We all know that sleep is important for human newborns, adolescents, and adults, but we don’t always adhere to strict sleep schedules for ourselves. Our pets’ schedules tend to follow the routines we create within our homes. But does a healthy sleep schedule even matter to man’s best friend? According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), it does!

Although your pup’s sleep pattern isn’t exactly like yours, quality sleep is just as important for their long-term health and well-being. Learn more about healthy sleep for dogs, if dogs dream, and when too much sleep may be a sign of bigger health complications.

How Much Sleep Is Normal?

white and orange dog sleeping in the sun, on a cozy bed

When you start to develop your pup’s sleep schedule it’s important to consider their age, breed, and activity level during the day. Generally, most dogs sleep 12-14 hours throughout the day. Puppies, older dogs, and larger breeds tend to snooze more frequently.

If your dog is sleeping more than normal, you’ll want to start paying attention to what their waking hours are like. Much like human toddlers, puppies and certain dog breeds will alter their behavior to let you know they’re not getting in enough zzzz’s.

Do Dogs Dream?

brown puppy sleeping on a rug

Compared to humans, dogs only spend a small portion of their time asleep in the REM (rapid eye movement) phase. However, it’s in this short phase that you may see them react to dreams.

It only takes about 20 minutes before your dog will enter the REM cycle of sleep. You’ll know they’re dreaming by whimpers, small barks, or twitching ears and feet. You may see this happen more often after vigorous exercise or playtime and when they’re snoozing in a familiar, comfortable place.

If you think your dog is dreaming—good or bad—it’s best to let them be. Being awoken from the REM cycle can be startling. This may result in unintended bites or grouchy (nippy) pups during the day.

Signs Your Dog May Need More Sleep

pug dog resting in bed with his owner, but eyes open, not sleeping

Environmental changes can impact how much you and your dog sleep. If you’ve recently had to change your schedule and leave your beloved pet home alone longer than normal, your dog may get bored or lonely, and sleep to pass the time more quickly. Or if you’ve added new playtime or training routines, they may just be pooped!

If your four-legged friend’s sleep pattern (or lack of one) is disrupting your household, they’ve developed destructive behaviors, or they’ve started to have more accidents indoors, consider creating a more consistent sleep routine or seek veterinarian care to rule out any health problems, such as urinary tract infections. Dogs can suffer from sleep disorders, just like humans, so if you begin to notice signs of these, schedule a check-up as soon as possible. The staff at Bayside is here to answer all your pet-related questions, including any concerns you have about your dog’s sleeping habits. Schedule your dog’s next wellness visit with us, and we’ll make recommendations on how you can help your canine get the best sleep possible!