Sleeping disorders are not just limited to humans, they are common in animals as well. That being said, your dog may also suffer from one and it should be addressed as soon as possible for his health and well-being. Some sleeping disorders in dogs are more severe and some are less but your dog doesn’t deserve to suffer from any of them.

We will discuss some sleeping disorders in dogs that you need to know about. And some alarming signs that indicate a disorder as well so that you can seek veterinary help.

Alarming Signs That Might Indicate Sleeping Disorders in Dogs

Dogs sleep for 12-14 hours each day. However, this doesn’t mean they sleep this much in one go. They sleep for 7-8 hours at night and four more hours resting during the daytime, mostly when you’re not around. 

Dogs act in a very similar way when they’re deprived of sleep; the way you feel after pulling an all-nighter. They might wake up from their sleep frequently in the middle of the night and whine, cry if they’re having any sleeping disorder. Also, they will be more indolent during the day and seem disoriented in performing normal activities.

The lack of sleep can bring behavioral issues in your pet, increase the production of stress hormones, and poor immune system. This can further invite some medical conditions as well.

Loud Snoring

Some dogs snore too loud. For instance, French Bulldogs snores so loud that it can wake you up from your sleep. However, if the snores are frequent and too loud, you should consult with a veterinarian as this is a sign of a condition called sleep apnea.

sleeping disorders in dogs, Different Sleeping Disorders in Dogs That You Need to Know About

Moreover, if you notice your dog gasping for air to breathe in between the snores, you should not wait for more to seek your vet’s help. Also, flat-faced dogs are more prone to the condition and snoring.

Not Being Able To Sleep

As obvious as it seems, not being able to sleep is one of the signs your dog has a sleeping disorder. If your dog starts to stay awake weirdly longer than usual every day, it’s time you get your dog checked for a disorder.

In order to rule out other problems, ensure your dog has an appropriate bed. For instance, getting comfortable orthopedic dog beds for senior dogs or dogs with arthritis is necessary for a peaceful painless sleep. Sometimes, the poor choice of a bed is the culprit.

Pacing and Crying at Night

Another sign your dog is crying at night and pacing. This is actually a sign of dementia in dogs. Dementia is not a sleeping disorder but it can disrupt your pet’s sleep and can adversely affect your pet. Talk to your vet about this so that diagnosis and treatment can follow to make your pet feel better.

Dreaming Too Much

We all know dogs dream about their wonderful adventures and dreamland. But is that normal? Yes, of course, it is. But when your dog starts dreaming of chasing butterflies and squirrels and running during sleep, you should be alerted. If this happens frequently, you should get your dog checked for any sleeping disorders.

sleeping disorders in dogs, Different Sleeping Disorders in Dogs That You Need to Know About
Photo taken in Tokyo, Japan

Collapsing Out of Nowhere

Does your dog collapse after physical activity? Your dog was too excited about something and decided to sleep weirdly. This isn’t normal. This is a sign that indicates one of the disorders known as narcolepsy.

Sleeping Disorders in Dogs

I’m going to list out some common sleeping disorders in dogs. This will help you understand what your dog might be going through. However, if your dog is not being able to sleep and it’s happening more often than not, it’s better to take the help of your vet than to figure things out yourself.

Sleep Apnea

This disorder is rare but more common in obese dogs and brachycephalic (flat-face) breeds like French Bulldog, English Bulldog, Boston Terrier, and Pug. Sleep apnea causes are odd respiratory anatomy and extremely high internal fat content, which often momentarily collapse or narrow the airway.

And that further jolts a dog awake for 20ish seconds at a time disrupting your dog’s sound sleep often. In the daytime, sleep apnea will make your dog feel exhausted and disoriented. As discussed in previous sections, the common sign of sleep apnea is chronic loud snoring. A veterinarian may suggest some treatments, including weight loss for overweight dogs, steam humidifiers, and surgery.

Sleep apnea is a life-threatening condition, that said, ignored symptoms and untreated disorder can even kill the dog. Seek veterinary help as soon as possible if you suspect sleep apnea in your dog.


This sleeping disorder is rare in dogs. But the reason behind insomnia is one or more underlying physical conditions that keep your dog uneasy all the time and also keep him up during the night. Kidney diseases, urinary tract infections may make them go frequent urination at night and disrupting sleep.

Separation anxiety, stress, pent up energy can also be culprits behind insomnia. If your pet is under treatment for medical conditions he has, you should tell the vet that your dog is not being able to sleep at night so that he may rule out other diseases and can take necessary steps.

Also, you should jot down any uncommon behavior of your dog so that you can help your vet diagnose the problem.

REM Behavior Disorder

The dogs who abnormally performs physical activity during deep sleep are suffering from the condition known as REM behavior disorder. When a dog is suffering from this condition, he would indulge himself in physical activities in his REM sleep like moving his legs as if he’s running.

The dog may also then run into walls or try to attack inanimate objects. This wakes them up from their sleep without any disorientation or confusion. This behavior will make them uncomfortable uneasy, and disrupt sleep. If you notice such behavior, please rush to your vet and don’t try to diagnose it on your own. Delayed treatment can cause a lot of loss of precious sleep and pain to your Fido.


This nervous system sleeping disorder is caused by uncommonly low levels of chemical known as hypocretin. The substance is responsible for alertness and sleep in canines. Moreover, obesity, lack of physical activity, and immune system dysfunction can cause narcolepsy. However, the cause can be unknown sometimes.

sleeping disorders in dogs, Different Sleeping Disorders in Dogs That You Need to Know About
a woman sleeping on sofa, a chihuahua sleeping on woman’s legs.

The condition causes the dog to suddenly collapse on its side and dose off immediately. This generally happens after some physical activity or excitement. The dog seems to enter REM sleep soon and muscles loosen up.

Narcolepsy is not painful or life-threatening but your dog can suffer a lack of sleep. You can also shoot a narcoleptic episode to help your vet diagnosing and treating your dog.

Conclusively, you should rule out conditions that might be affecting your pooch’s good night’s sleep and look forward to diagnosis. Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below.

Written By: Clara

Clara is a co-founder and the marketing head at She happens to be an active animal activist in her town who has done a few notable works for the welfare of animals, especially pets. She loves to enjoy writing about pets and animals.

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