How to Help Your Pet Get More Sleep

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


These simple steps will help cats and dogs get the rest that they need.

"Sleep like a dog," "take a cat nap"…there’s a reason that you associate pups and kitties with sleep—they love to snooze! Most pet owners won’t have to worry about their fur ball getting too few winks, but dogs and cats occasionally do need more shuteye.

How Much Sleep Does My Pet Need?

On average, dogs sleep about 14 hours a day (though large breeds may sleep more), while cats spend 15 to 20 hours snoozing (yes, be jealous). Dogs tend to nap during the day and sleep through the night, while cats get most of their shuteye during daytime hours and are most active after dark.

How Do I Know if My Pet is Getting Enough Sleep?

If your dog seems lethargic when awake or has trouble sleeping through the night, those may be indicators that he needs more rest. Cats might also show a change in their activity level or act restless and meow or cry more than usual.

How Can I Help My Pet Get More Sleep?

First of all, make sure that your pet is getting enough activity during the day. You can try tiring out your dog by bringing him on an extra walk or keeping your cat busy with indoor games. Just like humans, dogs and cats sleep better when they’ve had some exercise. It’s also a good idea to keep your pet out of the bedroom; if you’re tossing and turning loudly, you could disrupt your pet's slumber (and if your furry friend sleeps on your bed, its movements could be hurting your sleep, too). If your pet does get feisty in the middle of the night, keep calm so that it doesn't become even more excited. Bring your dog back to its bed and do your best to ignore your cat’s meows (unless you think that your pet may be sick or hurt). Animals are smart—if they realize that they can get you out of bed to play, it may become a nightly ordeal.

If your pet still doesn’t seem to be getting enough sleep, talk to your veterinarian so that he or she can rule out any serious underlying issues like an illness or narcolepsy. And remember that animals’ sleeping patterns tend to change as they age, so, over time, you may need to adjust your tactics for helping Whiskers or Rover get enough sleep.