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Why Do Dachshunds Sleep So Much?

Dachshunds are a loyal, friendly, spunky, and curious breed that has been widely popular for many years. This notoriously energetic dog has won over millions of hearts. As dynamic as they might be, dachshunds are also known to sleep a lot.

Dachshunds are hunting dogs and, when not hunting, they sleep to conserve energy. Generally, dachshunds sleep for 14 hours a day, and a lack of stimuli causes an increase in sleep. Apart from their hunting instinct, factors influencing sleep behavior are age, level of activity, health, and lifestyle.

If you’ve noticed that your wiener dog loves to sleep, keep reading this article to find out how much dogs tend to sleep, why dachshunds sleep so much, and how to keep your dog stimulated and awake.

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How Much Do Dogs Sleep?

Sleep is critical for dogs, just as it is for humans. Sleep enables brain development and encourages learning and memory in dogs. It boosts their immune system and minimizes the risk of getting sick (source).

The average dog sleeps twelve to fourteen hours per 24-hour cycle.

One of the key factors influencing sleep is age. Puppies, like babies, need a lot more sleep while they grow and develop. Their sleep cycle can be as long as 18 to 20 hours a day. Older dogs also tend to need more rest and sleep (source).

The number of hours of sleep dogs need also depends on the breed. Overall, larger breeds sleep more. Dachshunds, ranging from miniature to a standard-size dog, tend to sleep 14 hours or more. Why? Let’s find out.

Why Do Dachshunds Sleep So Much?

As hunting hounds, dachshunds sleep as a way to conserve energy. Bred to hunt badgers and other small prey, these energetic dogs need a lot of sleep (source).

As we mentioned, due to their hunting instinct, they generally sleep 14 hours or more. Even the modern-day, non-hunting dachshund will sleep to conserve energy, as much as 70 percent of their time.

Image by Vasilijus Bortnikas via Pixabay  

The Sleep Cycle

Dachshunds do not sleep in one long stretch, like humans. Their sleep cycle is shorter, infrequent, and results in easy awakening. 

Like humans, their sleep cycle consists of two distinct parts: non-REM sleep and a REM or Rapid Eye Movement cycle. These sequential phases last for different durations at various ages; a puppy’s sleep cycle will look different than that of an adult dog.

Stage 1

In this first light sleep stage, the brain develops alpha and theta waves and eye movements slow down. This stage can last up to seven minutes in humans, but with dogs, this stage is shorter.

Stage 2

The second stage produces an increase in brain wave frequency, known as sleep spindles; catnaps by your dog end after this stage.

Stage 3 & 4

These two stages are the beginning of deep sleep. The brain produces slower delta waves, and there is no eye movement or muscle activity. Your dog will move into a deeper, restorative sleep, which stimulates growth, development, and boosts immunity and energy.

REM Sleep

While humans generally reach REM sleep after 90 minutes, dogs get there much faster. Although it can depend on the breed, some dogs enter REM sleep in less than 20 minutes. Getting into REM sleep quickly also means the sleep cycle for dogs is much shorter (source).

In humans, a REM sleep cycle lasts about an hour, with up to six cycles a night. Twenty-five percent of sleep is spent in REM sleep, whereas dogs only spend 10 percent here. The shorter period of restful sleep means that dogs need to sleep longer to get sufficient REM sleep.

Since REM sleep is vital for learning and memory function and stimulates brain development, it is important that your dachshund is getting enough sleep.

How Much Sleep Should Your Dachshund Be Getting?

The average dog needs 12 to 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours, but a dog’s sleep pattern is adaptive and flexible. They sleep in short stretches and awaken easily, but generally do not require assistance (source).

Still, sometimes they need your support, and it is best practice to have a sleep schedule in place.

Sleep Schedule

Dogs are neither nocturnal nor diurnal. They are social sleepers, taking cues from their owners.

