Facts about the animal kingdom

How Many Hours a Day Does a Dog Sleep?

Cristina Pascual
By Cristina Pascual, Veterinaria. August 1, 2023
How Many Hours a Day Does a Dog Sleep?

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How much a dog sleeps will depend on the individual animal. Some have higher energy levels or others may have health conditions which tire them out. Other factors such as breed and age can influence how many hours of sleep a dog needs each day. We can say that dogs generally have a certain sleeping pattern. Unlike humans, dogs have a polyphasic sleep cycle. This means they sleep in short periods multiple times a day. This is in contrast to people who generally sleep during one long period of time. If we add all of these times up during a day, we might want to know how many hours a day does a dog sleep? We explain all about the canine sleep cycle in this AnimalWised article.

You may also be interested in: How Many Hours A Day Do Cats Sleep?


  1. How many hours a day does an adult dog sleep?
  2. How many hours a day does a puppy sleep?
  3. How much does a 10 year old dog sleep?
  4. Why do dogs sleep so much?

How many hours a day does an adult dog sleep?

Humans have a monophasic sleep-wake cycle. This means we consolidate the sleep phase into a single block of time, most commonly during the dark phase of the day (i.e. at night). Dogs have a polyphasic sleep-wake cycle, meaning they sleep multiple times during any 24-hour period.

Adult dogs distribute their sleep-wake periods as follows:

  • Awake: approximately 50% of the day they remain in a state of wakefulness.
  • Light sleep: 20% of the day they are in a state of drowsiness or light sleep.
  • Deep sleep: the remaining 30% remain in a state of deep sleep, of which approximately half is REM sleep.

From these data, we can deduce how many hours a day a dog sleeps. In total, a dog will sleep around 12 hours a day. 5 of these hours are spent on light sleep, meaning 7 hours are spent during deep sleep.

We have already explained that dogs will nap throughout the day, something which will depend on their specific routine. This is often dictated by the actions of their human guardians, with the dog adapting to their schedule. Despite this, domestic dogs will exhibit a certain pattern in their sleep-wake cycles. Most dogs have two peak activity periods during the day:

  • A short window from 8 am to 10 am, followed by a break at noon
  • A longer window from approximately 5 pm to 11 pm

For this reason, it is common to see dogs being more active during the early hours of the morning and in the last hours of the afternoon. Although dogs do not have a monophasic sleep pattern, it is common for them to sleep for longer periods during the night.

The levels of activity and rest in a dog will vary significantly from one animal to another. Many will adapt to the routine and schedules established by their guardians. When a dog is most active will also influence their sleep pattern, as do the location of their sleeping area and the time of day they most often sleep[1]. Dogs that are more active will be drowsy for less time and will enter REM sleep more quickly.

Although it may seem surprising, weight and sex appear to influence these periods of activity. Lighter dogs tend to be more active in a short period just after midnight. Female dogs appear to be more active at night than males.

How a dog sleeps will also indicate the quality of their rest. Learn more with our article on the sleeping positions of dogs and their meanings.

How many hours a day does a puppy sleep?

Newborn puppies dedicate their day to only two activities: sleeping and suckling. During the first three months of life, puppies usually sleep between 18-20 hours a day.

Until they reach the third week of life, their sleep only occurs in the REM or deep sleep phase. It is normal to observe newborn puppies transition directly from being awake to sleeping soundly. After the third week of life, moments of slow-wave sleep begin to appear and the hours of REM type sleep decrease. Puppies will also sleep differently depending on their location, but will commonly choose to sleep near their guardian[2].

From the age of three months, the hours of sleep gradually decrease. Consequently, the hours of activity increase. Learn about where a puppy should sleep on their first night with our related article.

How much does a 10 year old dog sleep?

The activity levels of dogs decrease with age. This reduction in activity is partly due to degeneration of their muscles and joints, but can also be related to weight gain, vision deterioration and other factors.

Elderly dogs are those over 9-10 years of age, although this can depend on the breed. They can reduce their activity level by up to 50%, meaning they can sleep up to 18 hours a day.

Their periods of activity/rest are similar to those mentioned in the first section for adult dogs. Older dogs are also typically most active in the early morning and late afternoon. In contrasting to younger adult dogs, older dogs are much less active during these peak-activity windows.

Some elderly dogs suffer from cognitive dysfunction syndrome, commonly known as dementia in dogs or canine Alzheimer's disease. It is a degenerative disease that frequently appears in geriatric dogs. It causes behavioral and cognitive changes. It is common for a disturbance of circadian rhythms to occur. This triggers disturbances in the sleep/wake cycle. For this reason, it is common for these dogs to change their sleeping habits, either sleeping more during the day or becoming more active at night.

Learn more about how changes in sleep patterns can be symptoms of a problem with our article on why a dog is sleeping a lot.

How Many Hours a Day Does a Dog Sleep? - How much does a 10 year old dog sleep?

Why do dogs sleep so much?

The fact that dogs sleep so many hours a day is due to a purely physiological issue. Circadian rhythms are the physical and behavioral changes an organism undergoes in a 24-hour cycle. Those of mammals are controlled by biological clocks. The body's main biological clock is the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), also called the circadian pacemaker. This is located in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus.

This circadian pacemaker is the main regulator of sleep/wake cycles. Its functioning varies between different species. This is the reason why some animals are nocturnal and others are diurnal. It is also the reason why periods of activity and rest differ between different animal species.

We can conclude the fact that dogs sleep around 12 hours a day. They distribute their periods of activity and rest due to their physiological makeup that is regulated by the circadian pacemaker. Although circadian rhythms are internally controlled, it is also important to note that activity can be influenced by many factors external to the animal, such as the amount of ambient light, temperature, the presence of other animals, hunger or age.

If you want to read similar articles to How Many Hours a Day Does a Dog Sleep?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.


1. Bunford, N., Reicher, V., Kis, A., Pogány, Á., Gombos, F., Bódizs, R., & Gácsi, M. (2018). Differences in pre-sleep activity and sleep location are associated with variability in daytime/nighttime sleep electrophysiology in the domestic dog. Scientific reports, 8(1), 7109.

2. Kinsman, R., Owczarczak-Garstecka, S., Casey, R., Knowles, T., Tasker, S., Woodward, J., Da Costa, R., & Murray, J. (2020). Sleep Duration and Behaviours: A Descriptive Analysis of a Cohort of Dogs up to 12 Months of Age. Animals: an open access journal from MDPI, 10(7), 1172.

  • Zanghi, B. (2010). Circadian biothythms of sleep/wake and activity/rest cycles in adult and aged dogs. Purina Companion Animal Nutrition Summer: focus on gerontology.
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How Many Hours a Day Does a Dog Sleep?