How Many Hours A Day Do Dogs Sleep? Latest Research

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Dogs are perhaps the most nap-loving animals. We bet that most of the times when you would see a dog, you would see it sleeping. Dog owners often wonder as to how many hours a day do dogs sleep, because everyone seemed worried about the health of their pup and everyone has questions in their mind: is my pup sleeping too much? Is my dog having enough amount of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) in their sleep? Would prolonged sessions of sleeping make my dog dull? Well, this article is intending to answer all of these questions. Let us take a stroll down the dog lane and find out the answers to some of the most important dog questions.

Dogs are the closest friends of human beings and they enjoy a summer afternoon nap just as much as we do. And just because they are our best buddies, they do not confine themselves to limited sleep hours. However, on average, a dog sleeps from 12 to 14 hours a day.[1]

However, when it comes to the sleep time, there cannot be one sleep time for all the dogs; just like humans, the sleep time varies from dog to dog. Even the same dog would not have the same span of sleep all the times; sometimes it would sleep for hours and sometimes there would be brief respites of nap. Contrary to the dogs, puppies have a longer span of sleep; most of them would enjoy a long 18 hours sleep time per day.[2] However, dogs are not totally like humans; unlike human beings, they don’t have a day full of work and thus night is not the only time when they sleep. So, irrespective of how many hours does a dog sleep in 24 hour period that sleep time is not regular, and they actually take several nap breaks throughout the day.

If you want to know the percentage of how many hours a day do dogs sleep, there is no certain answer, however, some experts opine that roughly 50 percent of a dog’s day is taken by the sleep time. Well, it’s too much by the human standards; one wonders how much time Egyptians might have required to build a pyramid if they had such an obsession with sleep.

Another very important question to consider is about the breed. Do all the dogs from all the breeds have the same sleep time or it varies from breed to breed? As per the recent studies, the breeds known for making good guards have less sleep time than others. For example mastiffs are the dogs with highest sleep time: roughly 18 hours a day.[3]

  • How many hours do dogs sleep with REM (Rapid Eye Movement)?

REM is the deepest part of sleep. It is the exact part of sleep when humans and dogs have dreams. As per the recent research, puppies’ REM time is bigger than adult dogs’ REM time.[4] Dogs’ REM time is almost 12 percent of their total dream time.

Also, when it comes to the overall sleep time, puppies sleep from 18 to 20 hours a day as compared to dogs who sleep roughly 12 to 14 hours. This happens because of a lot of reasons but the most obvious one is their age; just like human babies, puppies are also going through the “much needed” growing up phase and they sleep a lot: in fact most of the time you would find your puppies sleeping.

  • Effect of age and diet on how many hours a day do dogs sleep?

It is most obvious and stressed on again and again that dogs are the closest friends of human beings and thus they are very similar to us. This is the reason why different factors like diet and age have their own impact on how many hours does a dog sleep in 24 hour period.

For example, low quality food intake would result in less amount of nutrition and it would also be difficult to digest. This will lead to an overall restlessness, hence immediate reduction in sleep hours.[5] Likewise, aging impacts the dogs’ sleep time. Older dogs tend to move around a lot at night and have very short respites of sleep; it is very identical to their closest friends: human beings.

  • How many hours a day does a lab sleep?

Labs, while they are treated as celebrities among all dog breeds, are dogs after all and they have just as much sleep time as any other dog would have. Adults have a sleep span of roughly 14 hours a day, while pups sleep for roughly 18 hours a day.[6]

However, it is said that while an adult Labrador’s sleep time is just as much as any other dog breed, the sleep time of puppies is sometimes as much as 20 hours a day, especially when they are infants under four months age. On base of this fact, it is safe to assume that their REM period is also longer than other puppies, and thus you can claim that you lab puppies dream more than any other puppies.


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  • Why do dogs like to sleep on your feet?

Dogs may like to lay down or sleep on your feet for more than one reasons. One of the reasons is their obsession with your feet since most of the time they find themselves moving around or with them. They also do so to mark your feet as their territory.[7]

While you are sitting in your couch or simply on a park bench, or while you are in your bed, your most loyal friend would always lay on your feet, have you ever wondered why? Have you ever asked as to why do dogs like to sleep on your feet? Dogs are very smart animals and proven companions of human beings. They are smart just like their human counterparts and they show affection too.

While sleeping on the feet or foot side of bed shows that they love to be around your feet, it also shows possession. During the whole day, your dog plays around your feet, runs with them, sits on them, moves around them and do a lot of other things. Perhaps they like your feet more than any other part of your body and this is why they like to sleep near them. Another reasons is the feeling of possession. A dog is an alpha just like a man, and it wants to mark its territory. By this innocent gesture they show that you belong to them. To the contrary, a very shy and insecure dog would do the same to get a sense of protection.

