Just as in humans, sleep is a crucial part of your dogs life. As Golden Retriever owners, we want to ensure our pups are getting enough restful sleep to remain happy and healthy. But how long do Golden Retrievers need to sleep?
In general, a Golden Retriever sleeps between 18-20 hours as a puppy, 12-14 hours as an adolescent and adult, and 16-18 hours as a senior dog, every day. Unlike humans, Goldens sleep in smaller bursts that equal this total amount of time overall, rather than in one long stretch.
This article will go in-depth about how much Golden Retrievers sleep, how sleep patterns may change with age, and give some information about Golden Retriever sleep in general.
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Golden Retrievers and Sleep
Sleep is a vital component in the life of our Golden Retriever pup, and it’s only natural to have concerns about our dog’s sleeping patterns, especially when they seem abnormal. Dogs descended from wolves, who tend to sleep for long periods in the wild. This trait has been passed down to domesticated dogs, whose seemingly strange sleep patterns can invoke worry in their human owners.
The most common sleep-related concern is whether a Golden Retriever is sleeping too much. Just like babies, children, and teenagers all have different sleeping habits on their way to adulthood, Goldens to need varying amounts of sleep from puppyhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.
How Much Do Golden Retriever Puppies Sleep?
Golden Retriever puppies, like older dogs, sleep a lot. But how much is a lot in this instance? Well, puppies are rapidly growing toward their adolescent and adult sizes, so they need lots of sleep for their bodies to grow and mature. For this reason, Golden Retriever puppies often sleep between 18-20 hours a day.
Eight weeks is the most commonly accepted age that it’s acceptable to separate a puppy from their mother and litter. It’s also when sleep patterns vary even further, mostly based around the mother’s feedings. Especially in the first two or three weeks, puppies’ eyes aren’t even open yet, and they do little except sleep and eat.
The puppies typically sleep huddled together with the mother because they can’t regulate their own body temperatures and are very susceptible to cold and heat. In the rare cases that a puppy has to be separated from the mother before it’s time, you need to be very careful and pay close attention to the puppy’s needs.
Thankfully, this is the easy part. Before they start growing and getting into trouble exploring, you can just let a Golden Retriever puppy sleep as much as it wants in between feeding and potty time. Sleeping more is actually a good thing at this stage!
Puppies tend to sleep after they eat, and when they awake, they’ll need a potty break. Young puppies can’t hold their bladders and bowels yet, so they may need to be taken out every couple of hours, even throughout the night! Having a puppy is very much like having a baby – you have a young, helpless creature completely dependent on you to care for it, and you won’t be getting much sleep at first!
To learn a lot more about sleep and Golden Retriever puppies, check out my article: How Much Should a Golden Retriever Puppy Sleep? (Explained), it covers the sleep requirements of a Golden puppy in great detail.
How Much Do Adolescent and Adult Golden Retrievers Sleep?
Once past the puppy stage, adolescent Golden Retrievers usually sleep between 12-14 hours a day, but this can go up to as much as 18 hours a day. The breed factors in too, as larger working breeds, like Golden Retrievers, have more energy than other dogs.
This means an adult Golden Retriever may not need to sleep as much as some other breeds. An adult Golden has the ability to work all day long with very little rest, but if you’re not working your Golden like this, they have a tendency to begin sleeping more.
Another important consideration is how much stimulation the dog is exposed to daily. It’s important to mentally stimulate dogs at this stage to increase their intellectual capacities. If a dog doesn’t receive enough stimulation and is simply left in a room or yard alone, they’re going to sleep more – because why not? It’s not like there’s anything else to do.
It’s essential to keep in mind the motivation and energy levels of your Golden Retriever. If a highly driven dog, like a Golden, don’t get enough exercise, they can become lonely, bored and even destructive, and they’ll begin to either sleep much less or much more. If you’re concerned about your dog’s sleeping patterns, it’s always a good idea to discuss it with your vet.
Related Topic: Is Your Golden Retriever Lonely? (How to Tell & What to Do!)
How Much Do Senior Golden Retrievers Sleep?
