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Dogs and Sleeping

Have you ever wondered about your dog’s sleeping habits? Their sleeping habits are a major indicator of their health, as sleep often goes hand in hand with health, so it is important to stay clued up about your pet’s sleep.

Decode your pet’s behaviors and get answers to questions like ‘‘Why does my dog sleep on me and not my husband?’ with this helpful guide.

How Many Hours Do Dogs Sleep?

The number of hours a day your dog needs to get adequate sleep depends on their age, breed, and activity levels.


Puppies need a significant amount of sleep — about 19 hours a day. This important snooze time is used to help your puppy grow and develop their body and brain. Naps are also used to help pups rest after an energetic play session. 

Unfortunately, due to their energetic behavior, it’s not uncommon for your dog to bark at night. This is just a way for them to get your attention for more playtime, a bathroom break, or for affection. Thankfully, they usually grow out of this.

Puppers also age out of needing a lot of sleep as they grow. And by six months old, they will only need about 10 hours of sleep a day, which is very similar to adult dogs.

Adult Dogs

As mentioned, adult dogs only need about 10 hours of sleep, but some might even need as much as 14 hours a day. These pooches include breeds like Mastiffs, Greyhounds, and Saint Bernards.

While most of the snoozing happens during the night, it’s not uncommon for your pet to take a few daytime siestas too. 

Senior Dogs

By the time your dog becomes elderly, their sleep schedule will regress to match what was similar to when they were a puppy. From as early as five years old, your pet may once again need 19 hours of sleep a day.

Dog Dreaming

Like humans, dogs can also have dreams and nightmares. They usually transition into REM sleep about 10 to 20 minutes after falling asleep, when dreaming is most expected. The most common signs of your canine being in dreamland are their twitching eyes and tensing muscles. 

Sometimes their play sessions can even bleed into their sleep, and it’s not uncommon to find your dog barking in their sleep too. They may also move their legs in a running motion, often described as ‘chasing rabbits.’

Occasionally, your dog may shake when they sleep, indicating deep sleep. Usually, you should leave your pet alone to enjoy their dreams. But if you notice them continuing to shake once awake, it could signify something more serious.

While it could be something minor like a slight cold or that they’re feeling chilly, it could also be a sign of them having a seizure. Seizure ‘shakes’ are usually accompanied by drooling, panting, and leg kicking too. So, if you notice any of these, take your pet to the vet. 

It’s not uncommon for pooches to be vocal while they sleep. As mentioned, your pet may bark while asleep and may even sigh now and then. But what do dogs dream about when they cry? They are most probably having a bad dream or might want attention (sometimes both). At this time, don’t hesitate to snuggle up to your furry friend for some comfort and affection.

Dog Sleeping Habits

Just as each doggie, regardless of its breed, has its own personality, it also may have its own sleeping habits. 

One common sleeping habit could be your pet insisting on sleeping in your bed. Of course, this may be a learned habit they’ve picked up from you when you allowed them to sleep in your bed in the first place. But this is also an ancestral habit of them sleeping together as a pack for protection.

An odd habit linked to this is your pup scratching your (their) beds. This is just their way of marking their territory and getting comfortable in their sleeping space. This could also be linked to their natural instinct or as a tendency picked up when they’re a puppy. 

Your bedmate may also have a bad habit of snoring. But why does your dog snore? This could be as simple as them laying on their back, which could be constricting the airflow (similar to humans). If this bothers you, you can simply try to move them to a more comfortable position on their side, and the snoring should stop.

However, sometimes snoring is inevitable — especially if you have a pup with a short snout. Brachycephalic dogs like pugs, shih tzus, and boxers are more likely to suffer from breathing problems and thus wheezing whether they’re sleeping or not.

Dog Sleeping Positions

Did you know your dog’s sleeping position can tell you a lot about its health and personality? For example, if they’re laying on their backs, it means they feel entirely safe and trust their owners. Contrast this with when they’re sleeping curled up in a donut form which may look very comfy but might be a sign of feeling ill.

Of course, canines also like snuggling up to their owners too. When questioning why your dog sleeps on you, these behaviors can tell you valuable information. In short, it can be for a mix of reasons. They could be trying to tell you something, protect you, or just want to get a few extra cuddles in.

Similarly, if your doggo loves sleeping at your feet, it may be seeking some warmth and affection from you. But, if you have a more protective breed, like a Rottweiler or Akita, their reasoning could be different. Sleeping at the foot of the bed is a way for them to mark their territory (you) and keep you safe. This puts them in the best position to jump and attack an intruder. 

However, if you have a more sensitive breed, they may seek to protect you in another way. Pooches can often sense their owner’s feelings and moods. And, if you’re having a bad day, they may sleep or lay at your feet to comfort you. You may also notice an increased amount of kisses and licks then too.

When your dog sleeps, it reveals a lot about how it feels around you. Even when you’re not around, dog sleeping positions can reveal a lot about what your dog is feeling physically and emotionally, and how it feels about the immediate environment.    Canines, as we know, are social animals. Their space and surroundings, …

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