To Sleep or Not to Sleep, That is the Question

Observing our pets sleeping habits, we’ve all asked ourselves “is this normal?” at one point or another. After all, we have nothing to compare them to but ourselves, our own biology and activity patterns. Worried, we might consult a veterinarian or turn to the internet for answers. So we here at Pour Vous have decided to gather the available research information and answer a few of the most common questions on the subject.

While the average human being needs around 8 hours of sleep per day, this vastly differs from cats and dogs. An average cat needs between 12 and 16 hours of sleep daily (though some data suggests as much as up to 18 hours). An average, healthy dog needs about 14 hours. The exact amount of sleep required also depends on other factors, such as age and size of the animal. Research points out that puppies require more sleep (up to 18 hours) than the adults and older ones can even exceed that. The same applies to larger breeds, such as Mastiffs. The larger the dog, the more sleep it needs to maintain a healthy energy level while in its wakeful activities.

Another important factor is REM sleep. This is a stage of sleep that humans experience (we spend about 25% of our sleep time in that stage) and it is the one that makes us feel rested and replenished. This is also the stage in which dreaming occurs. Cats and dogs experience it, too. Cats spend as much as 30% of their total sleep in the REM stage, as opposed to dogs, who have only 10%. And how do we recognize it? You might see their whiskers or paws twitching, hear them emanate a quiet growl (or meowing) – or, if they’re dreaming very vividly, they could even be moving their legs as if they were running. It has been known to happen.

Snoring is also common. Just like with humans, snoring in cats and dogs generally occurs when air movement is restricted in the nasal passageways or throat. While not necessarily as dangerous as it is with us, there are certain cat and dog species which are naturally prone to respiratory issues. These so- called brachycephalic breeds have a broad, short skull with a short snout – meaning a shorter breathing passage. With cats, these species are Persian and Himalayan. With dogs, they are the English Bulldog, Shih Tzuh, Pug and the like. So if your pet is one of these, it’s always a good idea to take it to veterinarian check-ups regularly, to look out for any health problems its snoring might indicate.