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Golden Retrievers sleep a lot, and how much they sleep can be surprising. Golden Retrievers sleep more than we do, and this significant need for sleep leaves many pet owners wondering if Golden Retrievers sleep a lot and if that is normal?
Adult Golden Retrievers typically sleep about half the day or between 12 to 14 hours daily. Total sleep includes around 8 – 10 hours per night plus additional naps throughout the day. One-third of the day is spent lying down but not sleeping, and the rest is spent in some form of activity.
So, if your Golden Retriever is sleeping a lot, chances are, while it seems excessive, it is probably normal.
This article explores the amount of sleep a Golden Retriever needs, including factors that can affect sleep and some tips to help ensure your Golden Retriever gets enough sleep.
Hold up. Golden Retriever puppies typically sleep more than adolescent and adult Golden Retrievers. Since their sleep requirements are so large, and often pet owners are concerned, I wrote an entire article dedicated to puppies only. Check it out here: Golden Retriever Puppies: How Much Do They Sleep?
How Much Sleep Should a Golden Retriever Have?
Adult and adolescent Golden Retrievers should get around 14 hours, although a little less or a little more is okay. Some days, you may find they sleep approximately 12 hours, while other days, it could be upwards of 16.
Golden Retrievers are highly active and energetic dogs that need a lot of physical and mental stimulation to feel fulfilled at the end of the day. And, provided their activity needs are met, they will need a lot of sleep to rest and recuperate.
Golden Retrievers will most often adjust to your sleep routine, so you will find that they sleep through most of the night and then nap throughout the day to get any extra sleep they need.
Dogs in general, including Golden Retrievers, spend half of their day asleep, 30 percent awake but lying down, and only 20 percent of their day in some form of activity [source].
According to Sleep.org, the average sleep time for dogs is 45 minutes in a single sleep session. So, you may notice that your Golden Retriever may sleep soundly for an hour, then stir and change from the bed to the floor.
The short sleep time and frequent stirring are often why letting the dog sleep in the bed causes a less restful night for pet owners.
Sleep requirements go up for a Golden Retriever as it ages. Senior Golden Retrievers can often sleep similar amounts as puppies.
Most often, as the dog’s body ages, the quality of sleep slows down, and the need for more increases. In addition, health issues, which are more common in senior dogs, also increase the demand for sleep.
Similarly, a puppy also needs more sleep to support its growing body and fast metabolism.
As a result, expect puppies and senior Golden Retrievers to need more sleep than an adolescent or adult Golden Retriever – typically anywhere in the 16 to 20-hour range, depending on the factors discussed next.
Did you know that it is not uncommon for Golden Retrievers to snore at times? If you want to learn about snoring in your dog, including when it’s potentially abnormal, then check this post out: Yes, Golden Retrievers Can Snore: Here’s Why!
Why Do Golden Retrievers Sleep So Much?
As a whole, Golden Retrievers sleep a lot because sleep supports various biological factors necessary for good health, including the brain, immune system, and learning and retaining memories.
Additionally, the length of time that a Golden Retriever sleeps depends on numerous factors.
- Activity level
- Illness, Injury, Surgery, and Medication
All these things can contribute to how much your Golden Retriever sleeps, and knowing these factors is essential.
The age of your Golden Retrievers is one of the biggest things that contribute to the amount of sleep needed. At the far end of each spectrum of age, the amount of sleep increases.
Due to their growing bodies and fast metabolism, puppies need more sleep. Likewise, senior dogs also need more rest due to their aging bodies and slower metabolisms.
However, most of a Golden Retriever’s life is spent in adulthood. Adults typically need 12 to 14 hours per day, barring any health issue or lack of activity, as discussed later on.
So, a general guide based on age is as follows:
|Age of Golden Retriever||Amount of Sleep|
|Puppy (up to 1 year old)||16 – 20 hours|
|Adolescent and Adult (1 to 8 years old)||12 to 14 hours|
|Senior (8 to 10+ years old)||16 to 20 hours|
Remember that these are general guidelines, and there are individual differences among dogs within each breed. So, all factors being equal, one Golden Retriever may need more sleep, another less.
