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Why do older dogs sleep so much?

While visiting my 82 year old father recently, he said naps were his favorite thing to do these days. I thought about that and remembered my love of power napping in college. Who else loves naps besides 82 year olds? Older dogs and babies, that's who. And power napping? Beside students, I'd add shift workers and puppies.

Think about it for a minute.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

Why do older dogs sleep so much? Probably the most likely answer is that they burn fuel fast and need to recharge. Also, like that rechargeable battery, the older they get, they stop holding their charge as long.

My dog always napped like a boss. When she was younger though and we allowed her to spend hours monitoring the sidewalk activity in front of the house, she didn't nap much at all. Instead she stayed alert throughout the day, and no matter what we were doing, took herself off to bed by nine every night.

As she became a senior girl, my dog began to doze off after meals and generally any time we didn't engage with her or there were long quiet spells outside that didn't require her attention.

When my father casually mentioned how much he looked forward to his naps, I thought of my sweet dog. Yes, I bet she needed the naps for her health, but she also probably simply enjoyed the energy and alertness she gained from them. Another key point, we were always there for her, waiting to greet her when she awoke.

Feeling safe. Watching her eyes open and her sleepy expression slowly change to joy at seeing us there was the best experience, and one I hold dear. She also knew she could stretch out all her enormous Shepherd-Husky self in comfort, across blankets, pillows and carpet, without any fear of being disturbed.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

Honestly, wouldn't you like to nap regularly in a comfortable setting? I tried napping under my desk at work before over my lunch hour and it wasn't easy. It has to be a very long flight for me to catch even a few winks on a plane. Feeling rested is a wonderful elixir and I believe that most older dogs sleep so much because they feel safe and comfortable.

Why do you think older dogs sleep so much? 

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