Sleep Health For Our Pets

Pick up almost any health magazine and you’ll probably find an article about the importance of getting enough quality sleep.  Studies suggest that that getting enough sleep helps reduce stress, keeps us alert and energetic, builds our body’s defenses against chronic illness and generally helps us stay healthy and happy.

But what about our pets – what are their sleep requirements?

Tuck Sleep is an organization whose mission is promoting awareness of sleep health. As part of that mission they create and share free resources about sleep health and wellness. They’ve shared a few articles about pets and sleep with us. Pets, like humans, need an appropriate amount of sleep.

On average, dogs spend 12 to 14 hours per day sleeping. Your dog’s particular sleep needs may vary around that range, depending on his age, size, breed, activity level, and overall health:

  • Larger breeds tend to sleep more than smaller breeds.
  • Working dogs with activity-filled days sleep less, while those who lead sedentary lives will sleep more.
  • Puppies can spend up to 20 hours sleeping a day. Growing and learning how to be a dog takes a lot of energy!
  • As dogs age into their senior years, they spend more time sleeping since they tire more easily.

How can I help my dog get better sleep?
Follow these tips to give your pup more restful shuteye:

  • Give your dog plenty of exercise and playtime during the day to stimulate his mind and tire him out by bedtime.
  • Feed your dog well. Some pet foods contain fewer nutrients than others, which can lower your dog’s energy during the day.
  • Don’t miss your vet check-ups. These regular appointments are a good way to identify any health conditions early on.
  • Give your dog a comfortable place to sleep.

If you choose to share your bed with your dog, like nearly half of dog owners do, make sure you get a mattress that’s big enough for everyone to fit, and offers excellent motion isolation so you’re not woken up by them moving around.

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Curled up, stretched out, or with fluffy tails across their face, no one can deny that cats are professional sleepers. Spending more than half the day asleep, our feline companions can count themselves among the ranks of sleepiest animals.

Keep reading to learn more about feline sleeping patterns and how you can help your cat get better sleep.

Cats sleep between 12 to 16 hours a day on average. Domesticated cats hail from those in the wild, who as predators can enjoy the luxury of sleeping more. For prey animals, on the other hand, staying awake is literally a matter of life and death.

Your particular cat’s sleeping patterns may vary, depending on her age and health. Kittens need more sleep – up to 20 hours – because they are spending so much energy growing into cathood. On the other end of the spectrum, older cats start to slow down around age 7 and need more rest, especially if they have arthritis or joint issues.

How can I help my cat sleep better?

  1. Feed your cat a healthy diet. Cheaper foods tend to contain fewer nutrients. As a result, your cat will be less frisky and more lethargic. Give your cat better food to ensure more restful sleep.
  1. Give your cat plenty of playtime. Cats like to play. If you don’t give them what they want, don’t be surprised when they wake you up at 2:00am by pawing at your face. You can keep them engaged during the day by placing a bird feeder outside a window. Then, place her kitty condo by the window at night so she can be entertained while you sleep.
  1. Make a firm decision about inviting your cat into your bed. If you choose to let your cat sleep with you, like 62% of cat owners do, get a mattress large enough and with decent motion isolation so you’re not roused by her collar jingling during a dream. Cats are also very territorial, so think hard and know for sure you want to let her sleep with you. Once you allow cats into your bedroom, they’re not going to leave without a fight.
  1. Do not give in to your cat’s pawing. If you want your cat to learn to leave you alone during the night, ignore her pawing. If you give in and start playing with her, she’ll learn that she can win and consider herself the dominant one in the house.
  1. Feed your cat at night. Cats tend to sleep well after a feast. If your cat bother you while you sleep, you can use a timed food bowl to feed in to her natural instincts.

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How Animals Sleep
While sleep patterns vary widely among animal classes and species, there are a few general rules of thumb. Sleep serves important evolutionary functions for all animals, but sleep patterns and positioning are based in large part on available food supply and defense mechanisms.

Which animals sleep the most per day?
People often assume that sloths would hold the record for sleepiest animal, but just because they move slowly does not mean they sleep more. However, sloths do sleep over 14 hours on average per day, about the same as dogs.

The animals that sleep the most include:

  • Large hairy armadillo (20.4 hours per day)
  • Little pocket mouse (20.1 hours per day)
  • Brown bat (19.9 hours)
  • North American opossum (18 hours per day)
  • Python (18 hours)
  • Owl monkey (17 hours)

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Visit their website for informative and interesting articles on sleep.

Sleep well – stay healthy and happy!