Not surprisingly, activity directly impacts the amount and quality of sleep that your Golden Retriever gets.
Typically if they have not had a fulfilling amount of physical activity and mental stimulation during the day, their sleep will be sporadic and in short bursts. So, you may find your Golden Retriever boredom naps – the dog naps a lot because there is nothing better to do.
However, the quality of that sleep is not optimum. In other words, while they may nap a lot, they typically are more restless than when they have been adequately exercised.
Contrast that to days where they’re highly active. Usually, you will see a less restless dog and one that sleeps longer and more deeply. In addition, they are less likely to seek attention and become mischievous.
Why? Because they have burned an adequate amount of energy and have far less in reserve while getting the quality sleep that their minds and bodies need.
For example, when I take my Golden Retriever Bailey to doggie daycare, he sleeps from the time he gets home at 5:00 pm to the following day at 6:00 am, and it is sound sleep. Yet, even the next day, he may not be in the mood for a vigorous walk until later in the day.
In contrast, on days where he gets little activity, such as especially frigid days during our cold Canadian winters, he is more restless during the day, although he naps frequently. As a result, he is more inclined to seek our attention for play on those days, or he amuses himself by being mischievous.
So, in summary:
More activity for your Golden Retriever = less pent-up energy = more sleep and better quality sleep.
Less activity for your Golden Retriever = more pent-up energy = less sleep and less quality sleep.
As noted previously, there are individual differences between dogs within a breed. Or in other words, they have different personalities.
When people select a dog, they often put far too much emphasis on breed characteristics versus individual differences in a litter. So, while the Golden Retriever is considered a very active breed, you can have individual puppies within a litter that are super high energy (like ours) and others that are a bit less so.
Similarly, you may get a Golden Retriever that sleeps more or one that doesn’t.
Don’t underestimate the importance of diet. Dogs, like humans, need adequate calories each to fuel activity and biological functions.
In addition, to function optimally, their bodies need proper levels of macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
An obese dog may have less energy and difficulty exercising, so it may sleep more. Whereas an underfed Golden Retriever may not have enough energy to be active, causing it to be more lethargic and sleep more due to lack of energy.
Illnesses, Injuries, Surgery, and Medication
Sick or injured dogs will need more sleep. Sickness and injury stress the body, and it requires a lot of energy to support healing and recovery.
Sleep supports those processes, so expect a dog to sleep more if injured or sick, much like we do when we have the flu or cold.
Dogs might also sleep more if they have a pre-existing health condition for much of the same reasons as sickness and injury. Potentially compounding any pre-existing health issues is if it requires medication.
Medications can impact sleep, either increasing it or decreasing it.
Surgery, such as when getting spayed or neutered, will also cause a dog to sleep more as it heals. Consider our Golden Retriever Bailey when he was neutered. Initial sleep was from the anesthesia (medication) and the stress of the surgery.
But, even a few days later, he was still sleeping more than usual, partially from the pain medication and the need for his body to recuperate.
Signs Your Golden Retriever May Not Be Getting Enough Sleep
While it is rare that your Golden Retriever is sleep-deprived and not getting enough sleep, it can happen. It could be due to children not allowing the dog to sleep enough during the day, or chronic pain, medication, or injury.
Whatever the reason, sleep deprivation can be detrimental to Golden Retrievers in much the same way it is for humans.
Often signs of lack of sleep in dogs will manifest as stress, anxiety, or even agitation or aggressiveness. Usually, you will see a very restless dog that can’t settle down.
If you think your Golden Retriever is sleep-deprived, you must talk to your vet to determine the cause and remedy the issue so your dog can sleep better.
Tips To Help Your Golden Retriever Get Enough Sleep
A Healthy Diet
Ensure your Golden Retriever is being fed healthy, nutritious dog food. One that meets both is macro and micronutrients. Talk to your vet for recommendations.
Also, make sure your Golden Retriever is fed proper portions. Watch for potential overfeeding issues from snacks or table feeding. Keeping your Golden Retriever at a healthy weight positively impacts its health and its sleep.
