What is the normal amount of sleep for a dog?

June 23, 2021

Dogs need sleep to relax and reset from the day's activities but have you ever wondered how much sleep dogs need in a day and what their specific sleeping patterns are?

All doggos need a good snooze but how much sleep should dogs be getting? Should they be sleeping the same amount as their human owners? Let’s take a look at sleep cycles in dogs and find out how much sleep a dog really needs.

Why is sleep important?

Just like the saying, it is important to let sleeping dogs lie. Sleep is a very important function for all animals. It helps them to recover from both the mental and physical exertion from the day. Sleep and health are highly intertwined. The UK Mental Health Foundation states, “poor sleep can increase the risk of having poor health, and poor health can make it harder to sleep.” Sleep is ultimately needed for the body to relax and reset. 

Golden Hound and British short-haired cat Golden Hound and British short-haired cat dog sleeping stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

What happens when dogs sleep?

To fall asleep, dogs will find a place/position where they feel safe and comfortable. Then the dog will close its eyes and drift through the different stages of sleep. There are two basic types of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep, which are each linked to specific brain waves and neuronal activity. There are 3 different stages of non-REM sleep and 1 stage of REM sleep (referenced by the The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke):

Do dogs dream?

Yes! This occurs most during REM sleep. You can sometimes tell if your dog is dreaming because they will bark, run or twitch in their sleep.We like to think they're dreaming about chasing squirrels and snacking on Monch bars!

Dog sleeping positions

Dogs will sleep in almost any position. We have consolidated some of the more common ones and what they mean:

A Dog's Sleeping Position Gives Insight Into Their Health And Feelings

This position means that your dog feels safe and relaxed in their environment. They do not feel the need to protect any vital organs. It is also an indicator that they are at a comfortable temperature.

Sleeping dog A golden retriever is asleep on the family bed dog sleeping  stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

This position means that your dog is at rest but is also ready to spring into action at a moment's notice. This is not typically a position dogs are in during a deep sleep.

Dog Sleeping Positions - And What They Mean - helloBARK!

This is a common sleep pose for high energy dogs. It usually means they are resting but also ready for play at any moment.

Sweet Dreams  dog sleeping curled stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

This position means that your dog is trying to protect itself by tucking away its vital organs. This position is more commonly seen in anxious or timid dogs. It could also be an indicator that your dog is cold. 

Tired French Bulldog puppy lying on back sleeps soundly on a blanket A sleeping 8 weeks old Frenchie puppy lying on back on a blanket dog sleeping side stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

This position means that your dog completely trusts you and their environment. They are making no effort to protect their vital organs because they feel safe and comfortable. 

How much sleep do dogs need?

The amount of sleep a dog needs varies depending on factors like breed, age, activity and health status. The average number of hours adult dogs tend to sleep is between 12-14 hours, while puppies need more, around 20 hours per day. Dogs tend to sleep the most between the hours of 9:00PM and 6:00AM, with some power naps dispersed throughout the day.


UK Mental Health Foundation “The importance of sleep”. (2016). https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/importance-sleep 

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke “Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep”. (2020) https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep 

Casper. “10 Dog Sleeping Positions + The Adorable Meaning Behind Them” (2020). https://casper.com/blog/ca/en/dog-sleeping-positions/ 

Takeuchi, Takashi, and Etsumori Harada. "Age-related changes in sleep-wake rhythm in dog." Behavioural brain research 136, no. 1 (2002): 193-199.

Bódizs, Róbert, Anna Kis, Márta Gácsi, and József Topál. "Sleep in the dog: comparative, behavioral and translational relevance." Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 33 (2020): 25-33.

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