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Do you ever wonder how much sleep your Golden Retriever should be getting?
How long Golden Retrievers sleep depends on several factors such as age, health, and lifestyle.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- How much Golden Retriever puppies, adults and senior Goldens sleep
- How health and sleep are connected for Golden Retrievers
- How to help your Golden get the quantity and quality of sleep they need
How Long Do Golden Retrievers Sleep?
Golden Retrievers sleep about 12 to 14 hours each day, with puppies and senior Golden Retrievers sleeping a little bit more.
The age of a Golden Retriever is often the most significant factor that influences how much they sleep.
We’ll take a look at the different stages of life for Golden Retrievers in terms of sleep, but first let’s briefly discuss sleep for dogs in general.
Dogs are a crepuscular species.
This means they are naturally most active at dawn and dusk. (Evening zoomies, anyone?!)
They tend to sleep for chunks of time throughout the day and night, and can be fairly flexible and adaptable with their sleep patterns.
It’s good to keep in mind dogs’ natural sleep inclinations as we continue to examine how long Golden Retrievers sleep.
How Long Do Golden Retriever Puppies Sleep?
Golden Retriever puppies need about 18 hours of sleep and rest each day.
Puppies are baby animals, and babies need a lot of sleep.
They are undergoing major physical and mental growth, and sleep is important to ensuring proper development.
You might notice that some days your puppy seems to need a lot of sleep, and may even exceed 18 hours.
Long naps might indicate that your puppy is having a growth spurt, and needs the extra rest.
Other days your Golden Retriever puppy may not be as inclined to rest for quite as long.
So the 18 hours is more of a guide, than a strict plan.
Generally, puppies are active and awake for one to two hours, and then they’re ready for some sleep.
Golden Retriever puppies who don’t get adequate sleep can become overly tired, resulting in very bitey, wild behavior.
Proper sleep helps keep your puppy happy, healthy and well-behaved.
- Want to potty train your puppy fast? Download the free Potty Training Cheat Sheet here
How Long Do Teenage Golden Retrievers Sleep?
Golden Retrievers aged 6 to 18 months need about 14 to 16 hours of sleep per day.
This can seem like a lot, but this is because their brains are going through a big reconstruction from puppy brain to adult dog brain.
While much of their physical growth has already happened, they’re still doing a lot of physical maturing, and that requires plenty of rest.
Adolescent Goldens who aren’t getting enough rest can become rowdy, and engage in unwanted behaviors like barking, destruction, and tuning you out.
They may not be 8-week-old puppies anymore, but sleep is still extremely important for adolescent Golden Retrievers.
How Long Do Adult Golden Retrievers Sleep?
Adult Goldens need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep each day.
Now that they are done growing physically and mentally, they don’t need quite as much sleep as they did when they were puppies.
How much your adult Golden sleeps in a day may vary depending on their overall health and activity levels.
Just as with younger Golden Retrievers, adults can be negatively affected by lack of sleep.
Dogs who are sleep-deprived can experience health and behavioral issues as a result.
In case you haven’t noticed, sufficient sleep is important at every life stage of your Golden Retriever!
How Long Do Senior Golden Retrievers Sleep?
Senior Golden Retrievers need about 18 to 20 hours of sleep each day.
Just like human senior citizens, older Goldens tend to slow down and sleep more.
It’s a normal part of aging.
Some senior pups also have health issues that can cause them to sleep more too.
Golden Retrievers enter the senior category starting at 8 years old.
You might not notice an increase in sleep right away, but as they get older, you’re likely to see an increase in how much they sleep.
Golden Retriever Sleeping Positions Explained [Video]
How Golden Retriever Health and Sleep Are Connected
Sleep is a very important factor when it comes to your Golden Retriever’s overall health.
Sometimes health issues might affect the quantity and quality of your Golden Retriever’s sleep.
And in some cases, a lack of sleep can actually cause health problems for your dog.
This 2021 veterinary article states:
“Sleep deprivation impairs cognitive and physical performance, decreases the immune response, enhances pain sensation, and increases the risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.”
While sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and REM sleep behavior disorder do exist in dogs, a sleep disorder isn’t required for a dog to be sleep deprived.
Perhaps they are overstimulated by a busy household and just can’t settle themselves down for a nap.
Maybe they have allergies that make them super itchy, causing them to wake up frequently from naps.
Some Golden Retrievers can have anxiety issues that make getting enough sleep a challenge.
Even digestive issues can create sleep difficulties for Goldens.
So when it comes to sleep and health, it goes both ways.
Lack of quality sleep can result in health issues, but health issues can also negatively impact your dog’s sleep.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s sleep, it’s always a good idea to have a conversation with your veterinarian to uncover any connections with their health.
How to Help Your Golden Retriever Get Good Sleep
Now that we’ve established how much sleep your dog needs, and why sleep is so important, let’s talk about how to make that sleep happen.
Some Golden Retrievers are experts at putting themselves down for a nap when they start to feel tired.
Others seemingly never tire and are always ready for the next thing.
While taking a nap and sleeping through the night might seem like normal, natural things for a dog to do, some will need more help and support to get sufficient rest.
Before we get into the how-to’s, let’s define what we mean by “good” sleep.