The primary consideration for a sleep schedule is around the need for dogs to relieve themselves. When and how often this occurs will help you put together a sleep schedule.

Since puppies cannot physically sleep for long stretches without relieving themselves, they will require a sleep schedule.

A calm and safe environment will ease the implementation of a sleep schedule into your daily routine. You will find that your dog is the happiest in a warm, cozy, and protective space, preferably burrowed under blankets.

If you notice increased bathroom behavior at night, consider changing mealtimes. If the issue persists, contact your local veterinarian for help. 

When to Be Concerned

Sleeping habits and behavior vary per dog. Keep an eye out for sudden and dramatic changes, or you might notice that your sleep schedule no longer holds up. Whatever the cause, consult your local veterinarian for advice and support. 

Warning signs include excessive lethargy, breathing problems, or accompanied changes such as a change in your dog’s appetite, coinciding with a change in their sleeping habits.

Illness is more likely to make a dog sleepier, and therefore health is a key indicator to look out for. Narcolepsy is an inherited condition in dachshunds. Other conditions include hypothyroidism, diabetes, heartworm, heart, and liver diseases.

If your dachshund is seeking attention, displays destructive behavior, excessive barking, or obsessive behaviors, they might be bored. Dachshunds rely on their owners for attention and require constant stimulation and entertainment. 

With little physical and mental stimulation, a healthy dachshund will sleep a lot due to a lack of stimuli. The next section will offer you some tips and tricks to keep your dog stimulated and awake.

Keeping Your Dachshund Stimulated & Awake

To ensure your dachshund gets enough stimuli throughout the day, maintain a healthy balance between awake and sleep time, and put thought and energy into how to spend awake time to avoid that your dog gets bored.

Image by Katrinbechtel from Pixabay

There simply is no way around it, adopting a holistic lifestyle is helpful and should address exercise, diet, and stimulation. Active dogs are generally healthy, and their sleeping behavior will reflect this.

A regular and varied exercise routine is essential. The British Dachshund Breed Council recommends both on-leash and off-leash walks. Doing this will ensure your dog builds adequate muscle-tone and a strong body, rather than only free-play in the garden (source).

Proper nutrition, in the form of a nutritious and well-balanced diet, is just as important. The focus should be on high-quality food that sustains your dog throughout the day and night.

Dogs have different nutritional requirements at each stage of their life, and there are six essential classes of nutrients dogs need for optimum healthy living. They are water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals (source).

A poor diet may lead to increased shedding and can reduce the life expectancy of this otherwise healthy breed significantly.

Avoid Boredom While You Are at Work

Even when you adopt a holistic lifestyle for your dog, you might spend a lot of time outside the house due to work commitments. If this is the case, consider some of the following tricks to keep your dachshund stimulated and entertained while you are at work.

Interactive dog toys and puzzles are ideal mental stimulation and develop intellectual skills. You may notice an increase in your dog’s excitement during playtime. Rotate different toys and make sure to introduce new toys from time to time.

Ask a friend or family member to check in on your dog while you are away, or consider making use of a dog walker in your area to keep this intelligent workaholic companion occupied. 

Doggy daycares are also becoming more readily available. If you have a social dog that easily adapts to different environments, this might be a good solution. Make sure to check out the facility and start on a trial basis to allow some adjustment time for you both. 

Final thoughts

Dachshunds are energetic hunting dogs that sleep to conserve energy. Even when they do not hunt, they tend to sleep for 14 hours or more. Apart from their hunting instinct, age, level of activity, health, and lifestyle also influence their sleeping behavior and cycle.

To determine whether your dog is sleeping too much, keep a close eye out for warning signs that might indicate illness. While illness is not uncommon, a lack of stimuli may also increase sleep.

A holistic lifestyle, with a varied exercise routine and a nutritious diet, is the key to maintain a healthy balance between awake and sleep time. Use interactive toys, dog walkers, or even a doggy daycare to keep your dog stimulated and cared for while at work.