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 natural instinct that made them such formidable creatures of the wild. Their sleeping patterns, for example, is something they have never been able to shake.
You may have noticed that your dog has strange sleeping patterns; stranger than yours, at least. While human beings developed what is known as monophasic sleeping (sleeping for long stretches of time during the night) dogs have something called polyphasic sleep (sleeping in a scattered pattern during both day and night).
One of the main reasons why dogs have this pattern is because, unlike man, they have an excellent day as well as night vision. Which means they could hunt and travel during any time of day. Hunting at night, however, 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 during both day and night.
Have you ever noticed that your dog can simply wake up and be immediately ready for action? They needed to do this to defend the pack. Unlike you, they don’t need coffee to start functioning properly again.
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 who are new to the world of dogs might not know how much dogs sleep in general. As such, it would be very difficult to know when your Labrador is sleeping too much.
On average, your dog would typically sleep for about 12 – 14 hours in every 24 hours. This sleep is broken down into bits of 2 – 4-hour “naps.” While this number could slightly vary due to several factors such as individual breeds and activity levels, it’s a good estimate by which to live.
While those number of hours might sound like a lot to a human being, you have to remember that dogs are only ever actually active for half the time that 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, then 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 be sleeping a lot more than usual.
Here are some reasons why you Labrador could be sleeping a lot more now:
1. His/her Age
For starters, if you have a puppy, then it’s perfectly normal for it to sleep up to 18 hours a day. Other dogs that are large in general (large dog breeds), as well as older dogs, tend to sleep more than the normal 12-14 hours as well. Therefore, if you have a puppy, a large dog breed, or an older dog, then you have nothing to worry about.
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, therefore, get tired more. Smaller dog breeds, on the other hand, take a lot longer to reach old age and as such, 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 in a day. So, if you have one of these, you may not need to worry too much about them sleeping too much. However, Labradors don’t fall into this category and as such, if yours sleeps up to 18 hours a day, then you may need to worry. The following reasons might be why he/she is sleeping too much.
3. Anxiety, Boredom, and Stress
Dogs tend to be as human beings in this aspect. When your Labrador is going through some psychological issues or stress and anxiety, he/she will tend to sleep a bit more. When your dog becomes excessively lethargic, 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 him/her. This way, you will enhance their physical and mental condition.
4. He/She Might Have Thyroxine Deficiency
Commonly known as hypothyroidism, this condition tends to affect older dogs. The condition affects the dog’s metabolism, and over time, the dog tends to appear unhealthy. Even though this condition often affects older dogs, sometimes it can be found in much younger dogs as well, 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:
There is one other reason why your dog might be sleeping too much: they are not getting enough restful sleep. Even though your dog might seem to be asleep almost the whole time, they aren’t really 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 just to be sure what the cause might be so you can find the correct solution.