Why Does My Golden Retriever Sleep So Much? 11 Reasons & Solutions


My golden retriever is one of the happiest puppies on the planet, they are playful, sweet, and they love life.

At times, my dogs can sleep for most of the day, which never fails to get me worried. It turns out that a lot of people are also wondering the same thing, and I get asked this a lot, so I went ahead and found answers!

So, why does my golden retriever sleep so much? If your golden retriever is a puppy it is normal for them to sleep longer than older dogs because they are growing quickly and their muscles are rebuilding when they are sleeping, and it’s also normal for older goldens since it takes more effort for them to move and they need to rest.

But there are other reasons why your dog could be sleeping so much, and some of them do indeed require you to pay attention to your dog.

Let’s start by discussing how much sleep should your dog get at every age so we can know whether they are sleeping more than normal for their age or is it just they sleep normally and it’s not you that is not used to it.

How Much Sleep Does Your Golden Need at Every Age? 

This is how much sleep your golden retriever needs at every age:

  • Age (0 – 18 months) – 18 to 20 hours per day
  • Age (1½ – 8 years) – 12 to 14 hours per day
  • Ages (8 – 9 years and older) – 12 to 14 hours per day

Age (0 – 18 months) – 18 to 20 hours per day.

golden retriever puppy sleeping to illustrate why does my golden retriever sleep so much

When golden retrievers are puppies they sleep longer than older dogs. They need to sleep most of the day to develop their muscles, nervous system, and brain, which happens only when they’re sleeping.

When they are puppies they grow quickly so it’s necessary for them to sleep a lot to grow healthily.

After playing or any other activity they will sleep to recharge and they wake up refreshed and ready to play again.

Their nap will mostly be wherever they are playing, and it takes from 30 minutes to two hours.

When they are napping, try not to move them and make their nap as comfortable as possible also make them feel safe at that time.

If your pup sleeps more than 20 hours per day they might have a problem and you’ll need to take them to the vet.

Age (1½  – 8 years) – 12 to 14 hours per day

When they reach 18 months they become adults and their body, weight, and height will kind of stop growing because they are fully grown or are getting very close. Males and females mature a bit differently, and you can learn more about this in my post on the differences between male and female goldens here.

It’s a bit different from being a puppy, adult golden sleep 12 to 14 hours per day. They can, however, sleep up to 18 hours if they have had a really active day and are super tired.

Sleeping more or less depends on their size, diet, and activity that day.

Just like puppies, they can nap after a lot of moving around since they will be totally out of energy and need to recharge.

If your adult golden sleeps more than 14 hours and without doing a lot of activity you may need to make an appointment with their vet.

Age (7 – 9 years) – 12-14 hours or more per day

Seniors can also sleep 12 to 14 hours per day but they will often sleep more than 14 hours which is totally normal. Keep in mind that the same activity they used to do while young is now harder on them and require more effort and energy of them, so they are getting exhausted more easily.

Just something you should know, once goldens reach five years old, they can change a bit and they may require more care and sleep. They also tend to get calmer, but you can learn more about when goldens calm down here as it’s a large topic on its own.

Sleeping a lot in senior dogs may happen because they are bored, ill, or just tired because of some activities.

They can also be suffering from hip dysplasia or arthritis and they sleep to avoid any movement because of the pain in their hips.

They will also nap more than adult goldens, their napping will be on and off during the day for 16 to 18 hours.

At this period in their life, they will need to exercise and playing to keep them active and provide them with a comfortable bed to help them rest their bones.

11 Reasons Your Golden Retriever Sleeps So Much 

Here are 11 reasons why your golden retriever sleeps so much:

  1. Heat
  2. Diabetes
  3. Dog’s age
  4. Anemia
  5. Boredom
  6. Diet
  7. Anxiety or stress
  8. Activity
  9. Worms
  10. Bacterial infection
  11. Body toxins

Let’s break them down one by one and see what you can do to help.

Heat

Heat and warm weather could make your golden retriever feeling tired so they will go to sleep until it’s cool enough for them to be active again.

You can easily tell if this is what is going on with your dog by simply noticing that they started to sleep a lot when it’s a warm day, or at the beginning of the summer.

You can check out my 13 tips on helping golden retrievers adapt to hot weather here.

Diabetes

If they are suffering from diabetes they may sleep more because their bodies are unable to produce insulin in the right amount that their body needs.

Their body will simply not have enough energy to be active, so they will go to sleep.

