We asked dog owners* how many hours a day they think their adult dog sleeps. The answers averaged around 9.7 hours. Truth is, dogs normally sleep around 12-14 hours a day. (Cats sleep 12-16 hours, which is why it’s called a “catnap,” we presume.) “Normal” can depend on lots of things. Bigger breeds definitely need more z’s. Older dogs tire quicker and sleep more. Growing puppies need up to 20 hours a day. Being cute must really be tiresome.
But why do they sleep so much? We’re not going to let sleeping dogs lie; we’re getting to the answers.
Always on alert
Dogs spend less time in deep REM sleep, so they’re able to wake quickly and be ready to go — whether it’s responding to danger or the opening of a bag of chips. It also means they need to doze more often to make up for that lack of truly restful sleep.
A dog’s diet plays a role in their sleep
In general, carnivores need more rest. “In their wild dog and wolf days, it was a hunt for food, bringing down large prey, then feasting,” says
Opens a new windowDr. Jo Gale, BVetMed CertLAS MRCVS, Senior Manager, Global Science Advocacy at Waltham Petcare Science Institute. “They’d spend a long time digesting and may not eat for a few days. There’s a tendency to conserve energy.” Just think about how you feel after eating a huge steak. Incoming meat coma. Goodbye, belt. Hello, sofa.
Dogs sleep because they are bored
Yawn. When owners are out of the house, dogs often sleep simply because they’re bored. They’re not into books and haven’t quite figured out how to turn on the TV, so why not catch a few extra winks? Plus, they want to be super refreshed when you come back home in the evening.
Can dogs sleep too much?
Some dogs like to sleep longer and some dogs are just lazier than others. According to
Opens a new windowDr. Tammie King, Applied Behavior Technical Leader at Waltham Petcare Science Institute, “You might see more sleeping after intense exercise or they’ve gone to a pet sitter or boarding center due to high stimulation.” There’s usually no cause for concern unless they seem lethargic and lose interest in playing or eating, or begin listening to a lot of emo music.
Losing sleep over your dog’s sleep schedule?
Their wild days long gone, dogs have adapted their sleep schedules to match humans’ sleep schedules. Sort of. They still might get you up in the night or early morning before your alarm goes off. It’s best to exercise them in the morning and evening so they’re more tired — and have used the facilities — right before everyone else goes to sleep.
Now, the only question remaining is, what do you think your dog dreams about?
*Surveyed U.S. dog owners, age 18+
Sample Size: n=201
Fielded May 8-10, 2020
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Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.
4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food
1. Introduce the new food gradually.
When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:
- Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
- Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
- Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food
At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.
2. Watch your body language.
Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.
3. Don't give in to demands.
Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.
4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.
Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.
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