Different species sleep for different amounts of time on a daily basis. For instance, the average dog sleeps for about 12 to 14 hours on a daily basis, which is quite a bit more than the average human. Apparently, this is because 10 percent of a dog’s sleep is REM sleep whereas 25 percent of a human’s sleep is REM sleep, meaning that dogs need the additional hours of sleep to make up the numbers. However, it is interesting to note that dogs make up for this by having a very flexible sleep schedule, meaning that they don’t need to get all of those 12 to 14 hours in a single session.
Of course, it is important to note that different dogs can have very different sleep requirements. For example, puppies tend to use up a lot of energy by learning as well as exploring their environments, so much so that they can require 18 to 20 hours of sleep. Meanwhile, dogs tend to slow down over time, with the result that older dogs tend to need more sleep as well. On top of this, some breeds need more sleep than others. There are both big breeds and small breeds that need more sleep than most of their counterparts, but for the most part, it is the bigger breeds that make up the bulk of the sleepiest breeds.
Should You Be Concerned If Your Dog Is Sleeping Too Much?
Having said that, it is very understandable for a dog owner to be concerned if their dog starts sleeping more all of a sudden. There are potential explanations besides some kind of medical condition. However, it is definitely possible for a medical condition to cause a dog to start sleeping more, meaning that this is something that needs to be checked out sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, there is a wide range of medical conditions that can cause a dog to start sleeping more. For example, it is possible that an older dog has arthritis, meaning that they will sleep more because they don’t want to experience the pain that comes from moving about too much. Likewise, it is possible that a dog has either a metabolic disease or some other medical condition that is sapping their energy, with the result that they need to spend more time resting and recuperating from their exertions. In any case, there are some very serious medical conditions that can cause a dog to start sleeping more, meaning that this needs to be taken seriously.
Besides this, it is worth mentioning that a lot of dogs sleep more than they need to because they live very boring lives. Basically, dogs evolved for a fair amount of activity over the course of a normal day. Their distant ancestors had to look for food, watch out for potential threats, and perform a wide range of other activities in order to secure the basic necessities for themselves. Furthermore, even once dogs became domesticated, they continued performing a fair amount of activity. After all, most people couldn’t afford to keep a dog for nothing but companionship until very recently, meaning that the overwhelming majority of dogs for most of human history were actually work dogs.
Meanwhile, modern dogs are much less active. Most of them don’t have to work for a living. Instead, most modern dogs have their basic necessities provided to them by their owners. On top of that, they don’t even have a drive to reproduce because they tend to be neutered. Combined, these factors mean that a lot of dogs wind up sleeping more because they just don’t have much to do.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Sleeping Too Much?
If a dog owner thinks that their dog is sleeping too much, their best course of action is to see the veterinarian. Simply put, there is a wide range of potential causes for said issue, meaning that interested individuals won’t be able to figure out the exact cause without the relevant expertise, experience, and equipment. Never mind provide medical treatment for a medical condition if that turns out to be the ultimate cause. Having said that, interested individuals can help out by scrutinizing their dog to see if there has been any other telltale signs. The more information that they can provide to the veterinarian, the faster that said individual will be able to pinpoint the problem.
Once the veterinarian has pinpointed the problem, dog owners can continue to help their dog by following their instructions. Generally speaking, veterinarians have a good reason for recommending whatever it is that they are recommending, meaning that compliance can be very important for the eventual outcome. However, if interested individuals are unsure about something, they should make sure to ask questions until they are satisfied that they have a decent understanding of what is going on. In this as in other things, being informed tends to make for better decisions, which in turn, tend to make for better outcomes.
Besides this, dog owners might also want to consider being more proactive when it comes to their dog’s health. Something that can be quite important because prevention tends to be much easier than treatment, which is as true for dogs as it is for humans. Part of this process will involve bringing the dog to the veterinarian on a regular basis for the purpose of getting a check-up, thus enabling potential issues to be caught for correction sooner rather than later. However, interested individuals should also strive to make sure that their dogs are getting enough physical stimulation as well as mental stimulation to ensure their continuing well-being. As mentioned earlier, most modern dogs don’t have much to do, meaning that it is up to their dog owners to make up for that gap with playtime as well as other healthy diversions. On a final note, interested individuals might also want to look up what medical conditions that their dog’s breed is particularly susceptible to. There is no guarantee that their dog will come down with such medical conditions because those are tendencies rather than absolute certainties, particularly since dog breeders have a strong interest in eliminating such issues. Still, it is a good idea for dog owners to be cautious because it is better to be safe than sorry.