How Old is Your Dog? 

We’ve been doing it wrong for years! The myth was to multiply your dog's age by 7 and you get the human equivalent in years.

Dogs mature more quickly than humans do in their early years. If you look at the chart below, the first year for all dog sizes is equivalent to 15 human years. The second year of a dog’s life equals about 9-10 human years, while each year after that compares to about 4-5 human years. A recent study by the University of California (San Diego) provided a better conversion based on changes made to human and dog DNA over the years.

(Photo Credit Pupford)

What is the Connection Between Your Dogs Age and Their Sleep?

Just like humans, for your pet to live their best life and grow old, they need quality sleep.

The amount of sleep a dog needs will vary depending on breed and size but in general:

  • Puppies (0-12 mos) require 18-20 hours.
  • Adults (1-5 years) require 8-14 hours.
  • Seniors (5+ years) require 18-20 hrs.

Unlike humans, dogs have different sleep patterns consisting of shorter cycles and more frequent awakenings. Dogs can go through 20 or more sleep cycles, whereas humans go through 4 or 5 a night. 

In a 45-minute nap, your dog can go through two sleep cycles. Cycle 1 (NREM) occurs when your pet is in a light snooze with deep and rhythmic breathing. In this cycle your dog’s heart rate will begin to slow down and their blood pressure will begin to drop. Your dog’s breathing will be slow and regular. In Cycle 2 (REM) this is the phase of sleep when dreaming occurs. During this time your dog may whimper, cry and even growl in their sleep. They may also sleep “run”, twitch, move their paws, and flutter their eyes.

Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining your dog's overall health, bolstering their immune system, enhancing brain function, and facilitating learning and memory retention. It’s perfectly normal for dogs to sleep 12-14 hours a day.

Unlike people with busy schedules, dogs sleep when their bodies tell them its time for a nap. 

Here are 6 things to consider if you are concerned about how much your dog is sleeping:

  1. AGE - Puppies and senior dogs tend to sleep more.
  2. BREED - Large dogs sleep more than smaller dogs.
  3. HEALTH - Dogs with medical conditions or recent surgery require more sleep.
  4. ACTIVITY LEVELS - Working dogs sleep less than inactive dogs.
  5. DIET - Poor nutrition can lead to feeling tired and needing more sleep. 
  6. SLEEP ENVIRONMENT - Dogs have allergies and sleep disorders like humans.

(Photo Credit All Pets)

In the realm of canine dreaming, size plays a significant role. Large dog breeds, like Tibetan Mastiff, experience lengthier dreams but less frequently, whereas small dog breeds, like Shitzus, have shorter dream periods but more frequent occurrences. For instance, your 100lb Golden Lab may have a dream approximately every 45 minutes, lasting about four minutes each. Conversely, your 5lb Yorkie, being considerably smaller, might dream every 10 minutes with each dream lasting only around one minute.

Help Your Dog Set a Sleep Routine

Your dog will require the most sleep when they are puppies. According to many experts, this is the perfect time to establish good sleep routines. Start with your puppy taking a nap in a crate or kennel. This will teach them what to expect every night and make the transition to sleep easier. As they grow into adult dogs, they will sleep less. Keep in mind this is a great time to provide a cozy bed and a little nook of their own. Make sure the sleep environment is clean and free of toxins.

As senior dogs, they tend to sleep between 18-20 hours per day. It's normal for dogs to sleep more and wake up earlier to go to the bathroom, however, if you notice sudden or significant changes, speak to a vet immediately as sleep changes are signs of underlying health conditions.

Changes in a routine can affect your dog’s sleep and anxiety levels. The key is consistency; when you walk, when you feed, when you socialize, and when you sleep. Incorporating natural sunlight will help reinforce their sleep-wake cycles, so don’t forget about pooch when you take that early morning stroll. Provide proper servings of nutrient-rich meals and allow ample time to run around and have fun with friends.  When it's bedtime, turn off the TV, dim the lights and snuggle in their own bed. 

2 Dobermans, a white cat, and a frenchie relaxing on a Essentia Kingston organic dog bed

Simple Tips to Help Your Dog Sleep Better 

Select the Right Dog Bed

A dog's nose is 1000x more sensitive to smells than a humans. Imagine the toxins and allergens they breathe over 18 hours. Look for an organic, non toxic and hypo-allergenic pet bed. Dogs can spend up to 75% of the day sleeping, so this is what they will be breathing in the most. The Essentia kingston organic dog bed is the healthiest option for your four legged family members.

Create a Safe Environment

It's hard for you to sleep with the TV on, it's the same for your dog. Avoid loud and busy spaces, place your dog's organic bed in the quietest corner of your house and away from wireless signals and appliances. Vacuum their bed regularly to remove debris or dirt. Unclean beds can often cause skin allergies and irritation, resulting in sleep difficulties.

Room Temperature

This is just as important for your dog as it is for you. In hot climates, dogs can overheat so their environment should be well-ventilated to regulate the temperature. It needs to be just right…not too hot or too cold.

Maintain a Schedule 

Dogs, like our own children, thrive on routines. Create the schedule that works for you and stick to it. Include feeding, exercise, training and social time with other dogs. The secret is to get them exhausted before bedtime to ensure a good night’s sleep.