Establish a Routine
Changes to routines or erratic routines can affect a dog’s sleep, impede cognitive levels, and increase stress levels.
Similar to children and even adults, dogs also need consistent routines. As discussed earlier, Golden Retrievers are diurnal and need the brunt of their sleep through the night.
Try to be consistent with when your dog goes to bed, when you get up, go for a walk, feed your dog, and any rituals before bed. As discussed in my article on puppies and sleep, Golden Retrievers are very good at learning routines.
Therefore, a consistent pre-sleep routine is an excellent primer to the dog that it’s time to get ready to settle down and go to sleep.
If you can, try to get your dog outside during the day, especially in the morning. Dogs don’t live by a clock but rather a circadian rhythm, so the sunlight can help with their natural sleep-wake cycles.
Be prepared for some disruptions during changes during daylight savings time. Slowly adjusting their schedules a few weeks in advance helps ease them into the change rather than abruptly shifting everything by an hour on one day.
Make Time for Play and Exercise
Meeting your Golden Retriever’s need for physical activity and mental stimulation is critical for sleep. A tired dog sleeps more and better than one that lacks its fulfillment of physical and mental stimulation.
If you work and have little time to exercise your dog, consider hiring a dog walker or dropping off the dog at daycare two or three times per week.
I wrote an article on raising a Golden Retriever puppy while working, but much of it applies to adult dogs. Please read about it here: Raising a Golden Retriever Puppy While Working: Guilt-Free Solutions.
Make Bedtime Relaxing
It is beneficial to teach your Golden Retriever the skill of calming himself or self-soothing before going to its bed. Most dogs will chew to calm themselves, so make sure it has good chew toys to help wind down the mind.
During the evening, your dog must relax before bed. Ideally, it would help if you taught your dog to “wind down” an hour or so before bed. Ensure your dog has burnt excess energy from the day during the evening. A walk after supper or some play helps.
If your dog is a chewer, giving it something to chew in the evening is a MUST.
For example, we use Kongs and snuffle mats (you can find the ones I use in my recommendations and resources at the bottom of this post). As a special treat, Bailey sometimes gets a big soup bone.
The chew toy or foraging mat helps preoccupy him a few hours before bed. Usually, by an hour before bedtime, he’s already sleeping.
Also, avoid stimulating or getting your Golden Retriever worked up before bed. Instead, give him adequate time to decompress and wind down.
Lastly, make sure the room your dog sleeps in is a dark, quiet, and cool room. Dogs, like us, sleep better in these environments.
Treat Underlying Conditions
Consult your veterinarian for solutions if there are underlying health conditions that negatively impact sleep. Your veterinarians will address any underlying causes and may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, supplements, or medical interventions.
Recommendations from your vet may include prescribing pain medication if your Golden Retriever is suffering from decreased sleep quality due to osteoarthritis, chronic pain, or other health issues.
Make Time for Training
Don’t overlook training. Training is valuable in teaching your dog how to settle for the evening and calm down, and it also strengthens the bond with your dog.
Of course, it positively impacts the brain, helping with learning and memory. And any activities that stimulate your dog’s brain will tire him more.
For example, on days that BAR gets a lot of nosework (sniffing) on walks and has a few training sessions, he is much more apt to be calm in the evenings and sleep better through the night.
Lastly, you can train your dog to calm down. Many dogs suffer from hyperactivity and excitement that can be addressed with training.
If you’re in the market for an online dog training program, check out my recommendations below. My recommendations are based on buying and comparing five of the most popular online courses to determine which is the best: Online Dog Training Courses: These Are The Ones To Buy.
Summing It Up
Don’t be alarmed if you find your adult Golden Retriever sleeps between 12 to 14 hours per day. Healthy adult Golden Retrievers sleep a lot, and that is normal.
Dogs get the brunt of their sleep during the night with frequent naps during the day. Sleep is essential to the health and well-being of your dog’s mind and body. Puppies and senior Golden Retrievers will need more rest due to increased need.
Lastly, be thankful for all that sleep. A well-rested Golden Retriever is a much calmer and happier Golden Retriever.