Does Your Dog Sleep A Lot? 7 Causes And When To The Vet

By nature, dogs are so “equipped” that they sleep a lot. Dogs even sleep 60% more than an average human!

But now you’ve noticed that your otherwise active dog is suddenly sleeping a lot? Or are you worried because your old dog sleeps all day?

If you have noticed that your dog sleeps a lot, it is important that you do your research.

Dogs spend around 50% of their lives sleeping. If you notice that the dog sleeps all day, or the dog is lazy and sleeps a lot, this can also indicate an illness or other problems.

In a nutshell: My dog ​​sleeps a lot

Do you feel like your dog has been sleeping a lot lately? Here are a few facts: An adult dog spends 17 to 20 hours sleeping a day, a puppy or an old dog even needs 20 to 22 hours of sleep a day.

If your dog’s need for sleep deviates from its usual sleep rhythm, this can be due to your dog’s age or it can be an indication of an illness or a hormonal imbalance.

Has your dog had an extraordinary need for sleep lately and you’re wondering: why is my dog ​​sleeping so much? Then it is advisable to consult a veterinarian for a specific clarification.

6 possible reasons why your dog sleeps a lot

If your dog has a changed sleeping pattern or your dog only sleeps, combined with the following behavior is always an indication that it is time to get to the bottom of your dog’s increased need for sleep:

  • Your dog also appears listless and/or listless
  • your dog has changed its behavior
  • in addition to an increased need for sleep, there are also pathological abnormalities

If your dog sleeps a lot, it can be due to the following reasons:

1. Age

The dog sleeps a lot and withdraws, is a widespread phenomenon, especially in older dogs.

The reason an older dog sleeps more is quite simple: the dog’s energy level decreases more and more as it gets older.

Your young dog sleeps a lot or your puppy sleeps a lot and is tired? Puppies and young dogs also have an increased need for sleep. Puppies and senior dogs sleep an average of 20 to 22 hours a day.

This is normal behavior and does not require further medical investigation.

Puppies and young dogs also learn while they sleep. You process what you have experienced and learned again and this strengthens it.

It is therefore important for puppies and young dogs that they get enough rest and sleep

However, if you notice that your elderly dog ​​or puppy sleeps all day and doesn’t feel like doing any kind of activity at all, it’s a good idea to consult a veterinarian to rule out any possible illness.

2. Fever

Dogs usually do not show when they are suffering from an illness. If your dog suddenly sleeps a lot, this can indicate a fever.

The fact that dogs with a fever have an increased need for sleep is a trick of their immune system: physical activity is reduced to a minimum and the body has more energy to fight the actual disease.

To rule out fever, you can take your dog’s temperature rectally.

  • The normal temperature for an adult dog is between 37.5 and 39 degrees.
  • In a puppy, the normal temperature is up to 39.5 degrees.


If your dog has a body temperature of over 41 degrees, there is an acute danger to life and you should act urgently!

3. Anemia

Due to the lack of red blood cells, the dog has an increased need for sleep.

The red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen.

A lack of red blood cells means the brain is getting less oxygen and your dog is sluggish and sleeps a lot.

Anemia can be caused by:

  • injuries
  • tumors
  • medication
  • parasites

In the case of anemia, there are usually additional symptoms:

  • pale gums
  • Dog is no longer resilient
  • decreased appetite
  • noticeably increased need for sleep

4. Viral infection

Along with cancer and injuries, viral infections are among the leading causes of death in dogs.

As with a fever, sick dogs with a viral infection shut down their immune systems, sleeping a lot to use all of their energy to fight the infection.

Many viral infections are also commonly known as Mediterranean diseases. But don’t be fooled, these diseases are also widespread here, highly contagious and usually fatal if left untreated.

  • parvovirus
  • distemper
  • rabies
  • leptospirosis
  • Influenza virus
  • Hepatitis Contagiosa Canis

In Germany, these diseases are covered by mandatory vaccinations. Unfortunately, unvaccinated puppies often die.

When buying a puppy, always pay close attention to the origin of the animals. Puppies from an illegal trade are often not fully vaccinated or fake vaccination cards are even given.

This can mean a definite death sentence for your future pup!

