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Huskies are known for their active nature and ability to run for hours on end. To many husky owners, it can feel like their playful pups never sleep! But if you pay a bit more attention, you may come to realize that this energetic breed does have an “off” button after all.
So, do huskies sleep a lot, and what’s “normal”?
The average adult husky sleeps 10 to 14 hours a day, about as much as other breeds. This includes an extended period of nightly sleep in addition to napping throughout the day. The specific amount a husky sleeps depends on its age, with puppies and seniors requiring up to 20 hours of daily rest.
This article will examine just how long huskies sleep and the reasons a husky may be sleeping more than usual. We’ll also go over how to ensure your husky gets the quality sleep it needs to be happy and healthy.
How Much Do Huskies Sleep?
Although it’s easy to say that huskies sleep 10 to 14 hours a day and end the conversation there, there is a lot to cover when answering this question more accurately. This includes what is considered sleep and how much puppies and seniors sleep.
Adult Huskies Sleep Throughout The Day
For those of us who wake up and go to bed with our dogs, it may seem impossible that our dogs could be asleep for over half the day. However, it’s important to understand that huskies are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that they do not sleep all at once but instead spread their sleep multiple times throughout the day.
Dogs have a remarkably short sleep cycle, with one study suggesting they may be as brief as 20 minutes. In other words, your dog’s 1 hour “nap” may actually consist of 3 sleep cycles!
Puppies Need Extra Sleep
With all the playing they do, it’s no wonder puppies need a few extra hours of shuteye! Within their first year of life, the average husky will grow from a mere few pounds to up to 40-60, and their brain rapidly changes in size and shape.
The extensive mental and physical growth a puppy goes through predominantly occurs during deep sleep, so more shut-eye is required to achieve all this growth. Additionally, the play needed to develop a puppy’s muscles also requires extra sleep, so the average puppy may sleep as much as 18-20 hours a day during the first year of its life.
Seniors Sleep More
While senior huskies are still young at heart, things tend to slow down a bit. As dogs age, their metabolism slows down, and they require more rest. Elderly dogs typically sleep a bit longer than adults at 14 to 15 hours per day, but a healthy senior dog may spend as long as 18 to 20 hours resting.
This extra shuteye is perfectly healthy, but it’s also important to note that seniors may be more prone to chronic conditions such as arthritis. As we’ll discuss further below, these conditions can have a pretty big impact on sleep quality and should be treated by a veterinarian. But as long as your husky isn’t appearing groggy throughout the day, let them enjoy their golden years!
Why Do Huskies Sleep A Lot?
Despite their energetic nature, huskies tend to sleep a lot longer than their two-legged family members. This comes down to their active lifestyles, social nature, and simply being a dog.
Reason 1: All Dogs Sleep A Lot
Compared to their wild counterparts, which often require as little as 4 to 10 hours of sleep a day, dogs sleep a lot. While this may seem strange, there’s a clear underlying reason. While wolves are naturally nocturnal, man’s best friend has developed a mostly diurnal sleep schedule fit to work and play with humans. Of course, such a dramatic shift in scheduling is bound to have a few complications, and dogs are pretty inefficient sleepers.
REM sleep, which is the phase of sleep where dreams occur and what makes us feel rested, only comprises about 10-12% of your pup’s shuteye! Humans and wolves both experience much more REM sleep in an average rest, which is theorized to be why we don’t need quite so much time snoozing compared to dogs.
Reason 2: They Use A Lot Of Energy
Huskies were bred to spend much of their day running, with Iditarod huskies running as many as 100 miles a day! This athletic breed is happiest when they are able to get all of their energy out, and even an indoor husky will tire itself out to the best of its ability.
Exercise is known to cause tiredness for a variety of reasons, such as the release of chemicals such as adenosine and changes in core body temperature. More obviously, fatigued muscles tend to feel tired after a “workout” and require rest to recover.
A 2014 study revealed huskies have a rapidly altering metabolism when they exercise to burn their “fuel” as efficiently as possible and are effectively made to get out every ounce of energy.
Reason 3: They’re Social
Bringing up how social huskies are when discussing sleep may seem a bit bizarre, but it’s actually a major influence! Throughout their history, huskies were mainly used by the Chukchi tribe as sledding dogs and hunters, but they also had a pretty unique job.
The naturally warm dogs were used to keep children– who may sleep as much as 16 hours– toasty on winter nights. In fact, nightly temperatures were often measured by how many huskies were required to keep everyone warm.
In addition to having been bred to sleep long hours for this “job,” these pack animals enjoy doing whatever their pack is doing, including sleeping at the same time as their family members.
Is My Husky Sleeping Too Much?
As we’ve covered above, it’s completely normal and healthy for a husky to spend much of its time snoozing away. Even so, it’s possible that a husky can sleep too much due to an underlying health issue or poor sleep, both of which require your attention.
