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Dog sleep: A guide

Dogs can go from energetic to dozing in their bed (or your sofa) in the wag of tail. But how long do dogs actually sleep for?

How long do dogs sleep?

Dogs sleep a lot and should be getting in a lot more hours than their owner. There are many factors that determine the amount of sleep a dog needs, including lifestyle, age, and breed. 

For example, an active Border Collie may need less time on the doggy bed than a Basset Hound that goes on the odd, gentle walk. Learn more about dog’s sleep habits, and get advice, tips, and a look into potential sleeping disorders.

How many hours a day do dogs sleep?

On average, dogs sleep more than humans, with senior dogs and puppies kipping longer overall. Dogs are many things, including intuitive power nappers. Roughly 60-80% of their sleep will align with their owner’s schedule, with anything else achieved through little kips in the day. That’s why you’ll often see dogs curled up, dozing off.

Age is pivotal in determining the average number of hours a day your dog should sleep:

  • Puppies. While research is limited, puppies require around 18 - 20 hours of sleep a day. They tend to nap more during the day and spend less time sleeping at night. Puppies need lots of sleep to help them grow.  
  • Adult Dogs. Adult dogs sleep for an average of 11 hours a day, although this can range between 8 and 13.5 hours. If your dog sleeps in this range, they’re likely okay. Just like us, they function on their own needs. It’s worth noting that adult dogs sleep longer at night in line with their owner’s schedule, but nap more in the day. 
  • Senior Dogs. Senior dogs sleep more, both in the day and at night. You can expect more frequent naps, and them staying in bed later in the morning. 

Where should a dog sleep?

Dogs are versatile sleepers and are mostly happy to settle down when and wherever they can. The way dogs sleep often depends on their breed. For example, if you’ve got a pup with a thick coat, they may like to shuffle about on their back to cool off. If your dog is a little chilly you may find them curled up in a ball to retain heat.

Dogs differing body shapes mean they may have a unique position that is comfortable to them. It’s worth paying attention to your dog’s favourite sleeping position, as it could tell you how they’re feeling. 

Dogs can sleep almost anywhere – even on a hard wood floor, though they’ll often look for cooler spots. They may even want to cozy up with you, but it’s important to give them a bed of their own so they have their own space to retreat to if they want.

While dog beds are comfortable, it also gives your pup a place that’s theirs. Giving your dog a bed means comfy spots like your sofa may stay free from dog hair and last longer. It could also stop them from trying to sneak in bed with their owners at night. Comfortable orthopaedic dog beds could help an elder canine ease pain and get comfy.

Is my dog getting enough sleep?

Dogs sleep a lot, but because of their sporadic sleeping habits it’s not always easy to know if they’re sleeping enough. There are several signs that your dog isn’t sleeping enough, which could all point to different issues. Common signs your dog isn’t sleeping include:

  • No longer napping in the day
  • Restlessness at night or insomnia
  • Lethargic, whiny, and disinterested in play
  • Inability to self-regulate or focus
  • Anxious behaviours 

Just because your dog exhibits these behaviours now and then, doesn’t mean there’s an issue. But if issues persist long term, there could be a problem. It’s hard for your dog to communicate what’s wrong. There are many things that can affect a dog’s sleep, but some include:

  • Changes in diet
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Dementia
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Pain or irritation

Dog sleep disorders

As with humans, there are a variety of common sleep disorders which can affect dogs. By learning about them, you may be able to help your pooch get a comfortable night’s sleep, or at least be able to identify them early to solve any issues.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

If your dog’s nose or throat is blocked internally, they may have difficulty sleeping. Signs of this condition include noisy breathing, gasps or chokes, lethargy, and mouth breathing. Most breathing symptoms are worse when your dog is in REM sleep.


Narcolepsy is a disease that causes an abrupt and involuntary loss of movement – essentially, they fall asleep suddenly. While this isn’t painful, it could lead to stressful situations for you and affect your dog’s sleep behaviours. For the most part, your dog will regain consciousness and continue as if nothing happened.

REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder 

REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder results in exaggerated and violent limb movements; howling, growling, or barking. It can also mean chewing or biting during REM sleep.  If you’re noticing odd behaviours, or your dog seems active during sleep, it could be due to this disorder.

How to help your dog sleep better

Establishing good sleep behaviours and creating a welcoming rest environment is an essential part of helping your dog sleep. While you may want to keep their tail wagging, they also need plenty of time to relax. 

Give them a bed they can call their own in a quiet part of the house. Exercise is important but remember to give your dog time to sleep and relax during the day. If it’s all go, all the time, they may not get chance to recharge, which can lead to poor health or behaviour issues. 

Try to set a routine and schedule for your dog to follow. You may not be able to predict every nap, but if you give them time after a walk and make sure they’re settling in their bed at night, it should naturally fall into place. Try to let them sleep alone too, so they’re not distracted by you. If you’re there, they’ll probably want to play.

Puppy dog sleep 

Sleeping can be more challenging for a puppy, especially as they’re trying to get used to a sleep routine. It’s important to establish patterns for an adult dog, but for a puppy it’s essential. Good habits can form the basis for long-term sleep health early on in a dog’s life. Some ways to help a puppy sleep include:

  • Let your puppy sleep in a crate or confined space, rather than your bed
  • Take your puppy for toilet time before they sleep
  • Give them chance to wind down, turn off the lights, and make sure they’re not distracted
  • Choose a place for your puppy to sleep and commit to it. Resist those puppy dog eyes
  • Check in on them, they may need the toilet in the middle of the night

Sainsbury’s Bank Dog Insurance

If your pooch is showing any signs of sleep issues, please discuss these with your vet. Sainsbury’s Bank Dog Insurance lets you and your pet sleep easy, giving you financial protection against issues that might arise with your dog’s health. Find out how Sainsbury’s Bank Dog Insurance could help you today.

Frequently asked questions 

How long do dogs sleep in 24 hours?

The amount of time dogs sleep in a 24-hour period varies, but the average, adult dog will sleep for around 11 hours. Most of this time will be at night, with naps throughout the day.

Do dogs sleep all night?

Yes, their schedules usually align with their owners. However, puppies may wake earlier and spend more time napping than an adult dog.

How long should dogs sleep by age?

Generally, adult dogs should sleep between 8 – 13.5 hours depending on their breed with 11 hours being the recommended amount. Senior dogs may sleep slightly longer on average, and puppies tend to sleep less at night but nap more. New puppies may sleep for the majority of the day .

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