated and pampered dogs are given a comfortable and peaceful place where they can sleep. Most often they have blankets or a padded crate or dog bed to sleep on. Some are even allowed to sleep on the master's bed. The comfortable bed and the ideal temperature make the dog sleep soundly for a much longer time.

The notion that the dog would sleep anywhere is a misconception. Even primitive dogs have to choose where they are going to sleep. Alpha dogs always choose a higher place to sleep on. Domesticated dogs that don't have a dog bed would sleep under the strains, under the tables or on the couch. Sleeping in these chosen places gives the dog security.

How do dogs sleep?

Just like humans, dogs have the slow wave sleep (SWS) phase and the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The dog is on the SWS phase when it is very still and breaths deeply. When the dog is jerking the leg and rolling the eyes under closed lids the dog sleeping deeply and under the REM phase.

Commonly, puppies sleep together. A dog trying to conserve body heat curls its body to sleep. A tightly curled body means that the dog is not sleeping, as to sleep the dog must be relaxed. A dog that sleeps on its back with the feet up is not clowning and making you laugh. The dog is trying to cool the body since the stomach is not covered with dense hair.


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    • profile image

      Ale 4 years ago

      My dog does not sleep never

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      Anneteceree 4 years ago

      My partner and i accustomed to acquire high on living nevertheless as of late We've piled up any resistance.

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      michelle 4 years ago

      my dog has just recently started to sleep all the time, i am worried. she is usually out going but thelast month all she has done is sleep. i took her to the vet and they done blood work and it came back fine, they checked for everything. she will get up to go out 1-2 times a day maybe eat/ drink a lil and right back to bed she goes. the vet has no explaination for this. can anyone help??

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      Linda 5 years ago

      Hi my dog goes in and out of my legs almost tripping me. And won't leave my feet alone. What can I do

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      ROBERTA 5 years ago


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      tommy 5 years ago

      Thank you. i felt bad and thought i'm abusing my dog by ltting him sleep so much and worried that i'm not keeping him 'interested' enough, so he sleeps. its nice to see he is not the only one.

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      Danette 5 years ago

      My Flea sleeps all the time. she get plenty of exercise two or three days a weeks running around on seven acres of land . She is also spoiled. She sleeps everywhere but the kitchen and bathroom.

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      mimi 6 years ago

      my 1 month puppy sleep a lot this time i dont know why and she doesn't eat much is she gonna be okay?

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      MightyBee 6 years ago

      My dogs sleep ALL night, every night and then when I let them out side in the mornings they go back to sleep. They sleep all day unless we are out there with them or we are making noise inside, is that normal?

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      juliana 6 years ago

      my puppy sleeps any place any time and i started to get worried

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      Dominique 6 years ago

      hi my 4 year old yorkshire, does not want to move, just wants to sleep all the time,i can pick him up and it is like he is dead. he does not cry his poo is fine and so is his urine, there are no signs of being sick, he just looks like he is dying

      can someone tell me what might be wrong

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      Fred 6 years ago

      My puggle sleep so much..but he is also very active while not sleeping..thanks for the great post


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      Sherry 6 years ago

      Do dogs sleep more when they are in heat? I have a nine month old blue heeler/toy austailian shepard that is in heat and all she has done the last two days is sleep, she drank some water but not eating much, should i worry????

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      Sylvia 6 years ago

      I have a Llaso Apsso, Sindy Lou who is nearly 18 and sleeps approx 20-22 hours per day. Unfortunately, she has her problems like most Llassos; she is now deaf, has dry eye, currently has an ear infection and just getting blood tests as she may have kidney problem as she is drinking and urinating excessively which unfortunately I thought was the norm up until Sindy peed infront of the VET! I hope she gets sorted tomorrow. Bless her she has had a good innings!

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      Emily 6 years ago

      All the 3 dogs look so cute in the video and the interesting thing is that my dog also wags his tail while sleeping.

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      Rose 6 years ago

      My two APTs sleep in my bed under the covers with me all night and they snore. My bed is really big and fits us all in including my boyfriend. They usually sleep at our feet but sometimes right beside us with their heads on our pillow.

