Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

Have you ever watched your dog sleep? They look so peaceful and calm. They even look cute when they are dreaming and kicking their little paws a bit. While it’s enjoyable to watch your dog sleep, many pet parents ask why do dogs sleep so much?

The answer to this question is a bit complex because there are numerous reasons dogs sleep and the amount of time varies for different reasons. Many dog owners wish they can live a leisurely life along with their pet, while others can’t imagine sleeping the day and night away.

One of the main differences between the way people sleep and dogs sleep is canines sleep when their bodies need the rest while humans keep on adhering to their busy schedule.

Most dogs spend about 12 hours per day napping and sleeping. This means 50% of their day is spent resting while humans barely get 8 hours of sleep, and for most people, it’s interrupted due to anxiety. Continue reading to find out more about why dogs sleep so much.

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

sleeping dog

There are a variety of reasons dogs sleep so much. The following list includes the most popular reasons:

  • It’s natural for dogs to sleep about 50% of the day, rest for 30% and remain active for 20%.
  • Puppies require more sleep because they are growing. It’s natural for puppies to play and rest, then repeat the process throughout the day.
  • Elderly dogs need more sleep because they are slowing down and don’t have as much energy as a puppy anymore.
  • Illnesses cause dogs to sleep more because they don’t feel well and need time for healing.
  • Obesity or simply being overweight a few pounds causes dogs to sleep more because they burn more energy carrying additional weight.
  • Dog breeds such as the French Bulldog, Shih Tzu, Bassett Hound, Bulldogs, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, and Greyhound naturally sleep more than other dog breeds.
  • Separation anxiety often causes excessive sleeping because the dog is bored or exhausted from the constant feeling of anxiety.
  • Exercise intolerance causes dogs to stop and rest or sleep in unusual places throughout the house. Sometimes if a walk or any other type of exercise is too extreme for a dog, they will stop and rest during the trek.


Q. Why does my dog sleep all day?

A. It’s normal for dogs to sleep about 50% of the day, but if your dog sleeps for long periods that exceed the average amount, it’s best to contact a veterinarian for further assistance.

Q. Why do dogs sleep so much more than humans?

A. Dogs spend a smaller amount of time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep than humans. For this reason, dogs need to sleep more hours to experience more REM sleep for maximum health benefits.

Q. How many hours does a dog sleep in a 24 hour period?

A. Puppies sleep about 18 to 20 hours per day, and adult dogs sleep between 12 and 14 hours in a 24-hour cycle. Elderly dogs usually sleep the same amount as an adult dog but could sleep longer depending on their current health status.

The Meaning of Dogs Sleeping Positions

In the wild, dogs sleep in specific sleeping positions depending on their surroundings. When dogs are sleeping, they become vulnerable to predators, and their immediate environment dictates their sleeping position. Your pooch doesn’t live in the wild, but their instincts still determine their sleeping position. Check out the following sleeping positions and what they mean.

Curl Up Nose to Tail Position

This sleeping position protects organs from predators, conserves heat, and is a comfortable position for dogs.

The Superman Position

This canine sleeping position looks similar to a superman flying through the air. The front legs are extended forward, and the back legs are extended backward while the tummy rests on the floor.

This position means your dog is ready for action and in a position to react quickly. In the wild, this is helpful to scare off predators, but in your household, it means your dog is just waiting to hear their kibble drop into their food bowl or hear their favorite human arrive home to play.

Side Sleeping Position

This popular sleeping pose allows your dog to lay on their side, rest their body, and extend their arms and legs outward. This pose means your dog feels safe and doesn’t mind exposing their tummy and vital organs to the environment because they have no cares in the world in their safe and happy house.

Belly Up Position

sleeping belly up dog

This cute sleeping pose allows your dog to expose their tummy upward towards the ceiling and rest its body and head on the floor. This position is often related to a dog trying to cool down because they feel too hot.

It’s similar to when humans kick their feet out from under the covers while sleeping.

The Lion Position

This position resembles the position of the sphinx in Egypt, but the dog rests their head on top of its paws while sleeping. This cute position means they are resting but not experiencing a deep sleep. A loud noise or a squeak of a toy will wake up this resting dog quickly and easily.

The Donut Position

This position is when a dog curls up into a little ball and tucks its legs under its body. They are trying to preserve body heat and protect themselves as well as adjust to their surroundings. It also means they might be feeling cold and just trying to warm up.

Bottom Line

It’s normal for dogs to sleep for 12 hours a day. Sometimes this can be hours in a row, or time is broken up throughout the day. Dogs naturally sleep and rest their body when their intuition alerts them to stop and rest. If your dog sleeps excessively and shows signs of illness, contact a veterinarian immediately!

A pet parent herself, Shellie knows the ins and outs of caring for a furry bundle of joy. She has been researching, reviewing and sharing her findings for the best dog products available for a number of years. A valued team member, Shellie's first-hand experience is invaluable.

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