A larger dog breed, such as a Golden Retriever, is considered a senior dog at just 7 years of age, and senior dogs begin sleeping more often and longer.
Senior Golden Retrievers sleep a lot, just like their puppy counterparts. Their days of frolicking for hours on end have passed, and they’re more likely to enjoy a short stroll before they nap. Long trips to the dog park won’t be needed to get rid of all the energy they had when they were younger. More likely, they’ll be perfectly content to curl up on the couch or at your feet and sleep.
On average, older Golden Retrievers sleep 16-18 hours, but this can vary greatly depending on the individual dog and their temperament. Some dogs remain high energy throughout their life, and others suffer mobility problems like hip dysplasia (especially common in the Golden Retriever breed) that makes too much physical activity painful.
Even if they’re not physically able to exercise much, older dogs are often just as intellectually keen as they used to be. This means that although you may have stopped walking them as far as you used to, you shouldn’t lighten up on their mental stimulation. Games like hide-and-seek, shell games with treats, and other mentally enriching games are perfect for keeping your dog’s mind as sharp as ever.
Recommended Reading: 11 Best Games To Play With A Golden Retriever (Very Fun!)
Personality and Environment Influence a Goldens Sleep Habits
Some Golden Retrievers are more laid back than others. Like humans, every Golden is unique, and there isn’t an easy way to classify every dog based just on age or breed. You should observe the sleeping habits and preferences of your dog, and tailor your approach to raising them based on that, rather than generalizations.
Another huge factor that can influence how much a dog sleeps is where they live. A dog that lives in an apartment will probably sleep more than a dog that’s on a farm because, well, a dog will always have something to do on a farm, and apartments typically lack that level of stimulation.
That doesn’t mean, “Oh, I live in an apartment, so my dog will just sleep a lot.” You can provide your dog with lots of attention, toys, treats, and activities that will keep them more active than otherwise. Trips to the dog park and regular exercise help – jogging with your Golden Retriever is a great exercise for both of you!
Discover how to train your Golden Retriever by playing games: 21 games to play with your Golden that will make them smarter and better behaved!
How To Improve Your Golden Retrievers Quality of Sleep
While your Golden Retriever may seem to be getting plenty of sleep, it’s the quality of the sleep that really counts towards their well-being. Here are a few ways to make sure that your Goldens sleep is the best it can be.
Have a Regular Routine
Just like humans, dogs will benefit from having a regular daily routine. Having standard times of the day when you feed or walk your Golden Retriever will help establish a rhythm to their day. They will get a sense of when the most “exciting” parts of the day are, which will allow them to relax and sleep well in between.
Not having a routine will cause an excitable Golden Retriever to remain on alert, so he doesn’t miss out on anything fun! A routine will allow your dog to set up a sleep pattern they can count on. Something along the lines of “eat breakfast, explore the backyard, take a nap”.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!
The best way as a dog owner to make sure that your Golden Retriever is getting the quality sleep they need is to give them plenty of daily exercise. A well-exercised Golden will be extra relaxed, and sleep soundly. A tired dog will have used up enough of their energy for the day to have no problem sleeping, while a dog with pent-up energy will have difficulty going to, and staying asleep.
A Comfortable Sleeping Place All Their Own
Having a comfortable place to sleep that they can call their own will go a long way towards having a well-rested Golden Retriever. This is particularly true for puppies and older dogs. A Golden Retriever puppy will benefit from crate training, while an older dog will benefit from having a comfortable dog bed that is easy on his joints.
Having the right sleeping arrangement for your Golden Retriever will not only help your pup sleep better, chances are it will help you sleep better as well.
Recommended Reading: Should I Let My Golden Retriever Sleep in Bed With Me (?)
Golden Retrievers tend to sleep a lot, especially compared to humans, but all dogs in general naturally sleep a lot, and it’s nothing to worry about. It’s also natural for your Golden to sleep off and on throughout the day.
As long as you provide your Golden with a loving and stimulating home, they will self-regulate the amount of time they spend sleeping based on their individual needs.