10 Factors that Affect Your Dog's Sleep

Sleep contributes to maintaining the body's health, not only in humans, but also in dogs. Here are 10 factors that can affect it.
10 Factors that Affect Your Dog's Sleep
Georgelin Espinoza Medina

Written and verified by the biologist Georgelin Espinoza Medina.

Last update: 19 January, 2023

As with humans, your dog’s sleep is very important. Getting proper rest is vital to their health, and overall body function. If they don’t, then behavioral problems or illness can occur. However, it’s common for owners not to bear this in mind. Do you know what factors affect your dog’s sleep? Keep reading and we’ll tell you.

A dog spends about 50% of the day awake and 50% asleep, which is equivalent to approximately 10 to 12 hours of sleep. However, this can be affected by different factors. Here are 10 of them.

1. Age, the main factor affecting your dog’s sleep

The first of the factors and one of the most relevant is age. As with us, sleeping hours vary whether depending on whether we’re dealing with puppies, adults, or older dogs. Let’s look at each one:

  • Puppies: These need more rest than adults. Thus, they sleep between 18 and 20 hours. They usually spend more time sleeping during the day than at night. During the first days of their lives, in their neonatal period, they rest grouped together to help each other to keep warm, as they still don’t have their own thermoregulation capacity.
  • Adults: As already mentioned, these have an average sleep time of 12 hours, with values ranging from 8 to 14 hours. In addition, they usually sleep between 60 and 80% of the night, and 3 to 28% of the day.
  • Seniors: In the case of older dogs, the normal hours of sleep are increased because the functioning of the body changes and they get more tired with their normal activities. They sleep as they did when they were puppies, between 18 and 20 hours. This time is covered in shorter periods, but more frequently than in previous years, both during the day and at night.

2. Breed

A golden retriever.

The breed or size of a dog also influences sleeping time. Generally, larger dogs sleep more than smaller dogs. However, research, in this case, is scarce, and more studies are needed to help determine the exact differences in sleep time between dogs of different breeds.

3. Exercise

As might be expected, a dog that engages in constant and intense physical activity needs more rest to replenish its energy. On the other hand, a less active dog or one that doesn’t exercise enough may have difficulty falling asleep or may have a more uncomfortable night.

Another factor that affects your dog’s sleep is the dog’s physiological state. If the dog suffers from any pathology, is overweight, or has respiratory deficiencies, their sleeping hours change. For example, a study published in the journal VetRecord in the year 2021, shows that brachycephalic dogs have more sleep disorders, which can have adverse effects on the pet’s general well-being.

Adequate sleep brings benefits to the body’s general health, as well as replenishing energy, strengthening the defense system, and improving behavior and cognitive capacity.

5. Changes in routine

Dogs are emotional animals just like humans, and they’re affected by change. So, if you change home or there’s an addition to the family, then your dog may suffer some adaptation problems and their rest routines are altered. In these situations, it’s normal for your pet to sleep either more or less, while they get used to the new situation.

6. The environment, another important factor that affects your dog’s sleep

Likewise, the area set aside for your pet’s sleep is vital, and factors that affect it are if it’s quiet, and comfortable, and if it’s inside the house or outside in the yard. In general, dogs that live in gardens have higher activity records at night, which results in a worse night’s sleep.

7. Noise

Noises can make dogs feel fear and anxiety. They can alter a dog’s sleep-wake patterns. In research published in the journal Behavioural Processes in 2022, it was shown that a dog’s daytime sleep was affected by elements such as noise.

8. Temperature

Likewise, temperature is another environmental characteristic that changes canine behavior as regards their sleep time. In hot seasons, there’s an increase in daylight hours, which leads to fewer hours of nighttime sleep. This was observed in the dogs in the previous study.

9. Moods

A pet’s different moods interfere with its behavior. Bored or depressed dogs – lacking daily stimulation activities – may increase their sleeping hours. The opposite happens with pets that get more attention or those that are more enthusiastic in their daily routines. These ones get more tired and sleep more, because they need to replenish their spent energies.

10. Diet

A dog eating fruit.

Finally, diet as one of the factors that affects the number of hours a dog sleeps. A low-nutritional level diet doesn’t provide the necessary requirements for the proper functioning of the body and produces a lazy state in the dog, with longer daily sleep time.

We have now finished our list of 10 factors that affect your dog’s sleep. Humans aren’t the only ones affected by elements such as noise, diet, age, or environment. Proper sleep means better well-being, thanks to the multiple health benefits it brings.

We recommend that you pay attention to your pet’s sleeping habits and, if you notice any unusual situation, consult your veterinarian. Also, look for ways to improve your dog’s sleep, with a comfortable and quiet area – your dog will thank you for it.

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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.