Why is my dog sleeping so much all of a sudden? Usually, your pet is a lively bundle of joy. But lately, they’ve been acting like they just pulled an all-nighter and need to catch up on rest. What gives?
If your pet has been catching some major zzz’s lately, you may be concerned. While lethargy could be caused by a number of different illnesses, it’s also likely to be a normal occurrence. Read through these common potential causes of lethargy and when in doubt, always call your vet.
Your Dog’s Health: How Much Sleep Is Ideal And How Much Is Too Much?
First thing’s first: like babies, dogs sleep a lot. If you recently changed your schedule, it’s possible that you’re just witnessing your dog sleep for most of the day for the very first time. It’s impressive but true: your pet actually spends most of the day sleeping.
Here’s a general breakdown of a dog’s activity level according to the AKC.
- 50% of the day sleeping (12-14 hours a day)
- 30% awake, but lying around (about 7 hours a day)
- 20% active (about 5 hours a day)1
The amount of sleep your dog needs depends on several factors.
- Age: Puppies and older dogs need to sleep even more than 50% of the day.
- Size: Large dog breeds may sleep more than smaller ones.
- Typical breed activity level: Working dogs may sleep less if they have a “job” to do; sedentary dogs may sleep more.
- Life changes: Just like humans, dogs may need extra sleep if they experience big life changes (like death or a loved one or a move).
- Health: An abrupt change in sleep habits may signal an underlying health problem. You can read more about that below.2
Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Is Sleeping More Than Usual
Age And Breed
Age is one of the main factors in how much your dog will sleep. When your dog is a puppy, they play hard and sleep hard. Older dogs also tend to need more rest. Large breeds, like mastiffs, St. Bernards, and Great Pyrenees dogs may also clock more zzz ‘s.3
Keep in mind that there is no one age that determines when your dog is a “senior dog.” Because of their average lifespans, a Great Dane might be considered senior at 5, but a pomeranian might be considered a senior at 7 or 8.4
Active, busy dogs may be less likely to show signs of lethargy. Dogs who have nothing to do may sleep by default. So, how can you tell if your dog is actually sleepy or just bored?
Bored dogs may also show these signs of stress and anxiety:
Can’t tell if your pet is sleepy or just bored? Look back on your dog’s day. Have they had adequate exercise and mental stimulation in the form of a game or a training session?
If your dog is bored, they likely won’t sit around and sleep all day. At some point, a bored pet will make its plight known, whether that be in the form of your dog barking, digging, or chewing something they shouldn’t.6
Poor Quality Dog Food
A poor, unbalanced diet can lead to lethargy. If your pet doesn’t get the nutrients they need from their food, they may be deficient in certain vitamins or minerals. A diet of high-quality whole foods can ensure that your pet has adequate fuel to stay healthy.7 Talk to your vet about getting your dog the best possible nutrition.
Your Dog May Have A Medical Issue
Many healthy dogs will spend a lot of their time sleeping without cause for concern. But if you notice your pet suddenly sleeping much more than usual you may want to make sure everything is okay with their health. Many illnesses can cause lethargy in dogs. If your dog is indeed sick, you’ve probably noticed other symptoms or changes in your dog’s behavior as well. Get your pet to the vet and rule out any health issues. It’s much better to play it safe when it comes to the health of your furry friend.
In the meantime, continue reading to discover some possible medical reasons why your dog may be sleeping more than usual:
All animals can have hypothyroidism, but it is most common in dogs.8 Your dog’s thyroid gland produces hormones that maintain their metabolism. Hypothyroidism occurs when your dog’s thyroid isn’t secreting enough hormones, causing their metabolism to slow down.
Diabetes occurs when your dog’s body is unable to produce enough insulin or use insulin properly. Without the proper balance of working insulin, their body can’t break down sugar to use as fuel. As a result, sugar (glucose) lingers in the bloodstream instead of feeding the body.
The main symptoms of pet diabetes are excessive thirst paired with increased urination. The condition is easy to confirm by testing for glucose in the blood and urine.9
Anemia is a condition that can be caused by a number of other illnesses. If your pet is anemic, it means that their blood has a reduced number of red blood cells, hemoglobin, or both.10
If your dog is having an issue with one of its organs, they may suddenly sleep more than usual. Dogs suffering from organ issues like kidney, heart, or liver disease may be in pain. Dogs in pain tend to sleep more often.11
Viruses And Bacteria
Certain viral or bacterial infections may make your dog sleepy.
Sleep apnea is a disorder caused by breathing problems. Dogs who suffer from this condition may repeatedly start and stop their breathing in the middle of the night. This can cause the dog to wake up gasping for air. Dogs with sleep apnea will likely not get a good night’s sleep, which will cause daytime drowsiness.12
Possible Causes Of Sleep Apnea in Dogs
- Obstructions in the nose and throat (common for brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs and pugs)13
What Should You Do If You’re Not Sure?
If your dog is acting lethargic, look at the larger picture of your dog’s health. Is your pup showing other symptoms that you’re concerned about? Did they recently move or lose a loved one? Did they recently recover from an illness, like a urinary tract infection? Is your pet just getting a little older and slowing down?
If you can’t figure out for sure why your dog is sleeping excessively, take them to a veterinarian. Your vet should be able to examine your dog, run blood tests, and check for the cause of lethargy.