Everything You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Sleeping Patterns
As a loving dog owner, you need to give your dog the best care possible.
Healthy sleeping patterns are a vital part of your dog’s overall well being.
For most of us, our dogs live in the home, so their sleeping patterns need to fit in with our own to create a happy and harmonious family unit.
This article aims to help you understand your dog’s sleep habits (and needs), helping you find a way of making them fit with your own.
Your Dog’s Sleep Explained in Detail
In this post, we are going to cover these important topics related to a dog’s sleep.
- How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?
- Should You Let Your Dog Sleep with You at Night?
- Setting Healthy Sleep Patterns for Your Dog
Before we get into these topics, we want to point out that we are not qualified vets.
The information we share on this site is well researched, and we will provide links to our sources (at the bottom of the post).
However, if you have any concerns whatsoever about your dog’s health, your first port of call should always be your dog’s vet.
Even well written, well-researched articles are not a substitute for the training and experience of a DVM qualified veterinarian when it comes to your dog’s health and well being.
So please do take your dog to the vet if you have any serious worries about their health.
If you are struggling for money and can’t afford the cost of a vet, then you can try looking for local charities or dog owner support groups who might be able to help out.
How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?
When thinking about how much sleep dogs need, two main considerations are important to look at.
- Is your dog getting enough good quality sleep for them to be happy and healthy?
- Is your dog sleeping too much due to some underlying health condition?
Is Your Dog Getting Enough Sleep?
The Breed Matters
The amount of sleep needed varies greatly depending on the breed of dog.
English Bulldogs are well known for sleeping a lot, often from eighteen up to twenty hours per day!
Whereas a working breed such as a Border Collie will usually sleep much less, often under twelve hours per day.
If you think about it, Border Collies are bred to work long, hard days in the fields with the farmers herding sheep and cattle.
So it makes sense that they would need less sleep than Bulldogs, which were originally bred for blood sports and would be required to have intense but much shorter bursts of energy.
Funnily enough, Sumo wrestlers are very similar to Bulldogs in this regard.
They eat a lot, sleep a lot, and then fight very hard for short but very intense periods of time, then they sleep some more.
It Varies from Dog to Dog
Two dogs from the same breed will have different sleep requirements.
The same dog will have different sleep needs depending on their age, activity levels, and body weight.
So as you can see, there is no hard and fast guide as to how much sleep is enough, but there are some useful things to consider.
Believe it or not, although your dog wants their own scent on their beds to make them feel safe, at the same time, they feel good resting on something neat and fresh. See our pointers on keeping the dog bed tidy and free from bacteria, bugs and other negatives.
What is a Useful Rough Guide?
If your dog is healthy and left to its own devices, it will usually get all the sleep it needs.
For most dogs, this will fall in the range of twelve to fourteen hours per day.
As much as possible, you should let nature take its course.
For example, don’t wake up the dog if it is in a deep sleep just because you want the dog to be awake.
Let them rest and then enjoy their company once they have replenished their energy levels.
Is Your Dog Sleeping Too Much?
Sometimes a dog sleeping too much is indicative of an underlying health problem.
It would help if you kept an eye out for any of these early warning signs:
- If your dog starts sleeping a lot more than usual.
- If there are any other changes in the dog’s behavior or condition.
- If you struggle to wake your dog up, or they don’t bounce out of bed when they normally would.
- If they choose sleeping over things they normally love, such as food, walks, playtime.
If your dog displays any of these signs around their sleep, then it is time for a trip to the vets.
It may well be nothing, but it is always worth getting a check-up to be sure, both for your peace of mind but also to start treatment early if any is required.
Should You Let Your Dog Sleep with You at Night?
Traditionally there have always been two sides to this debate.
One side saying you should never let your dog sleep in your bed as it is not safe or healthy for either you or your dog.
The other side saying that it is perfectly natural for us to sleep with our pets, that this is good for all concerned and strengthens the bond between humans and dogs.
The Pros of Having Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed
The good side of having your dog sleep in your bed is that you get to enjoy snuggling up to each other.
Both you and your dog can feel and sleep better, having a warm, cuddly company.
And what better way to wake up and start the day than with your dog happily wagging their tail, excited to start a new day of treats, walks, and cuddles?
This then increases the overall strength of the bond between owner and dog.
Which can then make training and general living much easier.
It also means a deeper and more loving connection between humans and dogs. To us, that is the thing we love most about having pet dogs.
The bond of love between humans and dogs is unrivaled in the animal world, and we are always happy to celebrate it.
The Cons of Having Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed
The is a slim chance of disease being passed from dog to human or vice versa. But if you live in your home with your dog, this is already the case, and sleeping won’t increase this risk much more than lying on the couch with your pet pooch.
Apart from that, the primary downside of sleeping with a dog in your bed is that it may affect your sleep quality.
Dogs have different sleep cycles than humans; dogs tend to sleep in shorter but more frequent cycles, whereas humans usually sleep for one long period.
Dog often (but not always) tend to be lighter sleepers. They stay more alert for danger than we do. This makes them excellent guardians but (potentially) not so good as sleeping partners.
Finally, dogs can be inconsiderate sleepers! Especially the bigger breeds can stretch out and take up far too much space on the bed.
(If you have ever woken up with your dog’s paw in your face, you will know what we mean!)
So, Should You Sleep in Bed with Your Dog?
A recent study proved that humans have been sleeping with their dogs for a very long time (link below).
So while it is not for us to make this decision for you, we certainly do not think you should feel worried or guilty about doing so.
As long as you feel that you can get a decent night’s sleep with your dog in your bed, we can’t think of a single good reason why you shouldn’t.
As a halfway measure, if you do not want your dog in your bed at night, you could either put them in a crate or their own bed in your bedroom.
That way, they get the reassurance of knowing that you are close by, and you get the benefit of a good sleep undisturbed by a dog paw in your face!
Setting Healthy Sleep Patterns for Your Dog
Ideally, you would let the dog set their own sleep patterns that naturally fit into your family’s, with all parties getting an undisturbed night of sleep.
In the real world, it is more complicated than that.
The most important things to consider with your dog are setting a routine and dealing with their toilet breaks.
Setting the Right Routine
The goal for your adult dog should be that they sleep right through the night without any need to go outside for a bathroom break.
If you are welcoming a new dog or puppy into your home, you should start setting a good routine from day one.
Putting them to bed at a certain time and then waking them up at the same time each day.
If you can get them in the habit of going to sleep at the same time each night and waking up the same time each time, this will be really helpful for you both.
This routine will reduce the chance of your dog waking you up during the night.
Dealing with Potty Problems
A young puppy will need to pee and poop at least a couple of times during the night.
You can deal with this using a crate and potty training until they are old enough to hold it in.
Most adult dogs should be able to sleep right through without needing to take a potty break.
But some dogs (for various reasons, including medical conditions) can’t last that long. In this case, we think the best thing to do is to buy an indoor dog toilet.
Once you have trained your dog to use the toilet, you will not have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night to let your dog outside.
You can also make sure that you take your dog for a toilet break right before they go to bed at night. Just make sure they don’t wake you up, needing to go outside.
Dog’s Sleep Our Conclusion
As we said at the start of this post, getting enough good quality sleep is an important factor for both your dog and yourself.
Dogs tend to need more sleep than their humans and have different sleep patterns.
Setting a fairly rigid routine will help train your dog to sleep right through the night (and give you a better night of sleep as well).
By thinking about and dealing with your dog’s toilet needs, you can give both of you the best chance to get the quality of sleep you need.
Finally, if you do choose to let your dog sleep in your bed with you, we say good for you and enjoy all the extra snuggles with your pupster.