How Much Is Too Much?
Due to variations in age, sleep patterns, and every individual husky’s needs, there can be quite a bit of variety in daily sleep. As a result, it can be difficult to pin down when sleep is excessive for your dog if you do not know how much they usually sleep.
That being said, if you notice that your husky has been obviously sleeping more than usual or acting drowsy throughout the day, you should try to find out if there is another issue at play.
There are multiple reasons your husky may be oversleeping, from things as serious as chronic conditions and disease to less concerning things such as a noisy household keeping them up at night. This is especially true if a normally playful pup hasn’t been feeling up to exercising or playing with you.
Consider Illness Or A Chronic Condition
One common reason for excessive sleeping is medical issues. Anything from parvovirus to heartworm disease can cause lethargy, and this vague symptom is often an early sign of a variety of illnesses.
Your dog may be lethargic in an attempt to heal, as a side effect of treatment, or simply from the pain of being sick. However, your dog’s disease doesn’t necessarily have to be acute.
While disorders such as COPD and sleep apnea tend to be more common in brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs, any dog can have them. Sleeping disorders such as insomnia and narcolepsy are very common across breeds as well.
That being said, the condition keeping your dog up at night may not technically be a sleeping disorder. As a breed, huskies are prone to hip dysplasia, a condition characterized by a misaligned, poorly fitting hop joint. This can easily result in dislocation, stiffness, and pain that keeps your husky up at night.
Other uncomfortable conditions like itching from fleas, aching from arthritis, or the frequent need to urinate from another disorder can all result in a poor night of sleep.
Are They Getting Enough Quality Sleep?
Just because your dog spends 12 hours a day lying down doesn’t mean they’re getting enough quality sleep. Poor sleep can easily result from a variety of factors, such as a poor environment, a lack of schedule, or frequent disruptions.
With their sensitive ears and noses, it’s easy for a dog to wake up at the drop of a hat, resulting in incomplete sleep cycles. Below, we discuss a few ways to make a quality sleeping environment for your pup.
What To Do If Your Husky Is Sleeping Too Much
If you realize that your husky has been sleeping excessively, you should try to first figure out why. It’s important to note whether this excessive sleeping is an ongoing trend or is something entirely new.
You should look for signs of sickness or strange behaviors to identify if your husky may be under the weather, and arrange a visit to the vet accordingly. Otherwise, consider what has happened over the last few days that may have disrupted your dog’s sleep or any schedule changes.
If it appears that your pup simply is getting poor sleep, consider taking the steps below to perk them up. Of course, never be afraid to consult a vet if you’re worried about your husky!
How To Help Your Husky Get Enough Sleep
Considering how important of a biological role sleep plays, it’s critical to allow your husky to get proper shut-eye. Setting your husky up to get proper rest by creating an effective environment, having consistency, and allowing your husky to sleep near you can greatly improve their quality of sleep.
Create A Good Environment
Most people like to sleep in a dark, quiet environment, and chances are your dog feels the same way! Like most mammals, dogs create melatonin in the dark, a hormone that causes them to become tired.
A bright area may present distractions and prevent the formation of melatonin, keeping your dog awake. Noise and movement may also catch the attention of your dog, waking them from slumber or preventing them from falling asleep in the first place. Of course, a busy household may be noisy, and you can’t control how loud it is outside. If necessary, you can use a fan or white noise to drown out disruptive noises.
Believe it or not, sleeping in the same room as you or even in your bed can significantly boost your dog’s sleep quality. In our article on whether or not huskies enjoy sharing the bed, we explained how this social breed feels most at ease sleeping near its pack.
Although sharing the bed does lead to more nightly wakings, studies have shown that people report their dogs appear more rested after sleeping close by.
The above video might help you get an idea of what it’s like sleeping not with just one but two huskies!
Have A Consistent Schedule
Although there are many differences between the sleeping patterns of humans and dogs, both species benefit from proper sleep hygiene. Like us, dogs have a circadian rhythm, which is an internal clock that controls sleep, digestion, and body temperature.
This clock can be pretty flexible due to dogs having shorter sleep cycles than humans, but extreme changes can result in disturbed or inadequate sleep. Setting a standard sleep and wake time that allows for the can help you and your husky feel well-rested throughout the day.
While they may be an energetic breed, huskies normally sleep as long as other breeds. The exact amount a husky sleeps depends on their age and health, with adult huskies sleeping 10 to 14 hours a day and pups or seniors sleeping 18 to 20 hours of rest.
Excessive sleep can be the result of underlying health issues or a disruptive environment, but luckily there are many ways to help your husky get a good night of sleep. If your husky is acting tired or strange, reach out to your vet. Otherwise, let your husky catch some Z’s!