Last Updated on September 13, 2021 by Marco
Dogs are just like people when it comes to snoozing. Sometimes they need a little, other times they need a lot of shut-eye.
If you have noticed that your dog is sleeping a lot more than usual, read on to discover some reasons that might explain why you have a sleepy pooch on your hands. There are several medical conditions that cause sleepiness in dogs that should be taken seriously.
Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?
First of all, let’s take a look at what a normal sleeping pattern for a dog is. This way you can compare your dog’s sleeping regimen to see if it differs from the norm.
In a 24 hour period, a healthy adult dog should sleep between 12 and 14 hours per day.
Puppies and senior dogs will sleep more than this, clocking up 18 to 20 hours per day, and 15 to 18 hours per day, respectively.
So as you can see, dogs sleep more than people. If you have a dog that is aged 7 years or more, then you will notice that they tend to sleep more during the day. This is normal.
Help! My Dog Sleeps All Day!
Rather than engage in extended periods of sleep like we humans do, dogs tend to sleep on and off intermittently throughout the day, with lots of daytime napping going on. This is normal, and nothing to be concerned about.
But if your usually healthy dog has all of a sudden started sleeping for longer than the usual amount of time each day, then something may be going on that needs investigating.
A Quick Word On Breed Type
As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the dog, the less sleep they need. Some people think that this is related to life expectancy; smaller breeds tend to live for longer.
So a Jack Russell, for example, would need less sleep than a giant breed such as a Great Dane. So this is something to be considered when you look at your own dog’s sleeping regimen.
And of course, there are the ‘couch potato’ breeds, such as the whippet, who take daytime sleeping to the next level!
Why Is My Dog Sleeping So Much All Of A Sudden?
Now that we have established what is normal for dogs in terms of sleep, based on age and breed, let’s take a look at some of the medical reasons why your dog might be sleeping more than usual all of a sudden.
Could your dog’s excessive sleep be due to lifestyle factors? Dogs who are bored may become depressed, and they sleep the day away. Make sure you are giving your dog plenty of enrichment, meaning daily walks and/or runs, play-time, and access to a variety of stimulating toys, plus lots of love and attention. If you are time-poor and busy, or the weather is bad, many dogs enjoy a fun car ride to beat the blues.
Read more about: Help My Husky Doesn’t Want To Get Up!
Let’s take a look at six medical reasons why your dog may suddenly be sleeping a great deal. They are all serious and potentially fatal conditions and need immediate veterinary attention.
Hypothyroidism is a relatively common endocrine disorder in dogs in which their thyroid becomes underactive, causing bodily functions to slow down. The symptoms of hypothyroidism to look out for include lethargy.
There are two types of diabetes that affect dogs. Excessive energy in the form of glucose builds up in the body, yet the cells that need this energy cannot access it. Some symptoms of diabetes to look out for include a depressed mood and a lack of energy.
Bacterial infections commonly found in dogs include Salmonella, Leptospirosis, Campylobacter, Helicobacter, Streptococcus, Clostridia, Bordetella, and E Coli. These bacterias can be picked up via contaminated water, raw meat, dairy products, and contagion in high-traffic areas such as boarding kennels. The symptoms of bacterial infection to look out for include lethargy and crankiness.
Viral infections that cause lethargy and sleepiness in dogs include Parvovirus. Parvovirus, also called ‘Parvo’, is deadly and kills rapidly. Dogs should be vaccinated against this highly contagious disease from a young age.
When your dog does not produce enough hemoglobin or red blood cells, this results in anemia. Anemia can also occur when your dog suffers severe blood loss due to conditions like stomach ulcers or cancer. Weakness and lethargy are signs of anemia in dogs.
Poisoning is serious. The way dogs can be poisoned include eating rat bait or eating a dead rat that has taken the bait. Never leave bait lying around in barns, sheds, or anywhere that your dog can access. Along with being sleepy, your dog may have pale gums. Get them to a vet right away if you suspect they have been poisoned.
Why Is My Dog Sleeping A Lot More Than Usual? A Quick Summary
Healthy adult dogs sleep more hours per day than healthy adult humans. Their sleep schedules are also different from humans; dogs sleep intermittently during the day. Puppies and senior dogs (7 year plus) sleep even more.
So whilst it may look like your dog is sleeping a lot compared to the human members of your household, this is quite normal.
Breed types can even play a part, with larger breeds generally being bigger sleepyheads than smaller breeds.
However, if your dog is sleeping more than usual, and this sleepiness has come on suddenly, then this is genuine cause for concern, especially if it is accompanied by general lethargy and mood changes.
Lifestyle factors that can make dogs sleep more include boredom due to lack of exercise, stimulation, and attention from you.
Medical reasons why dogs can suddenly need much more sleep than is normal for them include hypothyroidism, diabetes, bacterial infections, viral infections, anemia, and poisoning.
Excessive sleepiness in dogs that is sudden and not usual should be taken seriously. It is better to be safe than sorry, so take your dog to a veterinarian right away for examination and treatment.