Is It Normal For My Senior Dog To Sleep A Lot?

A common question we get is, “Is it normal for my senior dog to sleep a lot?”

Our short answer is, “Absolutely.”

While the average dog sleeps about 12 to 14 hours a day, some dogs (especially larger breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Dobermans) can sleep as much as 18 hours a day — before entering their twilight years.

When does your beloved pooch become a senior?

It depends on the average life expectancy of the breed, but a general rule is six years for larger dogs and seven years for smaller dogs.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Sleep Patterns?

While it’s not abnormal for senior dogs and puppies alike to sleep as much as 20 hours a day, sometimes too much sleep or unusual sleep-related behavior can indicate other problems. 

  • Most senior pet owners have felt panic when having difficulty rousing their pooch and breathed sighs of relief when Fido finally wakes up. However, if your dog isn’t waking up when you ask them to it could be a sign of hearing loss.
  • Dogs of all ages sometimes wander. However, if your senior pooch wanders around aimlessly or confused at night this could be a sign of cognitive dysfunction. Visit your vet as soon as possible.
  • Sleeping in different or unusual places also could be a sign of cognitive problems.

Other Tips

  • Consider getting a comfortable orthopedic bed for your aging dog, especially if they have arthritis or other joint conditions. This can help ease their pain.
  • While humans and dogs alike sometimes love to sleep late, understand that you increase the risk of your beloved pet having a bathroom-related accident. Consistent walks (if your dog is still up to them) or being let outside (in a fenced yard) to regularly go to the bathroom is still vital at this stage in your pet’s life.
  • Finally, many dogs of all ages rest rather than sleep. On the average, a dog is active about 20 percent of the day. So, don’t panic unless you see the signs we just discussed and focus on making your dog’s senior years as comfortable and fulfilling as possible.