Truth is, you may be envious of how often – and how easily – your dog or cat sleeps! What a life!
Your pet’s sleep patterns don’t fit an 8 hour stretch like humans. Did you know that cats can sleep anywhere from 12 to nearly 17 hours in a 24 hour period? Dogs can sleep anywhere from 12 to 18 hours per day – varying somewhat by breed and individual dog. Our youngest and oldest pets can spend even more time getting some shut-eye.
Am I Dreaming? If you’ve ever heard your dog yip in her sleep or seen your cat move in his sleep, you’ve seen your pet in the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Stage or the stage where he dreams. For humans, it takes about 90 minutes to reach this sleep stage, but dogs and cats reach this stage in about 15 minutes.
While you may feel rejuvenated and restored after a good night’s sleep, your pet may leap up from a short nap, alert and ready for the next adventure. This intrinsic tendency to rapidly recharge worked very well in the wild, where hunting for small prey took up loads of energy.
Today, that same energy level might be expended to persuade you to get out of bed in the morning – pronto, please!
Are you sleeping, Brother John? Puppies and kittens may not sleep through the night because they’re wired for short spurts of rest. However, as these pets get older, they’re content to sleep when you sleep, provided the environment encourages it. So if the room is dark and the bedding and temperature suits your pet, he’ll sleep through the night just fine.
Can my pet sleep too much? Sometimes new dog or cat owners worry about a pet’s sleeping habits. Is it too much? Is she okay? The key to telling the difference between a needed nap and lethargy lies in how your pet behaves when awake. Changes in usual responses or patterns could be a red flag.
For instance, does the jangle of a leash still excite your dog? Or does he seem disinterested? Maybe your cat has lost her appetite and eats much less. Or you notice that it’s all she can do to move from one favorite napping spot to another. When a cat or dog seems perpetually exhausted or simply lacks energy, that’s lethargy and may indicate a health problem. The best way to know for sure what’s going in is to schedule a check-up for your pet.
(Yawn) As soon as you make that appointment, maybe you’d like to treat yourself to a little nap. After all…what Shakespeare said is true…
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
From The Tempest (4.1.168-170) by William Shakespeare