Anasazi Animal Clinic is a pet clinic in Gilbert, Arizona that is passionate about all aspects of your pet’s health: and that includes their sleep. Fido or Fluffy may spend a lot of time curled up by your side on the couch or sleeping contentedly on their bed, but have you ever considered the health benefits your pet is receiving from proper sleep? Just like their human owners, your four-legged friends need to get a certain amount of sleep each day. And that amount will vary, depending on size, breed, activity level, and age.

Your Dog’s Sleep Health

When humans close their eyes at night and enter dreamland, they release a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is responsible not only for giving us a restful night’s sleep but also for protecting our cells and strengthening our immune system. Much like humans, dogs also produce melatonin while they sleep. And if they aren’t sleeping enough, they may overproduce stress hormones that lead to aggression and other misbehaviors.

So, just how much sleep does your pup need to be happy and healthy? Here is a simple break down:

  • Puppies: up to 20 hours a day
  • Adult Dogs: 12-14 hours a day
  • Large Adult Dogs: up to 18 hours a day
  • Senior Dogs: 18+ hours a day

Unlike humans, dogs sleep in bursts throughout the day. While humans spend 25% of their sleep in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, dogs only spend 10% in REM sleep. And it’s because of the low frequency of REM sleep that dogs need more sleep than humans. In REM cycles, dogs may dream, and this is where you may notice your canine’s legs twitching as if he or she were running. The other 90% of dog sleep is called slow wave sleep, or SWS. When dogs are in SWS, their mental functions are slowed down, but their body is still engaged.

Your Cat’s Sleep Health

The term cat nap has been coined for a reason. If you own a cat, you know if it’s not playing, it’s probably sleeping. That’s because cats can sleep as much as 16 hours a day; that number goes up to 20 hours for older cats. You may have also noticed that after her morning breakfast, Fluffy finds a quiet place to lay down, and naps most of the day away. That’s because cats are crepuscular creatures, meaning they are most active at dawn and at dusk.

Much like dogs, cats spend a majority of their time sleeping in a snooze-state. This light sleep is all a part of their genetic code, which allows them to awake at a moment’s notice if predators are lurking. Another reason cats sleep so much is also related to their genes. The modern domestic cat is descended from wild cats that expend large amounts of energy hunting prey, and all that feral activity requires their predecessors to rest between meals.

Understanding your pet’s sleeping habits is a helpful tool for monitoring their overall health. If your usually loveable furball appears to be agitated or seems grumpy, disoriented, or forgetful, they may be experiencing sleep deprivation. Bringing your pet in for their regular checkup at Anasazi Animal Clinic can help identify any sleep-related health conditions before they lead to greater issues. Our pet clinic in Gilbert, AZ is easily accessible to pet owners living in Chandler and Mesa, too. Contact us and schedule your appointment today!

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst (8/21/2018)