Dog’s age

How long your dog sleeps also depends on their age. If they are puppies, it’s normal for them to sleep 18 to 20 hours per day because their bodies are developing when they are sleeping so it’s healthy for them to sleep, the longer the better.

Anemia

This medical condition causes a reduction in the red blood cells, because of the presence of bloodsucking parasites in the dog’s body which makes them tired and sleepy. 

Fleas and ticks could cause anemia, especially in younger or smaller pups. They could also mean trouble for you, check out more in my post on can fleas live in human hair.

Boredom

Even though golden retrievers are the happiest beings on the planet and they play like all the time (except when they are sleeping).

They can still get bored and sleep a lot when there’s no one to play with, you are not paying attention to them, or when you leave them home alone most of the time. Keep in mind that Goldens are incredibly social and don’t like being left alone at all.

Diet

Just like you get sleepy after a large meal, dogs can also fall asleep after a large meal. This happens in all animals as the body decides to push blood to the organs handling the blood and less blood goes to the brain, so you go to sleep.

If they eat something they should not eat, the effect may be sleeping more than they should.

If the problem is their diet you’ll notice that they started to sleep a lot after eating or when they eat a certain food.

To prevent this from happening you can ask your vet about the food they can’t eat and which food you can add to their diet or just do not feed them too much.

Anxiety or stress

Yes, just like us, they can stress-sleep, but probably not over a job interview or final exam but still, they do it. If you notice them becoming lethargic, you can help them by doing a few things like

  • Work out with them
  • Walk them
  • Play with them more
  • Make a daily routine for them

It will improve their mental health and physically they will be better.

Activity

Every animal/ human gets tired after a lot of activity and movement, after playing all day and chasing trucks, cats, or the neighbor’s kids, they get tired so they sleep anytime to recharge, then they wake up to continue chasing anything they lay their eyes on.

Worms

Remember when we talked about anemia and the parasites that suck their blood and make them too tired to do anything so they sleep well that’s what I was talking about there are four types of worms that may cause that and here’s a list

  • Tapeworms
  • Roundworms
  • Hookworms
  • Whipworms 
Tapeworms 

This worm appears if the dog swallowed fleas. They can grow anywhere and they can be 4-6 inches, and they make them too tired and sleepy.

The good news is they don’t need medical help, you will find them in their stool after a while.

Roundworms 

Dogs get it through their moms by her uterus or her milk, and they will pass through on their own and you will be able to find them in their stool.

Hookworms

Now, this is the one you need to worry about. It’s dangerous for dogs as they latch onto the intestine and suck their blood, and just like roundworms they can be transferred from their mom.

Whipworms

Whipworms can’t be seen in their stool and they cause severe irritation to the lining of the cecum and the colon. With this one, you will need to take them to the vet. 

Bacterial infection

This infection can make the dog napping for hours. It’s a highly contagious bacteria that’s known as leptospirosis. They can get it from other dogs’ urine, human’s urine, water, and soil. 

It’s also common in warm climates.

Body toxins

A lot of human food can be toxic for dogs such as grapes, raisins, coffee, avocados, alcohol, spices, and chocolates. 

Also, cherries are not toxic but they are harmful to dogs, anyway if a dog eats one of these things sleeping could be one of the effects they must sleep, and there’s no need to say that taking them to the vet is really important. 

What if They Suddenly Sleeping a Lot More Than Usual? 

If they started to sleep more suddenly it could be because one of these things

  • Warm weather

If you have recently moved somewhere new where the weather is warmer than what they’re used to or comfortable with – such as Florida or Texas, for example – then this could be the reason.

Try to make them as comfortable as possible and help them stay cool and they should adapt quickly and get back to their normal levels of activity.

  • Depression 

While dogs can’t get clinical depression, or at least we can’t definitively diagnose them with Clinical depression, they can still get a form of depression that leads to very similar symptoms as it does in humans. You can learn more about golden retriever depression here.

  • Diet

If you have recently changed their diet and they started sleeping a lot more, you need to revert to their former diet. Something is wrong with the new diet and you probably need to discuss it more with your vet.

Related Questions

Is it normal for my dog to sleep all day?

No, it’s normal for them to sleep 50% of the day and not all day, however, if they are puppies they can sleep up to 20 hours per day, but if they are adults or senior they should sleep 12 to 14 hours per day, and maybe 18 hours per day if they are big dogs.

Why’s my 5-month-old Golden Retriever so tired lately?

If they are sleeping 18 to 20 hours per day then it’s normal because they are puppies and their bodies are still developing, but there are some possible reasons like boredom, depression, illness, activity level, and bad diet that could be making them sleep more than normal.

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