If you’re thinking about getting an Akita and are wondering about their sleeping habits, or if you already have an Akita and are concerned about any changes in their sleep, you’re in the right place.
On average, adult Akitas generally sleep about 12 – 14 hours a day, while Akita puppies and seniors will require roughly 15 – 18 hours of sleep in a day.
Akitas are large, beautiful dogs and they make wonderful pets. However, they were bred for a certain reason and are generally happiest being loyal helpers — which means they require enough sleep.
The Right Amount Of Sleep for An Akita
Akitas are highly adaptable dogs and are comfortable being in solitude, or by doing what they were bred for — retrieving, herding, and guarding. They will adapt their activities, as well as laziness levels, to what’s expected of them. So, some Akitas will happily sleep in the corner for most of the day, while others will be active all day and sleep mostly only at night.
The sleep habits of Akitas range greatly — mostly depending on their owner’s habits— and most sleep issues aren’t generally of any concern. But it’s important to know what to watch for.
How to Get Your Akita to Sleep At Night
Akitas can have bursts of energy that seemingly come out of nowhere. But, as with most dogs, there are a few things you can do to help your Akita go to sleep at night. Luckily, the Akita is a dog breed that is highly adaptable and learns through association, so they should learn how to go to sleep at night if you implement most or all of these tips:
Give Them Plenty Of Exercise. Akitas need exercise to stay healthy, and to wear themselves out. After all, Akitas were originally bred to be retrievers for hunters or for herding livestock so they’re used to getting a lot of exercise throughout the day. By making sure your Akita gets enough exercise during the day they should need the recovery time — and will therefore sleep longer and better at night.
Feed Them In The Evening. Akitas should be fed twice a day for optimum digestive health. One of these feeds should be in the evening so they have a full belly to fall asleep. This will prevent your Akita from getting up in the middle of the night in search of food.
Take Them for A Bathroom Break Before Bed. Take your Akita out for a walk, or at least let them wander around the yard or somewhere else they can go to the bathroom safely for a few minutes close to bedtime. A full bladder will impede sleep and they’ll likely wake you up to let them out.
Create A Few Sleep Options. Akitas can be quite picky about where they sleep. A lot of Akitas like to sleep on harder surfaces because they were bred to sleep mostly outside. But, of course, some will certainly appreciate a softer place to snooze. Give your Akita a few sleep options and be open to where they choose to sleep — don’t try to force them to sleep somewhere they won’t be comfortable.
Don’t feel like you need to allow your Akita to sleep in your bedroom if you’re a light sleeper, or if they keep you up at night. You may not want to give them full access to roam your home at night, especially at first, but a large area with a few sleep options should suffice.
Make A Bedtime Routine. Akitas will adapt fairly quickly to routines so by being consistent in their activities before bed they’ll soon learn it’s time to relax and unwind to prepare for sleep. Feed them, walk them, dim the lights, talk softly to them, and repeat this same process each night.
Be prepared for your Akita to take a few weeks — or maybe longer — to adapt to this routine, especially if you aren’t able to start when they’re still a puppy. They may resist you at first, and you can expect a few sleepless nights as they wake you for their needs. Don’t be frustrated — Akitas are bread to live a life of routine so most of them will adapt eventually. If you find that your Akita is still resisting after trying it for a while, especially if they are an adult, it may be time to consider hiring a professional who has experience in sleep training Akitas.
Don’t Reward Bad Behavior. Giving in to the wants of your Akita during the night won’t teach them that night is for sleep and they’ll continue to bother you. Unless they are sick — in which case you should attend to them — ignore any barking, whining, scratching and other attempts to get your attention. Your Akita will soon learn you won’t respond and will stop bothering you at night.
Sleeping Problems Found In Akitas
As mentioned before, some Akitas, especially puppies, can be quite energetic and may require some calming down before bed. As long as you follow your sleep routine, these issues should be minimized.
Akitas are prone to developing hip dysplasia, which can interfere with their sleep and regular routines. Talk to your veterinarian to discuss options for how to make your Akita more comfortable.
Akitas can also develop hypothyroidism or immune disorders which can affect their sleep. It’s important to watch for signs of weight gain or loss, discomfort, excessive scratching and cleaning the skin, as well as patches of redness and irritation.
Things That Change How Much Your Akita Should Be Sleeping
As mentioned above, Akitas will learn to adapt to new routines so if a dog who was previously active with their owner during the day is now left alone for long periods of time, they will often sleep instead of entertaining themselves. And vice versa.
Different Lifestyles And Their Effects On Nap-Time
Some Akita owners describe their dogs as energetic — they are generally the ones who keep them active and may even use them as guards or for herding, so they won’t see their Akitas nap too much during the day.
Andsome Akita owners describe their dogs as lazy because they leave their dogs alone most of the day or don’t take them out much — these dogs will generally happily nap several times during the day.
Sleeping Disorders And What to Do About Them
It’s rare for an Akita to develop a serious sleeping disorder, but it can happen. A few that can occur are:
Insomnia. Unlike in humans, insomnia in dogs generally only manifests because of another health or behavioral issue. If your Akita develops hip dysplasia or has another injury or illness this can make it difficult to maintain their regular sleep patterns and lead to insomnia. Take your Akita to the veterinarian for regular checkups to check their hips and general health.
Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea is rare in dogs, and generally only happens in Akitas if they’re obese. Keep your Akita’s weight in a healthy range (females should weigh 70 – 110 pounds, males should weigh 85 – 130 pounds) to prevent sleep apnea, as well as other serious health concerns.
When to Be Concerned
If you’re Akita has been sleeping well, and has had no change in their activity levels, they shouldn’t suddenly change their sleeping patterns. If you’ve noticed your Akita has slept poorly for more than a few days it’s best to take them to a veterinarian to rule out any health issues.
Is Your Akita Sleeping Too Much?
If you notice your regularly active Akita tires a lot easier than before and spends a lot more time sleeping, this could be cause for concern. Of course, as mentioned above, Akitas will get to the age where they require more sleep. It’s always best to see a veterinarian to double-check everything is good with your Akita.
Is Your Akita Sleeping Too Little?
As with suddenly sleeping too much, your Akita could suddenly start sleeping too little once they become an adult, or if their activity levels change. If their behavior changes as well, this is worth checking out with your veterinarian.