Why Does My Dog Sleep So Much?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 01:50:51 PM America/Los_Angeles

When your dog sleeps a lot, you might start to worry. There are a lot of different reasons why dogs might sleep a lot, and not all of them are reasons to worry. Younger dogs, much like human toddlers, can spend a lot of energy in play and learning. They require a lot of sleep to provide them with rest and physical growth. On the opposite end of the spectrum, older dogs will require longer bouts of sleep as their bodies start to slow down from old age. Working dogs such as sheep dogs, police dogs, and sledding dogs have to remain physically and mentally alert. To be able to retain such high amounts of energy and focus, they need lots of down time for peak performance on the job. Larger dogs tend to need more sleep than smaller dogs. There are a lot of natural reasons why a dog might need a lot of sleep.


sleeping dog

By Jaromir Chalabala via Shutterstock

Stress and Life Adjustments

Imagine moving to a new home, or having just lost the love of your life. It's uncomfortable, it's messy, and sometimes it really hurts. Dogs feel similar emotions to humans when change happens in their life. They like routine and they like being around the people and other animals that they love. When something changes, or they lose someone they are close to, they tend to feel disoriented and sad. During this time, housebreaking may have to happen all over again and dogs will sleep more than usual as they go through their cycle of grief. Housebreaking itself can be a common cause of extra sleep in puppies, as they may wake up several times during the night as they transition through potty training. An indoor dog potty grass solution such as DoggieLawn is helpful so that puppies don't need to constantly be taken outside. Keep the lawn near their sleeping area so that they can quickly do their business and get back to bed! 

Not Enough Stimulation

Dogs are meant to be active. They like to run around, walk, hunt, sniff, play, achieve goals, and be around their buddies. Dogs also need the stimulation of the outdoors. If your dog does not have enough friends to play with, space to roam around freely, and time to explore and exercise, it may be suffering from boredom. Make sure your dog has enough time to go outside every day, and if it can't roam around freely on your property, find a good dog park where it can run around and socialize with other dogs.


When a dog develops hypothyroidism, their behavior will start to change. They may go from active to unnaturally drowsy and sleep more often. They might seem more anxious or snappy. Even though your dog is active, it is suddenly gaining a lot of extra weight. Maybe your dog is extra aggressive or surprisingly submissive. They might not adjust to changes well when previously they were very adaptable. Their face might seem different to you with a more furrowed brow, or a cleft right above their eyes. These are all symptoms to watch out for if you suspect your dog has hyperthyroidism. Fortunately, hyperthyroidism is a very treatable condition and can be managed for the rest of a dog's life.


Diabetes is often known as the silent disease in pets. Diabetes happens when either your dog's body is not producing enough insulin to absorb glucose into the body's system or the body is not breaking down the insulin in the way it normally does. Diabetes can also be a temporary condition for female dogs in heat or pregnant. Dogs with diabetes are often excessively thirsty.  If the water bowl seems to be more empty than usual, this could be a sign of diabetes. Dogs who suffer from diabetes need extra water to flush out the extra glucose in their system. They also urinate a lot more, and with less self-control. Many dog owners start pulling out the wee wee pads at this point, however real grass for dogs and puppies, like DoggieLawn, is a better option. Diabetes takes a lot of vital energy from your dog. Your dog may seem more lethargic and sleep much longer than normal. Other symptoms of diabetes in dogs are weight loss, decreased appetite, and vomiting.

There are a number of things that can cause diabetes in a dog. Diabetes generally happens to older dogs, and unspayed female dogs have a much higher likelihood of developing diabetes than spayed female dogs. Steroid medications can also sometimes lead to diabetes. Various medical conditions and disorder can trigger the onset of diabetes, such as pancreatitis, Cushing's disease, autoimmune disorders and certain diseases caused by viruses. Genetics play a factor as well, with certain breeds of dogs, such as Dachsunds, Beagles, Pugs, and Miniature Poodles, being more susceptible to developing diabetes. With early prevention and treatment, most dogs can live a relatively normal life.


Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that is caused by problems of the nervous system. Dogs with narcolepsy will suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, lethargy, and sometimes loss of consciousness. When a dog has an episode of sudden sleep onset or loss of consciousness, it is usually very brief, lasting only a few minutes. Episodes can be triggered by intense emotions or physical activity, such as running, sexual activity, eating, or playing. Fortunately, these episodes go away on their own. It can seem like the dog has gone into a deep sleep, dropping on its side or stomach, while all the muscles relax. Dogs may twitch, whimper, and even move their eyes when it happens.

For a dog owner, narcolepsy can be difficult to watch and a cause of worry. However, it is a very manageable condition that just requires a bit of extra caution on the owner's part. Try to avoid anything that might cause excessive excitement for a dog, such as loud noises, dog parks, sexual activity, and working too hard. Keep a watchful eye on your dog when such situations cannot be avoided so that it is not left vulnerable to the aggression of other animals. You can help your dog during an episode by stroking its fur or making a loud sound to help it come to full consciousness again.

When Should I be Worried?

If you suspect your dog is sleeping too much, rule out any factors such as age, breed, boredom, etc. Make note of any other symptoms you have noticed, such as bedwetting, excessive thirst, time and length of naps, vomiting, etc. Bring all these concerns to a qualified veterinarian who can give your dog a full medical assessment to see if there might be an underlying condition causing your dog's sleepiness.