Before dogs became man’s best friend, they were wild and roamed vast tracts of land, hunting, and grouping in packs to defend themselves.
While it’s true that most dog species have been domesticated now and are sweet, lovable creatures, they still have that instinct that made them such formidable creatures of the wild.
Their sleeping patterns, for example, are something they have never been able to shake.
You may have noticed that your dog has strange sleeping patterns, stranger than yours. While human beings develop what is known as monophasic sleeping (sleeping for long periods during the night), dogs have something called polyphasic sleep (sleeping in a scattered pattern during both day and night).
One of the main reasons dogs have this pattern is because, unlike man, they have excellent day and night vision. Which means they could hunt and travel at any time of day.
However, hunting at night gave them an advantage since they could use the cover of darkness to sneak up on their prey. As such, dogs developed a system whereby they could get as much sleep as possible but only in scattered patches day and night.
Have you ever noticed that your dog can wake up and be immediately ready for action? Unlike you, they don’t need coffee to start functioning correctly again. They needed to do this to defend the pack.
However, how much is too much sleep? Is your Labrador sleeping too much? How can you tell? What could be the causes, and what can you do about it?
How Much Should Your Labrador Be Sleeping?
Those new to the world of dogs might not know how much dogs sleep in general. As such, it would be difficult to understand when your Labrador is sleeping too much.
Your dog typically sleeps 12 – 14 hours every 24 hours. This sleep is broken down into bits of 2 – 4-hour “naps.” While this number could vary slightly due to several factors, such as individual breeds and activity levels, it’s a reasonable estimate by which to live.
While those hours might sound like a lot to a human being, you must remember that dogs are only ever active for half the time they are awake. The rest of the time, they are resting.
If this sounds like what your dog does, then you have nothing to worry about. However, if your dog is sleeping significantly more than this, you might have cause for concern.
Why Is Your Labrador Sleeping Much More Now?
In general, a healthy dog in its prime will give you a good indication of its sleeping pattern. If, for some reason, you have noticed that this sleeping pattern has changed and your dog is sleeping a lot more now, there might be a problem that needs your attention.
Pinpointing the exact problem might require a visit to the vet. However, there are some common reasons why your lab might sleep more than usual.
Here are some reasons why your Labrador could be sleeping a lot more now:
1. His/her Age
For starters, sleeping up to 18 hours a day is perfectly normal if you have a puppy. Other dogs that are large in general (large dog breeds) and older dogs tend to sleep more than the standard 12-14 hours. Therefore, you have nothing to worry about if you have a puppy, a large dog breed, or an older dog.
2. The Breed of Your Dog
As already mentioned, larger dog breeds tend to sleep a bit more. It takes a bit more energy to lag their bodies around, and they get tired more.
Smaller dog breeds, on the other hand, take a lot longer to reach old age and will require less sleep in their lives. There are, however, some breeds that are known as “lazy dogs”:
- Bassett Hound
- Saint Bernard
These breeds tend to sleep a bit more and could spend up to 18 hours sleeping daily. So, if you have one of these, you may not need to worry too much about them sleeping.
However, Labradors don’t fall into this category; if yours sleeps up to 18 hours a day, you may need to worry. The following reasons might be why they are sleeping too much.
3. Anxiety, Boredom, and Stress
Dogs tend to be like human beings in this aspect. When your Labrador goes through some psychological issues or stress and anxiety, it will tend to sleep more. When your dog becomes excessively lazy, there is a good chance that they are feeling anxious or stressed.
One of the best ways to combat this is to help the dog by putting it on an active routine full of activities that stimulate them. This way, you will enhance their physical and mental condition.
4. They Might Have Thyroxine Deficiency
Commonly known as hypothyroidism, this condition tends to affect older dogs. The disease affects the dog’s metabolism; over time, the dog tends to appear unhealthy.
Even though this condition often affects older dogs, it can sometimes be found in much younger dogs, especially in breeds such as Labradors.
5. Your Dog Might Be Anemic
There are several reasons why your dog might have anemia or reduced blood. The most common reason is that it has some blood-sucking parasites within its body. These parasites might include:
Another reason your dog might be sleeping too much: is they are not getting enough restful sleep. Even though your dog might seem asleep almost the whole time, they aren’t resting well.
The remedy here is simple – a high-quality dog bed. That being said, it’s always a good idea to check with your vet to be sure what the cause might be so you can find the correct solution.
What to Do If Labrador Refuses to Sleep?
Some steps you can take at home can help your dog’s sleep habits. Try using the following tips to help your dog get a good night’s rest.
6 Simple Tips To Help Your Labrador Sleep Through the Night
1. Establish a predictable nighttime routine with your dog. It is essential to create a relaxed environment before bedtime. Offer toys, cuddle time, and other calming activities for 15-20 minutes before sleeping.
2. Ensure your dog is well exercised during the day so they are more likely to settle in for the night. Play fetch, walk around the block, or take them to the dog park to will help ensure they are tired and ready to sleep at night.
3. Try using melatonin as a natural sleep aid for your pup if they seem to be having trouble winding down at night. Melatonin can help their sleep and get them to settle in faster. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any supplements.
4. Make sure you have established healthy sleep habits yourself! Try going to bed at a reasonable hour and stick to it! Dogs are sensitive to their owners’ behaviors, so if you’re up late watching TV or playing video games, your pup may stay up too.
5. Be consistent and limit the amount of water your pup drinks before bed. Drinking too much can lead to frequent potty breaks in the middle of the night, so make sure they’ve gone out one last time before you hit the hay.
6. Try to avoid too much activity before bed. A game of fetch or tug-of-war can increase energy levels and make it harder for them to settle down. So, if you’re looking for some last-minute fun before lights out, go for a quick walk around the house instead!
By following these tips and continuing to provide your pup with love and attention, you can help create an environment where they feel safe, secure, and ready for a good night’s sleep. Sweet dreams!