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      Donna Young 6 years ago

      My dog has been sleeping a lot lately. We took her to th e vets he said she has cancer of the spleen She is not in any pain He did some blood tests and then he felt her under carriage Dr said if there is cancer to got he would choose this one Is this true He said when she sleeps its because she is bleeding into the spleen is this true ty

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      ScaredMommy 6 years ago

      I recently got a shih tzu and I just found out when we got home 4 days ago that she is sick. She has colds and breathes deeply. She sleeps all day and eats a little. I get her up so she can exercise but she goes back to sleep right away. I'm so scared. I brought her to the vet 2 days ago and the vet gave her a shot. The morning after, she was okay and playing a looot. But when night came, she became so sleepy again. Please help me :( I'm so scared.

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      mark 6 years ago

      the more you exercise your dog the longer it will live. It's sleeping because the owner is failing to stimulate it enough with play, walks, exercise.

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      Josh 7 years ago

      But why does my dog sleep so much? Is she bored, or sickly, or lazy?

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      Bryan 7 years ago

      I Have a Puppy She's About 6 wweks old and she sleeps A lot. She always wants too sleep next to me. If I'm not there she won't go to sleep. And when its bedtime. She goes under the cover and goes by my legs. I leave her there because she will go back anyways. She's spooilied so she sleeps on the bed! Also she's always crying at night and crys by the corner of my bed. What's wrong ?

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      Mariah 7 years ago

      I have a lab .. and she isz 9 weeks and she sleeps moslty all day . in the mornings she gets up eats then i take her outside . sen she comes in plays a little then goes right back to sleep in a basket of clothes . then when she wakes up i take her outside then she comes right back in a goes back to sleep . wat does this mean .!? and when i was taking her for a walk one day she barly wanted to walk cause she wanted to go to sleep so bad wat does this really mean .!?

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      Me 7 years ago

      My dog sleeps about 20 hrs a day is that normal she is a spoodle & is almost 5 she is very active & sporty too

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      Katlyn 7 years ago

      My dog Freckles will sleep in any small space she can. She doesn't mind sleeping on the couch, but she prefers to sleep in her kennel or hidden somewhere under our office desk.

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      skye 7 years ago

      my puppy is 7 weeks old and named Lu-Lu its a puggle its super cute but she sleeps and bites (teething)

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      Marlene 7 years ago

      I have a 4 year old female jack Russell. She recently had some infection with high temperature which was vet treated but now after being home for 2 weeks she just sleeps most of the day and night.Anything to worry about please?

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      Cheese Doodle 8 years ago

      My Lhasa Opsa loves to sleep. But he is the king of my house so whatever he wants to do is fine. He sleeps about 20 hours a day during the week. He only gets up to eat the meals I make for him, always mixed veggies with filet mignon or baked chicken or lean ground beef, turkey or veal. Then he goes out to poop and back to his cushy bed.

      On the weekends he gets to go out and frolic for as long as he wants, usually about 2 hours then he comes to door and barks when he is done playing and goes back to sleep. HE lives, sleeps and eats better than most humans and that,s the life i gave him which is fine by me. I didn't have him fixed either, I think that is cruel to chop off a boys nuts.

    • jackinabox profile image

      jackinabox 8 years ago

      Curling up while sleeping does not always mean that a dog is cold. Sometimes dogs like to curl up because it makes them feel more safe.

      Having an oval shaped dog bed does not necessarily mean that your dog will not be able to have a good nights sleep in it. If the bed is large enough it will not be a problem. A rule of thumb is to measure your dogs length in its normal sleeping position and add at least another 9 inches.

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      Iloveporshie 8 years ago

      My dog is small and she curls up a lot when she sleeps, does that mean she is always cold. i just thougt she did that a lot because she is small. she sometimes stretches out but the doggie bed my mother got for her is shaped like an oval and the perfect place for her to curl, does this mean she cant sleep well in it? just curious...

    • bukakke profile image

      bukakke 8 years ago

      My dog sleeps a lot too.

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      Eternal Evolution 8 years ago from kentucky

      Both my dogs tend to sleep a lot. Mine are spoiled and are allowed to sleep in the bed, until i go to bed, then they must get down.

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      DawgDad 9 years ago from Denver

      Jackinabox, what a great hub you have here. My Bulldog sleeps a ton and I was looking for answers.

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      brad4l 9 years ago from USA

      My dog sleeps a lot and interesting to hear an explanation of why they sleep so much. I don't let my dog into the bed, but I do let her onto the couch and recliner, so she usually sleeps there. She makes a little nook out of the blankets.