Sleep is important for the restoration of energy, for healing and growth for us humans as well as for dogs. However, you may have wondered why your Great Dane sleeps most of the day. Is this normal and should you be worried?
Why does my Great Dane sleep so much? Factors that influence a Great Dane to sleep so much include their age, activity level, health status, the natural sleep pattern of dogs, and the breed characteristics as a large breed dog which is predisposed for longer sleep. Sleeping more is normal, however, some symptoms could accompany the sleep pattern indicating signs of health problems.
In this article, we aim to show you factors that influence a Great Dane to sleep more, the breed’s sleeping habits, and when to get medical help.
How much a Great Dane sleeps depends on the following:
The length of time of sleep depends on how old a Great Dane is.
Puppies sleep more compared to adult or senior Great Danes.
This is because it is natural for young ones to sleep more for healthy growth.
Their bodies are developing and sleep is part of the process in allowing this to take place.
Puppies are also more energetic and playful and use up their energy quickly compared to adult dogs and they need more time to rest to regain energy.
Senior dogs sleep longer as well because of the decreased energy level, get tired quickly, and thus spend most of their time sleeping.
The activity level of a Great Dane also affects how much they sleep.
Working dogs and small breed dogs normally sleep less.
Great Danes were bred as working dogs that helped in hunting by tracking their targets.
After a long day of hunting, they were naturally allowed to rest because of this intense activity that depleted their energy.
The modern Great Dane however is not used for the same purpose. They are more of family dogs and are “retired” from their role as active working dogs.
Because of this, their activity level has decreased and a dog with nothing better to do sleeps most of the time.
The activity level also depends on your family’s lifestyle or engagement of them with activities they can do.
If a Great Dane has a daily routine that has more activities to engage in, they will sleep only after the activities to rest and regain energy.
Also when they don’t have an active lifestyle, naturally due to boredom they will sleep the day away.
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The presence of diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, depression, and acquired deafness in older dogs can also cause a change in sleeping patterns.
A sick Great Dane will sleep more as they recover and get well compared to a healthy one.
Also, a dog on medication will tend to sleep more.
Therefore, the presence of disease can also be the underlying reason why a Great Dane can sleep a lot.
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The breed's characteristics
A dog’s breed characteristic determines how much they sleep. Some breeds are more likely to have the tendency to sleep more compared to others.
Large breed dogs are known to sleep more than small breed dogs.
As a large breed dog, the Great Dane is naturally predisposed to longer sleep habits.
The sleep pattern of dogs
Dogs in general have a different sleep pattern compared to humans and tend to sleep more than us in 24 hours.
Dogs have a polyphasic type of sleep which means they have several sleep cycles spread throughout 24-hours, while humans have a monophasic sleep pattern which means we have one long sleep cycle in a 24-hour period which is usually at night.
Both human and dog sleep cycles have the slow-wave phase which is the first phase of sleep and the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
A dog usually enters the slow-wave phase in 10 minutes and quickly enters the REM phase.
They only spend 10% of their sleep cycle in REM which is not enough compared to humans where we spend 25% of our sleep in the phase, which is the restorative period of sleep which is important.
As quickly as a dog enters its REM sleep cycle, they can also quickly wake up from it and can be alert. This is seen when your dog wakes up quickly when they hear sounds from their surroundings.
Short periods of sleep explains why dogs sleep several times a day. They need more total sleep in 24 hours to regain and compensate for the lost REM sleep cycle which is important for natural rest or restoration.
Therefore a Great Dane sleeping a lot during the day combined with the night sleep is a natural sleep pattern of all dogs.
Great Dane Puppy Sleeping Habits
A Great Dane puppy sleeps between 18 to 24 hours. Just like human babies, puppies sleep most of the time because sleep is essential as it allows for healthy growth and development.
Their bodies continuously grow during this period and rest allows this to happen.
Puppies also have high-energy, they spend time learning about their environment and all this can be exhausting for them. They require sleep to recover energy.
It is therefore natural for a Great Dane puppy to eat, sleep and poop a lot.
When they mature and grow older, the sleep reduces to about 14 hours.
Adult Great Dane Sleeping Habits
An adult Great Dane sleeps between 14 to 16 hours a day with an average of 12 hours.
This is perfectly normal if they are healthy and eating well.
Dogs inclusive of the Great Dane spend 50% of their time sleeping and 30% of their time lounging. This means only 20% of 24 hours is spent on other activities. This shows a lot of time in a 24-hour timeline is spent sleeping.
Also, typically all dogs like to lounge when not asleep. This is where they are awake but generally, they are not doing anything while lying down and just watching their environment. This is normal as well for a Great Dane.
When To Worry And Get Help
Sleeping a lot for a Great Dane can also be a sign of underlying health problems.
Talk to your vet when your dog’s sleep pattern has changed from their normal pattern especially with sudden significant sleep changes.
The vet will determine if the change is due to medical or behavioral problems. Immediately call your vet when you notice the following behaviors from your Great Dane:
- Consistently being restless at night
- Not napping during the day
- Sleep interferes with their eating and drinking
- They sleep suddenly in the middle of an activity
- It’s hard to wake them up in the morning
- Change in sleep pattern, that is, they sleep more than usual
- They are slow to wake up and don’t respond quickly to normal motivations such as you calling them or when giving them a treat or food
- Behavior problems arise, that is, excessive sleep is accompanied by excessive whining, crying, disorientation, neediness, becoming irritable, anxiety, pacing, drooling, limping, staring at walls, and withdrawal from being active or engaged even in small activities
Frequently Asked Questions
When will my Great Dane puppy sleep through the night?
The time a Great Dane puppy sleeps throughout the night depends on the consistent training they receive to get them to sleep most of the night. Training is important for a puppy to encourage longer sleep.
As a Great Dane puppy owner, much like having a newborn baby, you will still have to wake up at least once a night during the first few months because it is normal for them to wake up at least once a night to urinate and relieve themselves.
The Great Dane is a laid-back dog that you will find loves to lounge and sleep most of the day.
Sleeping a lot for a Great Dane is common and normal therefore should not be a cause for alarm, however, there are certain signs to watch out for that indicate the presence of health problems.
It is also best to be aware of your dog’s sleep habits so that if there are any changes to their sleep patterns, you can contact your vet immediately. It is also advisable to keep a sleep log to track this.
I hope this article has helped you know why a Great Dane sleeps so much, what affects their sleep, their sleeping habits, and when to contact your vet.
If you liked this article you may also like to learn more from the below resources on Great Danes.