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Dog Waving Paw

Dog Blog 1

  • Writer's pictureBecki Gude

Dogs and Sleep

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

There is definitely some hard science and wisdom behind the phrase "Let sleeping dogs lie"! Downtime is so important for dogs. Keep reading to find out more about nap time for our canine companions.

A Dog Sleeping on the Sofa

How much sleep should my dog be getting?

The canine ethogram suggests that adult dogs should get around 12-14 hours of sleep every day, and even more than this for puppies. Sleep gives dogs the chance to process the day's memories and allows their bodies to repair and rejuvenate, the same way that it does for humans. It helps keeps everything from their mental well-being to their immune systems in a good place and ticking over nicely.

Why do dogs need more sleep than us?

It is generally recommended that humans are able to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep to promote optimum health, so why do dogs need nearly double this?

Scientists believe that the answer lies in our sleep cycles and REM patterns. REM, or rapid eye movement, is the phase of sleep in mammals that is essential for enabling functions such as learning and memory.

Dogs spend about 10% of their time asleep in REM, compared to 20%-25% that humans have. With less time in REM, it may be that more sleep is required to process the day's events. Spending less time in REM may also help dogs change their sleep patterns more readily, making deep sleep (the real rejuvenating kind) more difficult to access.

Dogs are also not diurnal (fully awake in the day like humans) or nocturnal (awake at night). They are instead considered to be social sleepers that take cues from their social group on when to sleep. They can fall asleep quickly and easily depending on what is happening around them.

Sleeping Puppies in a Huddle

Puppies need more sleep than their adult counterparts

Why does my dog sleep more than your dog?

There are many factors that can affect the differences in sleep between different dogs:

  1. Puppies will need more sleep than adult dogs (sleep is essential for growth hormone production!)

  2. Older and senior dogs may need more sleep than young adult dogs to recover from their day

  3. Sick and stressed dogs may also sleep more than healthy dogs

  4. Some breeds are selectively bred to need less sleep to help them with their daily tasks (Working lines: think working cocker spaniels and border collies rounding up sheep on a farm!)

My dog goes to daycare and doesn't sleep there...

If you are looking for a doggy daycare in your local area, always pick somewhere that allows your dogs adequate rest or sleep time. It is not a positive thing if your dog is coming home at the end of the day completely exhausted, having had no downtime - it means the day has been too much for them.

At Surrey Canine Corner dog daycare, the dogs have two short nap times, but as much access to the "dog room" as they need if they want a little rest by themselves. The dogs here range in age from 7 months to seven years, and they actively choose to sleep together in a bundle (pictured below) during rest time even though there is plenty of space elsewhere in the room! The group snoring is truly something to behold!

let sleeping dogs lie

Nap time at Surrey Canine Corner Daycare

To summarise, if your dog is having a midday nap - let them enjoy it! Sleep is much more important to our canine friends than catching up on a bit of rest or being lazy. It is imperative for their well-being, their cognitive function and helps them lead happy and healthy lives.

Becki Gude PACT-KSA ABTC - ATI Surrey Canine Corner - Dog training, behaviour & Daycare


References: Bódizs et al (2020) "Sleep in the dog: comparative, behavioral and translational relevance" Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, Volume 33,

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