Good sleep for dogs means they are getting the right amount of sleep for their age.
But it also means they are getting high-quality sleep, which means uninterrupted stretches of sleep.
Ideally, your Golden Retriever can sleep until they’re ready to wake up, as opposed to getting short cat naps here and there.
Dogs will usually nap for 30 minutes to several hours at a time.
So quantity and quality are both important when it comes to good sleep for your Golden.
Meeting Your Dog’s Needs
One of the most important things you can do when it comes to helping your dog get sufficient sleep is to meet their needs.
This can sound like a no-brainer, but often a lack of sleep and the resulting issues can be resolved when the dog’s needs are met.
A Golden Retriever who hasn’t had an opportunity to move its body may have a hard time settling down in the house, especially young Goldens.
This is an active breed, so you’ll want to make sure you’re giving them plenty of outlets for exercise such as walking, hiking, swimming, and playing.
You don’t want to exercise your dog into a state of exhaustion, but you do want to satisfy their physical activity needs.
Equally as important as working out your dog’s body is working out their brain.
Goldens are highly intelligent, and if you only focus on physical exercise, they may struggle with getting enough sleep because of excess mental energy.
Some ways to incorporate mental exercise are puzzle toys, training games, and time to sniff in nature.
Some Goldens excel in dog sports such as agility, obedience and nose work, and those can be excellent mental enrichment opportunities too.
Just like in humans, nutrition can also play a role in sleep for dogs.
If your Golden Retriever isn’t getting their nutritional needs met, they might be restless and a bit “hangry.”
Likewise, if your Golden is being overfed, that can result in weight issues that can influence their sleep.
Certain nutritional deficiencies can also negatively impact a dog’s capability to get enough good sleep.
A healthy, balanced diet is an important part of getting proper rest.
There’s no one-size-fits-all diet when it comes to Golden Retrievers, so it never hurts to ask for help if needed.
Talk to your veterinarian, or a veterinary nutritionist, if you’d like to explore the nutrition factor more.
Create Sleep Zones
In addition to meeting your dog’s needs, you’ll also want to set up comfy spots where your Golden will be likely to rest.
Every Golden’s sleeping preferences and habits are unique, so there isn’t an exact formula to follow.
Essentially, think about what factors make it easier for your dog to fall asleep and stay asleep.
If your dog tends to want to involve themselves in all the happenings in your household and, as a result, is sleep deprived, it might help to use a crate, pen, or baby gate to help them settle down.
Likewise, if your dog is easily overstimulated or can’t sleep because they will play all day, using some confinement tools can be very helpful.
Confinement can be great for puppies and teenage Goldens as well, who may not have the skill of putting themselves down for a nap quite yet.
Sometimes covering the crate, or draping a sheet over the pen, can cut down on visual stimulation and help pups fall asleep more easily.
Consider what kind of surfaces your dog likes to sleep on.
Some love a cool tile floor.
Others enjoy a plush dog bed.
Think about temperature too.
Do they need a fan? Or a blanket?
Other things like calming music and lavender can also help soothe dogs and help them fall asleep, whether during the day or at night.
If you feel like your dog isn’t getting enough sleep, or that they are overly tired, consider creating or modifying sleep zones that suit their specific needs.
Put Them Down for a Nap
Some dogs will choose on their own when it’s time for a nap, or when it’s time for bed.
Others haven’t quite grasped this skill and will go-go-go if given the chance.
If your Golden Retriever falls into that second category, which many puppies, adolescents and young adults do, you don’t have to cross your fingers and hope they decide to lay down and fall asleep.
Just like humans will put babies and children down for nap time, you can do the same for your dog.
Before you put your dog down for a nap, you’ll want to make sure that they have had their needs met (like did they potty, did they eat and drink, did they exercise?), so they are physically and mentally able to rest.
Then make sure their sleep zone is set up to their liking.
For some Goldens it can help to give them a toy to chew or lick, which can promote relaxation.
So you might give them a yummy stuffed kong to work on as they transition from active and awake to relaxed and asleep.
Putting your Golden Retriever down for a nap helps stay healthy and well-balanced, and can prevent issues that arise when they’re overly tired.
Can a Golden Retriever Sleep Too Much?
If you notice your dog sleeping more than normal, it could be an indication that they are sick.
Excessive sleep could also be due to other factors such as warm weather, stress, or a particularly long hike, for example.
Some days your dog might sleep more than others just depending on what’s going on in their life.
But if your dog is sleeping more than usual and you’re concerned, call your vet to get their opinion on the situation.
If their increased sleep is accompanied by lethargy, lack of appetite or other changes in behavior, definitely consult your vet.
Sweet Golden Dreams
Understanding how much sleep your pup needs at the various stages of their life will help you ensure they are getting the right amount.
A well-rested Golden is a healthier, better-behaved dog who can enjoy a happier life with you.
And to help your Golden sleep well, read this post about the best bed for your Golden Retriever next.
P.S. Getting a Golden Retriever puppy? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook.
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About the author:
Alisa Healy is a professional dog trainer in the Chicago suburbs, with a wide range of training experience from shelters to in-home training to dog sports. She is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and is passionate about helping people and dogs live fulfilling, harmonious lives together.