Why My Dog Is Getting Harder To Wake Up? [FACTS]

Are you finding it hard to wake up your best friend? Is your pup no longer its vibrant self or seems lethargic? Don’t worry. Dogs, like we humans, have their own sleep cycles that can be affected by numerous natural causes such as age and lifestyle. 

If your furry companion has been harder to wake up, then it is possible that they are getting older. We don’t like it either, but as your beloved pooch approaches its senior years, the senses start to deteriorate and older dogs need more rest compared to younger furballs. 

my dog is getting harder to wake up
Help! My dog is getting harder to wake up!?

Going on walks, exercising, and basically going about their day will take significantly more energy, resulting in a more-tired dog. 

In this article, we’ll look at some of the reasons for your dog’s apparent tiredness and difficulty waking up. First, we’ll look at the issues that contribute to the sleep-wake cycle

Dogs Sleeping Hours For Optimal Health

On average, an adult dog sleeps for 12 to 14 hours a day for optimal health. In addition, older dogs are more prone to resting in comparison with roaming and exploring in their younger years. 

Of course, all dogs are different, and some dog owners attest that the age, breed, lifestyle, and other variables determine the total hours that their dogs sleep. 

As a dog enters their golden years, their cognition and physical performance might begin to deteriorate. Likewise, organs will lose their efficiency which results in lower energy making your pet sleepier. 


Factors That Impact A Dog’s Sleep And Waking

If they had a choice, dogs will be playing all day! However, as much as we all love to play with our furry companion, dogs also need to rest. The need to sleep increases as your pup grows older, say, six or seven years and above. 

There are numerous factors that impact your furball’s sleep, including:

Environment – The sleep-wake cycle of a dog alters with a change of territory. Moreover, research suggests that dogs that live indoors have a different sleep pattern compared with ones that are kept outside. 

Some pet dogs prefer sleeping on something soft and comfortable while the tougher breeds enjoy their crates and dog houses. However, senior dogs are typically seen to enjoy their sleep on soft surfaces. It is imperative to pick the right type of bed and bedding for your older pet so that they are comfy.

how much do Poodles sleep
How Much Do Poodles Sleep? (What is Normal)

Breed – Working dogs like Australian Shepherds and Siberian Huskies have shorter sleeping time periods and are less likely to lie around like other furry friends of the same size. Working dogs are bred to perform difficult tasks and stay awake for long. 

Some dogs have shorter noses, which predisposes them to develop sleep apnea, especially if your dog is overweight. Brachycephalic breeds like Mastiffs, Pugs, and English Bulldogs are at a higher risk of sleep apnea, which disrupts their sleep-wake cycle. 

Given that these dogs are genetically born with shorter snouts and flat faces that can cause respiratory problems, vets usually suggest surgery or create a distinctive diet plan.  

Health Factors – Pet parents who take special care of their dog’s health also ensure that they are well-rested. On the contrary, if your dog has a disease it will lead them to have a low-quality sleep. 

Generally, senior dogs sleep more than the young ones, however, prolonged hours do not guarantee a well-rested dog. If their sleep is low-quality, your furry friend will still be tired even when they slept all night. As a result, it will be harder for a dog to wake up fresh. 

woman holding Dalmatian puppies
Woman taking her Dalmatian puppies to the vet.

Diseases – A variety of health ailments might lead to poor sleep quality which can make your dog harder to wake, placing your dog in a loop or a catch 22. Low-quality sleep will create further health problems, which will worsen sleep patterns, well, you get the picture.  

Common diseases that affect a dog’s sleep patterns include arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and even loss of hearing. If your dog visits the yard frequently, it is a sign of weaker bladder control which comes with old age. In addition, hypothyroidism will make your dog lethargic, which is why they will find it harder to wake up. 

Size – Research shows that smaller dogs sleep for shorter periods. Likewise, larger dogs will get exhausted quickly because of their size and the energy it takes to move around a larger frame. 

What To Do If Your Dog Is Hard To Wake

No, NOT bang on stuff to have your dog wake in a panic. Just like waking up to a loudly blaring alarm clock isn’t an ideal way to wake up, neither is shaking your dog or banging loud instruments.

If your dog is finding it difficult to wake up, here are a few things you can do. 

Check if the dog is ill –  If your dog isn’t very old but is showing signs of lethargy, then they might be sick. If your dog is displaying other symptoms such as a loss of appetite, decreased energy levels or overall ill health, contact a vet to get the appropriate treatment. 

Don’t startle your dog – If your dog is in deep sleep and you want to wake them up, you should sit near them and gently rouse them. Make sure not to startle them, as surprised dogs can react uncharacteristically like snapping or biting

Staffordshire Terrier sleeping
A Staffordshire Terrier sleeping soundly on the couch.

Let them sleep – Most people know that getting a good night’s sleep is important for their health, but they may not realize that it’s just as important for their dogs. Sleep is vital for all animals, including dogs, and helps them to stay healthy and alert. 

Dogs need to sleep so that their bodies can repair themselves and recharge their energy levels. A lack of sleep can lead to a number of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. 

It can also cause behavioral problems, such as aggression and anxiety. So, if you want your dog to be healthy and happy, make sure to give them plenty of opportunities to catch some Z’s.

Reduce Physical Activity – If age isn’t a culprit, then you might have a hyper pup whose physical activity is putting a strain. 

When a dog plays for too long, they might experience exhaustion making it harder for them to wake up. 

In this case, try to find alternatives for physical activity that your dog will love while ensuring that your pet doesn’t overdo things. 

brown and white puppy on dog bed
A (very) sleepy brown and white puppy nods off on a large dog bed.

Ways To Improve Your Dog’s Sleep

If you want your dog to wake up in a playful and active mood, here are some tips for getting your pooch in the pink of health. 

Diet – As a dog gets older, it will either maintain its love for food or will lose its appetite, both scenarios posing a challenge. For this reason, a correct amount of good quality food should be provided. If you have a food-loving dog, then they might be at risk of gaining weight given that the exercise level minimizes with age.

Offering smaller portions is essential to maintain weight, however, it is difficult to achieve this target. On the other hand, some dogs might lose their appetite and you might find it difficult to give them enough calories. It can lead to the lethargy that will make your dog harder to wake up. 

Comfortable Bed – Having a proper bed or a soft surface to sleep on will keep your dog comfortable. It will give them a good night’s sleep and will wake them up fresh and willing to play. 

Develop a Routine – All dogs love to have a routine and it is particularly true for senior dogs. It is recommended that pet parents develop a stable routine so that their dog knows what to expect next. 

For instance, create a sleep time ritual that will tell your dog that sleeping time is approaching. You can either give them a treat, take them for their business or switch off the lights. 

Physical Activity – Exercise and being physically active is like second nature to a dog. However, as they grow older, dogs tend to exercise for shorter periods as your furry friend might get tired. 

Taking your dog for a walk, playing fetch, or teaching them tricks will keep them physically and mentally stimulated. 

large dog blanket sleeping
A puppy sleeping under a comfortable waterproof dog blanket

Final Thoughts

Many pet parents get worried when their dog is getting harder to wake up. However, the majority of reasons are not life-threatening, and due to the natural aging process. 

It turns out that sleep is just as important for dogs as it is for people. A dog’s sleep cycle is similar to a human’s, and both humans and dogs go through different stages of sleep, including REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

During REM sleep, dogs experience the same kind of brain activity as humans, meaning that they dream just like we do. In addition, sleep helps to regulate a dog’s mood and energy level, and it plays an important role in their overall health. So next time your dog is curled up snoring on the couch, let them rest; they’re doing themselves a world of good.