The Reason Why Older Dogs Sleep So Much | DogExpress
Wednesday , March 22 2023
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The Reason Why Older Dogs Sleep So Much

The Reason Why Older Dogs Sleep So Much

Why do senior dogs sleep more? Dogs tend to sleep more with their growing age. Daytime napping and longer night sleep are common among older dogs. Now, there are several reasons why that could be. While the gradual increase in sleep time is considered normal, sudden changes in their sleeping habits could cause concern for pet owners.

For instance, they tend to get tired quicker following exercise. They don’t have the same energy levels as the younger puppies. Hence, they are more reluctant to do things and choose to sleep more. So they need more time to recharge. Usually, older dogs sleep more than younger dogs. Still, if your senior dog is sleeping too much, it can be a significant issue.

The question that arises here is how much sleep is excessive sleep. If your older dog sleeps over 18 hours a day, it is a sign of some medical issues.   

Why do old dogs sleep so much?

Dementia in dogs

As a dog ages, you can expect its brain not to function well as it did earlier. However, the cognitive decline of a severe order, like dementia, is not normal. Still, it does happen to some dogs.

If you see that their day and night sleeping schedule has turned upside down, it could indicate that there is more to it than age. Are they aimlessly wandering, as if lost, or are they failing to respond to familiar commands?

If yes, these are signs your dog may be suffering from dementia. The noticeable signs of canine dementia are as follows

  • Progressive and increasing disorientation and confusion.
  • Inability to adapt to fresh situations.
  • A flipping of their day and night waking up and sleeping patterns.
  • Accidents at home.
  • Changes in behavior with family members.
  • An increase in the amount of affection that they want from you.
  • High levels of aggression and/or anxiety.

If you think your dog is showing any of these signs, the best thing you can do is get advice from a veterinarian.

choosing bed for senior dog

Joint pain in older dogs

Pain can be a sign that your dog sleeps much. If your older dog is feeling pain, it could probably retreat and consider sleeping more to recover and avoid making the pain worse. Frequent napping can indicate a hidden health issue causing discomfort to your dog.

In such a situation, you must consult the vet to chalk out the right course of treatment. Joint pain is also known as osteoarthritis. Are your dogs having trouble getting comfortable even before they start sleeping?

If yes, canine osteoarthritis could be a reason for that. It is a disease that affects senior dogs and causes joint pain. That pain could be another reason your little one is not getting the sleep they need so badly at these advanced stages of their lives.

Following are the key signs that you need to look out for in this case:

  • stiffness
  • difficulty in getting up or limping
  • lethargy
  • weight gain
  • irregular breathing pattern
  • snoring excessively
  • frequent napping
  • change in sleep patterns
  • changes in behavior or irritability
  • pain if you touch or stroke them
  • difficulty in getting in the right position to defecate or urinate

Read More: Is It Possible to Train Senior Dogs?

Some breeds tend to be more vulnerable to this condition than others. A brief list may be provided to elaborate on the statement:

  • Labradors – elbows and hips
  • Springer Spaniels – elbows and hips
  • German Shepherds – spine, elbows, and hips
  • Golden Retrievers – hips
  • Rottweilers – elbows and hips
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs – elbows and hips

The bad thing with arthritis in dogs is that it can go without detection for years. However, with regular check-ups, the problem could be detected, and the pain could be alleviated.

Training Tips And Tricks For Senior Dogs

Hypothyroidism in dogs 

It is one reason why some dogs sleep too much. It happens the most to senior and middle-aged dogs, and the main reason for this is a drop in the thyroid hormone levels in your baby’s bloodstream. These hormones are primarily responsible for your dog having a healthy metabolic rate.

If they have too many of such hormones, they could be showing signs of hyperactivity. If they have fewer hormones than they need, they tend to sleep too much and act sluggishly. In such cases, they also put on weight.

There are some other signs that your fur baby is suffering from the issue:

  • dullness in their coat
  • excessive shedding
  • reluctance to perform any exercise
  • greater susceptibility to ear and skin infections
  • intolerance to cold – they get cold easily

The thing with hypothyroidism is that it can be easily managed and treated by using oral medicines. However, it is essential to keep communicating with your vet to ensure that you do not under-dose or overdose on your baby when administering thyroid medicines.

The ever-growing need to urinate 

Dogs need to pee more often as they get older. It can disturb their sleep. It could become an issue in so many ways as it leads them to have to fight the urge to urinate and experience discomfort in bed because of their leaky bladders, such as coldness and wetness.

Therefore, you need to give them plenty of opportunities to relieve themselves when they are older so that they sleep with a greater degree of comfort. You may want to talk to your vet and find out if any medicine can help your dog in such a situation.

So, we hope you now understand the possible reasons why your senior dog is sleeping a lot suddenly. This way, the dogs get a good night’s sleep, and your house remains clean. When your dog gets older, take them frequently to the vet.

Getting insurance for your senior dogs can be beneficial as it helps such issues get detected early and treated. You do not have to worry about the financial side of such treatment. If you are serious about giving them the best life that you can, you need to be able to detect their health issues early as well.

How To Treat Mobility Issues In Senior Dogs

Read More: How To Take Care Of Your Senior Dog?


Older dogs sleep more for several reasons, such as decreased activity levels, hormonal changes, and age-related medical conditions. As they age, dogs may also experience a decline in cognitive function, which can lead to increased sleep.

It is important to monitor your older dog’s sleep patterns and consult with a veterinarian if any changes or concerns arise. Additionally, providing a comfortable and safe sleeping environment can help ensure your older dog gets the rest they need.

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