5. Hypothyroidism / Underactive Thyroid

Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid glands in the neck. If production is restricted, your dog’s entire metabolism will be slowed down.

Hypothyroidism develops slowly and insidiously for the most part, and its symptoms are fairly non-specific.

The following symptoms are often noticeable:

  • weight gain
  • skin change
  • Dog appears sluggish and unfocused
  • cold intolerance
  • behavior change (anxious)
  • Hypothyroidism is most common in older dogs.

There is no cure for an underactive thyroid and the dog must be on medication for life.

Since the typical symptoms are often not recognizable, it can often be very difficult to diagnose hypothyroidism.

6. Heat

Temperatures are a cause that often goes unmentioned. Since dogs, in contrast to us, can only sweat through their paws, they often do not cope very well with temperatures that are already higher.

Of course they come with us on walks if we ask them to. The heat sensitivity of the dogs is not only specific to the breed, but also the age is an important point here.

Many dogs have an increased need for sleep during the warm days and appear listless and tired.

As soon as it gets a little cooler again, the dogs are more active again.

It should be self-explanatory that no strenuous physical activity should be undertaken when it is very hot.

The sleeping behavior of dogs simply explained

Dog sleep and human sleep are different, but still have some similarities. Dogs and humans need sleep for mental and physical recovery and both dream.

However, some things are different with dogs:

  • Dogs can fall asleep and wake up in seconds
  • Dogs have very sensitive, individual sleep phases
    dogs snooze
  • A healthy, adult dog spends about 17 to 20 hours a day sleeping or dozing.

Sufficient sleep is not only important for a healthy immune system, but dogs that sleep too little tend to overwork, become unfocused and stressed.

When to the vet?

Does your dog sleep a lot, seems listless, apathetic or feverish? Your dog’s mucous membranes look pale and you just have the feeling that something is wrong?

If you notice a sudden change in your dog’s sleeping patterns, it’s a good idea to consult a veterinarian.

Most hormonal and physical disorders can be diagnosed with a blood count and can be reduced or even resolved with the right treatment.

It is important that you note down all the changes that you notice in your dog’s behavior.

Behavioral changes can often contribute a large part to a diagnosis and unfortunately this is often underestimated by us owners.

How can I support my dog?

You now know that sufficient and restful sleep is very important for your dog.

If you can rule out health causes for increased sleepiness, then I would recommend that you make sure your dog gets a restful night’s sleep.

A dog that has a healthy and sufficient sleep usually also has a healthy immune system.

Dogs like sleeping places where they can withdraw undisturbed and are not exposed to any hustle and bustle.

This is how you ensure that your dog not only sleeps, but is also fit and rested for new, exciting experiences together with you:

Make sure that you offer optimal conditions for a healthy sleep.

Many dogs like to sleep in a box. Of course you can’t lock your dog in it, but many dogs like the feeling of a safe cave. It gives them security and security. This increases the quality of your dog’s sleep immensely.

Does your dog not know a box? Then I recommend our report: Getting the dog used to a crate.

Dogs love comfortable beds. Offer your dog a comfortable dog bed! For the sake of your pet’s health, you should choose an orthopedic dog bed.

The selection of dog beds is immense and overwhelming. That’s why we did a test some time ago and put our tips on the best 5 orthopedic dog beds.

For a healthy sleep it is important that your dog is not distracted. Take care of all of his chew toys around the time your little one is supposed to sleep.


Dogs have a very high need for sleep, which can easily frighten people.

A healthy adult dog can sleep up to 20 hours a day, seniors and puppies even up to 22 hours.

A good sleep quality is very important for your dog. Only a dog that has had a good night’s sleep and has had a rest stays fit and has a good immune system.

However, if you notice that your dog not only sleeps a lot, but also seems listless, apathetic and listless to you, this can also be a sign of an illness.

In this case, it is appropriate that you consult a veterinarian. This is the only way you can rule out any illnesses or even prevent worse.

Since a visit to the animal species in the practice is always associated with a lot of effort and stress for your dog, I recommend the possibility of an online consultation.

Here you can chat with trained veterinarians directly on site in a live chat, which saves you time and money.

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