It’s natural for older dogs and senior dogs to require more sleep and napping as they age. However, there are key distinctions of a natural process or something that you should bring up to your vet.
According to Helpemup.com, as humans age, we often sleep less deeply and wake up more during the night, causing many of us to take naps during the day (if we can get away with it). According to the Sleep Foundation, healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep nightly.
Many of our dogs sleep more than we do. Adult dogs generally sleep 12 – 14 hours/day, whereas puppies and older dogs require more, ranging from 15 – 18 hours/day. Unlike humans who generally receive eight hours of consecutive sleep, dogs sleep on and off throughout the day. In fact, 30% of a dog’s day is resting, while 20% is consumed with activity.
Here are a list of the 15 dog breeds that love to sleep the most:
BeChewy.com reports on How Much Should Senior Dogs Sleep?
The age when your older dog is officially considered a senior depends on his breed. Because large and giant breed dogs typically have shorter life expectancies, they are considered seniors around 6 or 7 years of age; smaller breeds that live considerably longer are not considered seniors until they are around 10 or 11. Regardless of when your dog is considered older, the hallmark aging changes tend to appear subtly. His muzzle may gray. His hearing may decline, and he may not rise as quickly when you call him. He may no longer enjoy brisk jogs at your side or engage in rough-and-tumble play at the dog park. It is also perfectly normal for an older dog to sleep more of the day away — up to 16 or 18 hours even. However, some of these hours will be passed in quiet rest and not true sleep.
While it is normal for senior dogs to sleep more, there is such a thing as too much sleep. Oversleeping in the geriatric dog can result from a medical problem. Any time a dog is ill or in pain, such as when he suffers from osteoarthritis, he may retreat and spend more time sleeping. Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease in dogs that affects the joints, usually after a lifetime of wear and tear. Because dogs are much more stoic than we are, arthritis may easily go undetected for years in dogs. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose this condition and provide therapy to keep your older dog’s quality of life high.
Another common medical cause of excessive sleepiness in dogs is hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is common in middle-aged and older dogs. It occurs when there is a decrease in thyroid hormone levels in your dog’s blood. Thyroid hormones help maintain a healthy metabolism; therefore hypothyroid dogs tend to sleep more, act sluggish when awake and are prone to obesity. The onset of clinical signs is most often gradual and includes a dull coat, reluctance to exercise and heat-seeking behaviors. This hormone imbalance can have detrimental affects on many body systems, including the cardiovascular system; fortunately, it is easily managed with oral medication.
If your senior dog has trouble sleeping, you can easily incorporate many practical options into his lifestyle and home to help him (and you) get a good night’s rest.
WagWalking.com shares that dogs will slow down as they age, it’s just a fact of life—for humans and canines. But there are things you can do to help. Keep your vet updated on your dog’s health and bring them in if they begin to exhibit sudden symptoms. Let your dog rest when they want to, often resting far more during the day than they ever used to.
You can be proactive in your dog’s health by keeping them on an appropriate high-quality food. For older dogs who may not be able to burn calories as well as younger dogs, a higher-protein, lower-fat food may be best. Consult your vet for recommendations on supplements and an age-appropriate food.
Orvis reports that when your adult dog becomes a senior canine citizen —around the age of seven—you can expect her naps to grow steadily longer. She’ll tire more easily from exertion and need more time to replenish her energy. It’s also normal to see changes in the timing of her naps. Older dogs often sleep more during the day and have more bouts of wakefulness at night. However, any sudden and significant changes in your older dog’s sleep, such as sleeping through the bustling evening hours in your household, or getting no sleep at night, could indicate an illness and require a visit to the veterinarian.
The following are common ailments in older dogs that can contribute to sleep disturbances:
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