Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

I don't know about you, but without enough sleep I am not my best person. Everything seems harder when I'm tired. Even simple things seem overwhelming and my ability to be patient is greatly reduced. I'm fairly sure I'm not alone here. Something about getting enough sleep really is integral to a human's ability to cope. But what about dogs? Do dogs suffer in similar ways when they don't get enough sleep?

I recently looked into this topic, as I noticed that the poodles' behavior can vary based on how much sleep they get. Most days they are on the ball, good listeners, ready to please, and ready to socialize. On rare occasions they are easily grumpy, don't stay calm when they should, and don't offer the same enthusiasm to life that they normally do. On such 'down days', something is almost inevitably different in their schedules. Dogs, at least my dogs, need enough sleep to cope too!

That leaves the question, what is enough sleep? According to the American Kennel Club, dogs need an average of 12-14 hours of sleep every day. Elderly dogs, puppies, and large breed dogs need more like 18-20 hours of sleep per day. That's a far cry from what a human gets! 

Here are a handful of everyday life occurrences that can hamper a dog's sleep:
  • Having visitors
  • Outings or road trips
  • Play dates
  • Illness
  • Change in human's sleep schedule
  • Holidays
  • Moving

We recently completed a driveway expansion project which meant that our weekends were spent outside using heavy equipment. The poodles were safely inside, but they knew that something was going on and were on high alert the entire time to 'stay in the loop'. Every time gravel was spread, or a hole was dug, they knew about it from their post at the window. Their normal weekend routine was disturbed, and so too was their normal level of sleep. All things considered they have actually been very good, but not quite themselves; not their best selves (and for that matter, neither have I!)

We spent today, as a family, taking it easy. It was the first day in a long while where we haven't left the house. Everyone benefited, including the poodles. They spent a lot of it...asleep. 

Does your dog's ability to cope change when it doesn't get its usual quota of sleep?


  1. I am definitely crabby when I don't get my sleep, too...
    hugs, Julierose

  2. you've made me think about Milo's horrible day yesterday. Full of contrariness and biting. I think he didn't get much nap time since Daddy was home and the routine was disturbed. I will make sure he gets kennel time even on weekends so he can behave better. He also met a woman down the street that excites every dog she meets. They love her but she gets their motors running. That really started his poor behavior. We may avoid her for a year or so. Thank you for a thoughtful post. I know I'm gaining weight and cranky from lack of continuous sleep.

  3. Interesting information. Our dogs are sleeping around me right now and they tend to sleep most of the day unless we're home and then they love running around in the yard with us. If I were to get up and open a door, four dogs would follow me outside. But I'm going to let these sleeping dogs lie, because I'm kind of sleepy myself.

  4. My dogs don't understand weekends. My husband works nights, and they have a routine they follow every weekday. But, on weekends, they want to go to bed long before my husband is ready, and they definitely get confused. I try to follow a routine during the week, but weekends confuse my dogs. They play too much and get overtired. Maybe this weekend, I'll see if I can help them take naps. Thanks for this post, I hadn't really thought about it.

  5. We have two seniors, and they two are occasionally grumpy. I'll have to pay more attention to how much sleep they are getting.

  6. Hmmm....I've never really noticed, but I am going to pay more attention from now on!


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