Ask the Vet: Why Do Pets Sleep So Much?

Dog Sleeping On Floor
Many dog owners wonder why (and frankly, how) their dogs can sleep so much. They sleep in the day on the couch, in their beds, outside, in the car, and then, they seem to sleep the whole night through.

So what’s the deal?

Well, first, it’s important to note that most dogs do sleep more than we do. This is normal. The reason why, however, is different for every dog. Usually, it’s something that either relates to their breed and activity level, their size, or their age.

Let’s break these reasons down one-by-one:


Your dog’s breed isn’t just a name. It signifies something that that specific dog was particularly bred to do. For example, border collies were bred to herd sheep — an extremely active job. Therefore, border collies are naturally very springy, energetic, and lively dogs, and they may need to sleep more after they get done being so peppy.

Conversely, dogs who weren’t bred for specific jobs or purposes may be more mellow and calm. As a result, they may simply spend their time relaxing and sleeping.


As a rule, larger dogs tend to sleep more than smaller dogs.


Both elderly dogs and puppies sleep the most, with elderly dogs sleeping slightly more than puppies. Their bodies are simply slowing down with age, and they require more sleep.

What you’ll notice about puppies is that they sleep hard when they sleep. And they may conk out mid-step. Their little bodies are so incredibly energetic when they’re active that when they need sleep, they need it now.

When to See a Vet

In some cases, excessive sleep may be a sign of something more worrisome. What’s essential to be on the lookout for is a sudden change of sleep habits that is particularly noticeable — for example, if you can hardly rouse your usually-active dog from a slumber or if your normally sleepy dog is suddenly up and about all the time.

In these situations, it’s a good idea to contact Sunset Veterinary Clinic as soon as possible for a checkup. Simply contact us online or give us a call at (405) 844-2888, and one of our veterinarians would be happy to take a look at your precious canine friend.

“Often I have clients bring their pets to see me with the description of clinical signs which may only be a change in sleeping routine whether that be increased sleep or increased restlessness resulting in less restful sleep. This is always a red flag to me as a clinician. My advice to owners is to never dismiss changes in sleep patterns as “nothing” without checking with their veterinarian. Dogs and cats do not communicate verbally. We as their humans must pay attention to their behavior and address changes. They depend on us to pay attention.” – Danel Grimmett, DVM

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