• Most dogs sleep for 12 hours a day. Choosing the right bed is essential.

    New dog owners are often shocked by how much their dog sleeps. Most dogs sleep for 12 hours a day, and some breeds will doze for as much as 18 hours. The truth is, however, that when dogs are "sleeping," they wake frequently, and then return to sleep.

    The amount of sleep needed depends on dog type: a working dog will sleep less than an at-home dog, and older dogs tend to sleep more than younger ones. The environment you create for your dog will also impact his sleep.

    Understanding bed types

    Providing your dog with a mat, blanket or bed and a quiet, safe place to sleep will help ensure a peaceful slumber. There are many dog bed types available on the market. Broadly speaking, they can be classified as follows:

    • Bolster bed. This bed has a high back, so your dog feels safe and cozy. This is great for dogs that like big pillows and are frightened when approached from behind.
    • Orthopedic mattress bed. Older dogs like this type of bed because it provides the right amount of comfort and support. They often come heated.
    • Pillow bed. Small dogs enjoy burrowing or nesting, so small round beds are perfect. Among the benefits of this bed type is that they can simply be thrown in the washing machine to be cleaned.
    • Cot-style bed. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, this bed is perfect. It keeps your dog cool in the summer and off the cold floor in the winter. They are often made from fabric that resists mildew and fungus.
    • Heated dog bed. These beds are ideal if you live in a place that is cold. They can also help dogs who are recovering from an illness or surgery.
    The right bed for your dog

    With so many dog bed options available you may be wondering which bed is the right one for your dog. The proper type depends highly on the size of your dog:

    • How big is he? Measure your dog while he's lying down — then add 12 inches to ensure you buy the properly sized bed.
    • Your dog's weight will help to determine what type of fabric is best. Heavier dogs will require more durable fabrics than lighter dogs.

    Sleeping a lot is normal for a dog. If you have any questions or notice a significant change in your dog's sleeping habits, you should consult your veterinarian.

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    Dogs do dream, and like humans, have rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and slow wave sleep (SWS).