How Much Do Senior Dogs Sleep? Zzz…

Sleep or rest is an essential part of a dog’s routine, as it is for humans. Dogs’ sleep patterns are different from humans, and many owners wonder how much sleep their senior dogs need. Senior dogs, which are typically 7 years and older, do not require the same amount of sleep as younger dogs. There are several factors to consider when it comes to the sleeping habits of older dogs.

The Average Sleep-Time of Senior Dogs

Senior dogs require more sleep than younger dogs but they sleep for shorter periods than younger ones. Senior dogs require around 15-18 hours of sleep daily, which equates to 50% more sleep time than younger dogs. However, senior dogs have shorter sleep segments than younger dogs, which are around 30-60 minutes per nap.

Reasons Why Senior Dogs Sleep More

There are several reasons why senior dogs need more sleep:

  • Decreased mobility: As dogs age, their joints become stiffer, and their mobility decreases. Because of this, they require more rest and sleep time for recovery.
  • Health problems: Senior dogs are prone to health issues such as arthritis, joint problems, and other age-related health problems which cause them to sleep for more extended periods and take more naps.
  • Decreased activity: Older dogs are not as active as younger ones, and therefore they require less energy, causing them to sleep more often to conserve energy.

The Importance of Adequate Sleep for Senior Dogs

Senior dogs need plenty of rest and sleep time to maintain their health and wellbeing. Adequate sleep ensures that their bodies can recover from any health problems or injuries they may have sustained.

Getting enough sleep also helps our furry friends maintain their cognitive abilities, which can deteriorate with age. A well-rested senior dog will be more alert, have better memory retention, and respond better to their surroundings.

How to Encourage Senior Dogs to Sleep

As dogs age, they may become more selective about their sleeping spots. Here are a few tips to encourage your senior pooch to sleep:

Comfortable Bedding

Older dogs may have stiff joints and arthritic pain, making it more challenging to get comfortable. Comfortable bedding, particularly orthopedic beds, provides adequate cushioning and support for them to rest comfortably. Orthopedic beds are designed to take care of dogs’ pressure points and decrease pain, hence increasing the likelihood of sound sleep.

Peaceful and Comfortable Sleeping Spot

Older dogs require a peaceful and comfortable sleeping spot that is free from disruptions, loud noises, or bright lights. Create a sleeping routine with a predictable sleeping environment that your senior dog will look forward to.

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise helps senior dogs remain active and maintain their bodies in perfect condition. Exercise helps to enhance circulation to their joints and prevents muscle loss, resulting in better sleep quality. However, avoid over-exercising older dogs as it may cause joint pain and fatigue, which could decrease their sleep time.

Avoid Overfeeding and Underfeeding

Overfeeding and underfeeding senior dogs can impact their sleep. Overfeeding may cause indigestion and restless sleep, while underfeeding may cause hunger pangs that interrupt their rest.

The Bottom Line

Senior dogs need more sleep and rest than younger dogs; however, their napping time is shorter. Adequate sleep and rest help senior dogs maintain their cognitive abilities, heal from any health issues, and keep them alert and active. It is essential to create a peaceful sleeping environment, provide comfortable bedding, and give them regular exercise to help maintain their sleep patterns and quality.


How can you tell that a senior dog needs more sleep?

Senior dogs tend to sleep more when they are tired. Slower movement and reduced alertness are the typical signs of sleep deprivation.

Can an older dog sleep too much?

Excessive sleeping is not a cause for concern for senior dogs, provided they are doing the usual things like eating properly, drinking enough water, and being mobile when they are awake.

Do senior dogs need longer naps?

Senior dogs may take more naps during the day, but their napping time is usually shorter. Their napping time is typically between 30-60 minutes per nap.

How can I help my senior dog sleep better at night?

To help your senior dog sleep better at night, keep their sleeping environment peaceful and comfortable, provide comfortable bedding, give them regular exercise, and avoid overfeeding or underfeeding them.

What can I do if my senior dog appears to have insomnia?

If your senior dog seems to have trouble sleeping, consult your veterinarian for advice. They may suggest changes to your senior dog’s sleeping environment, such as a different bedding type or prescribe some medication to lull them to sleep.

Can senior dogs have sleep disorders?

Yes, senior dogs can have sleep disorders like restlessness or insomnia which may be caused by underlying medical conditions, discomfort due to pain, or anxiety. Consult a veterinarian if you notice sleep disorder symptoms in your senior dog.



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