It may seem like your fur buddy is a sleepyhead who indulges himself in long, luxurious naps. You may even find yourself a bit jealous that he gets to spend his days lounging around. Dogs spend the majority of their days in dreamland, but they really do need their much-loved zzzs.
Average Sleeping Time
Truth be told, veterinarians and other animal specialists haven't yet figured out why dogs sleep as much as they do. Sleep is restorative and refreshing and it feels good. Most dogs, on average, clock in approximately 14 hours a day of sleeping time. Those lucky dogs are very adaptable when it comes to sleep. Unlike humans, they can easily adjust to different sleep patterns. If there is activity going on, they can easily wake up and schedule sleep for a later time without it affecting them too much.
Breeds and Sleep Requirements
Different breeds can have drastically different needs when it comes to getting their doggy beauty sleep. Gentle giants such as Saint Bernards, mastiffs, great Pyrenees and Newfoundlands generally need more than the average 14 hours a day. Sometimes referred to as "mat dogs" because they sleep so much, they may need 18 hours a day of sleep. While most dogs get by on around 14 hours a day, puppies are busy growing and taking in information, so they'll require 18 to 20 hours of sleep a day to recharge. Sleep allows a puppy's brain to process all of the new things he is learning and adapting to in his environment.
Much like their human counterparts, dogs also go through different sleep cycles. Upon first lulling off into doggy dreamland, Max will enter the slow wave, or quiet phase of sleep. This is where his body temperature will drop and his heart rate decreases. He becomes completely relaxed. About 10 minutes later, he will be sent into a REM (rapid eye movement) phase. When you see that furry bundle of cuteness barking in his sleep or moving his legs like he's running in the park chasing a butterfly, he's in REM.
Doggy Sleep Sanctuary
Dogs carry with them many habits passed down from their ancestors, who lived in the wild. Dogs are, by nature, den animals and will seek out a spot in your home that feels much like a den. Underneath a bed, desk, or in a closet may feel like the perfect sleep sanctuary to your buddy. If you see your dog pawing or moving in circles before finally getting comfortable, this is because he's trying to create a den-like mark for himself to make sure his bedding is just right. Dogs also love sleeping with their owners, cuddled up in bed!
By Pamela Miller
About the Author
Pamela Miller has been writing for health, beauty and animal health/welfare publications for seven years. Miller holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication from MTSU.