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How Much Should Dogs Sleep?

aaGrowing up, my family only had the pleasure of sharing our lives with one dog.  She was a black and white cocker spaniel named Naomi.  In her later years, Naomi went both deaf and blind.  That didn't stop her from enjoy her two true loves in life - eating, and sleeping.

While my current dog, Kitsune, shares Naomi's passion for food, he doesn't spend nearly as much time as she did sleeping.  In fact, Kitsune is so active so much of the time that I began to wonder if he is a bit abnormal in the sleep department.  How much should dogs sleep a day anyways?

Most people work full time jobs, and dog owners I've talked too say that, as far as they know, their dog spends most of their day sleeping.  I work from home, so I know first hand that Kitsune doesn't spend a majority of his day catching Zzz's.  In fact, he can be quite distracting when I'm trying to work because he gets bored - and his ways of entertaining himself are usually not conducive to me getting work done.  I don't know how I'd get through a majority of my work days having Kitsune around if it wasn't for things like puzzle toys, kongs, and chews.

Kitsune generally sleeps through the night but does occasionally wake up to spend time chewing, and to patrol the apartment.

 

After doing a bit of research I discovered that apparently, on average, normal dogs sleep anywhere between 12 to 18 hours a day.  But that doesn't mean you should necessarily worry if your dog isn't average.  Older dogs and growing puppies generally spend more time sleeping.  It's normal for active or high energy dogs (Kitsune falls into this category for sure) to spend less time asleep.  Much like humans, how much sleep a dog needs a day can be a very individual thing.  Although the accepted average hours of sleep for humans is 8 hours a day, I'm sure everyone knows someone who can sleep much less than that and still function normally - or someone who needs more than 8 hours of sleep to get through the day.

It's normal for dogs to nap when they're bored, which is probably why it's so common for dogs to sleep the day away while their owners are at work.  Many dogs adjust their sleep patterns to coincide with their human's, and will also sleep through the night.  It's also normal for dogs to take a series of short naps throughout the day, normally when things are quite and calm, and to stay awake when things are a bit more interesting.

While sleeping a lot can be normal for dogs, owners should watch out for dramatic changes to their pet's sleep cycles, or lethargy.  Sometimes sleeping too much, especially when paired with general lethargy, can be a sign of something more serious, such as illness or a poor diet.  Learn to recognize you're pet's regular sleeping pattern so that you can easily detect when something is amiss.

He may not sleep as much as other dogs do, but Kitsune takes his sleep seriously.  His ancestors may have been wild wolves, but Kitsune is a refined gentleman and as far as he's concerned when it comes to sleeping - the more pillows and blankets and soft things he can snuggle up with, the better!  This isn't a very good video, but just look at how cute he is when he's sleeping...

Sound off in the comments!  How much time a day does your dog spend sleeping?  Do they sleep through the night with you, or go on patrol duty like Kitsune does?

  • Mostly adult dog likely sleeps 12 to 14 hours a day. Puppies might get 18 hours a day. However, if your pet sleeps more or less than the average, that is not necessarily cause for alarm.

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