  • How many hours of sleep does a puppy need?

A puppy is in a growing phase and thus it needs a lot of sleep. This ranges from roughly 16 hours to 20 hours, with an average of 18 hours a day. Puppies have bigger laps of REM as compared to adult dogs. They reach REM in roughly 15 minutes.

  • Why does my dog sleep all the time?

Dogs sleep a lot because of their genetic design.[8] A healthy dog is supposed to enjoy a sleep time of roughly 14 hours and an owner should only be worried if their dog is not sleeping as much as normal routine, because such a change indicates a health problem.

A lot of dog owners show their worries and ask us as to how many hours a day do dogs sleep or why does my dog sleep all the time. Well, here is a very simple technique to double check whether your dog is having as much sleep as required, or it is sleeping too less or too much. First of all, you need to recall as to what was the routine of your dog when you acquired it from a friend or a pet store; if it was an adult dog when you acquired it, you must be able to recall its sleep timings. However, if your dog was a puppy when you acquired it, you should trust on your memory or ask the people who have been around your dog e.g. dog sitter, members of family and friends. Ask them as to what the routine of your dog was when it was a puppy and when it evolved into an adult dog. Then compare that routine with your dog’s present sleep time.

Remember, if your dog was a puppy when you adopted it, you should not worry much if the discrepancy is only of a few hours. It is because puppies sleep for roughly 18 hours a day, while adult dogs sleep for roughly 14 hours a day. This reduction in sleep time is only because of your dog jumping into puberty.

Another trick is to ask some Vet or friend who has or has known a dog of same breed as your dog. Ask them whether your dog is sleeping too much or too less and they will be in a position to answer based on their knowledge of other adult/puppy of same breed. One major factor as mentioned above, is diet and age. With age and diet, dogs tend to sleep more. When a puppy turns into a juvenile dog, its sleep time only decreases. However, when an adult dog grows older, its sleep time either starts decreasing due to restlessness or it increases due to the ever growing demand for rest and decreasing energy level.

And yes, before you ever wonder and ask “Why does my dog sleep all the time?” you should also consider the race factor. Before ever you declare us as dog racists, we better clarify this point. Different breeds of the dogs have different attitude towards sleep. While a German Shephard would like to keep an eye open for intruders, mastiffs would sleep all the day like logs. There is nothing that you can do in case where your dog’s genetics force it to sleep too much or too less.

  • Why do dogs sleep with their eyes open or closed?

Dogs sleep with their eyes closed just like other mammals. However, some breeds sleep with open or semi-open eyes; this is actually the third eyelid and not the eyes that you see. This is an almost transparent reddish tissue covering the eye to prevent dryness.[9]

This tissue is known as nictitating membrane and vets notice it every now and then while operating a dog with open eyes. The purpose of this lid is protect the eyeball and save it from dryness. As per a research of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, 40 to 50 percent of dog tears occur because of this eyelid. This eyelid does not only keep the eyeball moist, but it also protect the eyeball from dust and any such external elements. You should consider it kind of dog’s windshield with its own vipers. It sweeps off the alien material, it protects the eye and keeps it moist.

  • Do dogs go through the same sleep cycle as humans?

Dogs sleep just like humans. However, their sleep cycle is not the same. A human sleep cycle is longer as compared to dogs’ sleep cycle. Likewise, dogs take only 15 minutes to reach REM while humans take from 50 to 70 minutes in order to reach REM.

  • Why do dog’s eyes roll back when they sleep?

This is actually a sign of deep or REM stage in sleep. The eyes rolling up and down, or right to left show the dreams that they are having.[10] In this stage because of deep and peaceful sleep, a dog’s mind relaxes and lets it slip into a state of dreams.


  • What do the dogs dream of?

Dogs also have dreams. However, their dreams only take 2 to 3 minutes at a time and they dream of all the doggy things. This includes, but is not limited to, their owner, their favorite food and their everyday routine and challenges.[11] Also, dogs of small breed have shorter dreams.[12]

While as compared to the dogs of larger breed, the dogs of smaller breed have shorter dreams, they still get those dreams more frequently than their bigger counterparts. Also, medium to big sized gun dogs dream more than other dogs; they have roughly a 6 minutes dream cycle at a time. As per the opinion of experts at dogs even see the face of their owner in their dreams. One sure shot way of learning whether you dog is dreaming or not is to see if they doing twitching and running with help of their paws or not. If yes, then it shows an REM state and dreams are only highly likely.[13]


In the end it is not the hours in your overall sleep time, but the quality of sleep that matters. Your canine deserves a peaceful sleep, full of joyful dreams, just like you do. Make sure to make their stay with you worthwhile and take good care of them so as to help them stay stress-free and relaxed.