Sleeping, Eating and Playing: How to Keep Your Pet Healthy

All pet owners want the best for their furry friends. It’s important to keep pets healthy and happy, and one of the best ways to do that is being educated about their health needs, including their sleep health.

Owners should be aware of common hazards located around the home, especially poisonous plants. Good nutrition, daily play, and exercise are also important factors in a pet’s overall health and happiness. From early life to old age, our pets need good quality health care and adequate sleep shouldn’t be left out of the plan.

To learn more about how sleep impacts a pet’s health, keep reading. Additional resources regarding all sorts of pet-related information can be found below, as well.

The Sleep Habits Of Cats Vs. Dogs

There are many ways to help keep a dog happy and healthy

It’s long been held that cats and dogs are polar opposites when it comes to pets, but what about their sleep cycles? Dogs have polyphasic sleep cycles, which means they sleep for big chunks of time throughout the day. To make the comparison, humans are monophasic, meaning we sleep one big chunk at night (sounds familiar, right?) So it should be no surprise to see the pup snoozing on the couch, floor or just about anywhere multiple times a day.

Cats are even bigger sleepers. Sleep.org says they sleep about 15-20 hours in a 24-hour period – that is a lot of snoozing! “While cats sleep about twice as much as humans and prefer to get their rest through short and long naps instead of one big chunk of slumber at night, they experience similar sleep stages,” says Sleep.org.

Cause for concern comes when a beloved cat or dog starts acting lethargic or sleeping longer hours than usual. This could be a sign of illness or another health issue.

Ways To Help Your Pet Get More Sleep

 

playing with your pet engages them

Exercise

Taking the dog for a run or using a stuffed mouse to entice the cat to play is important not only to wear them out so they’ll sleep but it’s also good for their overall health. It promotes good digestion, helps to keep joints flexible, and reduces the chances of obesity – which can bring on a slew of health issues.

Good Nutrition

Each species of pet – cat, dog, bird, reptile or otherwise – is going to have a specific nutritional profile that should be met to keep them healthy. A well-fed pet will be able to fall asleep and stay asleep, without waking up hungry or agitated. Work with a veterinarian to discuss the best type of food, delivery system and appropriate weight for each pet.

A Comfortable Bed

Just like humans, every pet deserves a healthy and safe sleep environment. For dogs, this may look like a soft dog bed but for cats, birds, rodents or other pets like fish, it’s all about creating a quiet space.

One way to think about it is to think about what a person needs to obtain good quality sleep. For larger animals like dogs and cats, they need a spot to rest that will ease their joints and any tension. All pets need to feel warm (or appropriately warm or cool) and safe and protected – just like us. This will help them to relax and fall asleep and stay asleep.

RELATED: Most Comfortable Mattresses 2019

Routine Visits to the Vet

Keeping tabs on a pet’s health is very important. If a family dog, cat, parakeet, guinea pig, or other animal starts showing signs of stress or acting abnormally, take them in as soon as possible.

Where Should Pets Sleep?

While previous research indicated that letting a pet – specifically a dog – sleep in bed with us may harm our sleep health, a more recent study suggests dogs may have a leg up over cats in this arena.

In a survey that looked at both men and women, 55% of respondents reported sleeping with at least one dog and 31% shared a bed with at least one cat. Of the several notable outcomes from the survey, these points about dogs and cats stuck out:

  • Dog owners who allowed their dogs to share their beds reported that doing so was associated with high feelings of comfort and security.
  • Cat owners reported that they believed their feline companions to be just as disruptive to their sleep as human bed partners.

“Our data do suggest that dogs commonly rate as better bed partners than cats and may enhance sleep quality,” Christy Hoffman, Ph.D., program director of anthrozoology and associate professor in the Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation and Anthrozoology departments at Canisius College told Mattress Clarity in a previous story.

Some reasons for this may include the “security” characteristics that some dogs have that may make an owner feel safe. Dog owners also reported more consistent sleep cycles and wake times, which means their sleep quality may be slightly higher than to better sleep hygiene.

Never fear, cat lovers. “Characteristics of individual humans and their companion animals are likely to have a big impact on whether bed-sharing is ideal for an individual and their pet,” Hoffman told us.

Tips For Sleeping In Bed With A Pet

Minimize Disruptions

If the pup absolutely must sleep in the bed, consider investing in some earplugs or a white noise machine avoid disruptions. Dogs – and cats – can have dreams that cause them to make noises in the night or shake the bed. Blocking as much of this external noise as possible will help with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Use A Mattress Protector

The last thing any pet owner wants is an accident in bed that voids the warranty on his/her mattress. Like humans, pets can generate accidents that can add damage and staining to a bed. Consider a waterproof mattress protector on top of the mattress to stop any fluids or accidents from happening.

Stay Cool

Dogs and cats have a lot of fur and that can radiate heat from the bed. A cooling mattress and sheets will keep anyone from sleeping hot with a pet in the bed. Add a fan to the room to keep air circulating as well.

Kick Them Out If Necessary

Sleep is an essential part of good sleep health. Struggling with sleep deprivation just to keep a pet in bed is not recommended by any health expert. If sleep is becoming disrupted and signs of sleep deprivation are appearing, like depression, mistakes at work and chronic sleepiness, it may be time for the beloved pet to find his or her own bed.

Additional Resources

Household Hazards to Pets

  • Pet Care: Household Hazards: AVMA shares the foods, chemicals, medications, and other household items that can cause potential harm to a pet.
  • Cats: Ten Common Household Hazards: For the cat-lovers, PetMD shares ten common hazards for cats that can be found in the home. Cats can be awfully curious, roaming about the house and finding themselves in the tiniest nooks and crannies: Being aware of these ten items will prolong a cat’s life and keep cat owners from terrible heartache.

Travel Safety for Petstraveling with your pet

  • Traveling by Air With Pets: The Center for Pet Safety informs pet owners of the risks of traveling by air with a pet as well as the steps to take beforehand.

Proper Exercise and Nutrition for Your Pet

  • Preventing Diseases in Pets: Just like in humans, eating and exercising correctly is essential to a pet’s health. Harmony Vet Center goes into detail about the ways to prevent pet diseases through exercise and proper diet.

Poisonous Plants for Pets

  • Poisonous Plants for Pets: Pet Poison Helpline receives dozens of calls every day from worried pet owners whose pet ate a plant that could be poisonous. Here, they explain the most poisonous plants for dogs and cats.
  • Keeping Pets Safe in the Garden: Know the plants to avoid growing or storing as well as the steps to take in your garden so a wandering pet doesn’t run into trouble.
  • Backyard Plants to Remove: If you just moved in or just got a new furry friend, this article can help you find the plants in your backyard that can be dangerous to pets.
  • Best vs. Worst Plants: Apart from learning which plants not to grow in the garden, find out which ones are pet-friendly.

Training Basics for Your New Pet

  • Different Training Methods: There are many ways to train a dog. The American Kennel Club addresses different methods of training and how to keep the dog engaged during each session here.

Potentially Dangerous Items for Your Pet

  • Potential Dangers and Taking Action: The U.S. Food Drug Administration lists potentially hazardous materials that can cause harm to your pets and what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Common Household Poisons for Pets: Most people love grapes, but did you know they could be seriously dangerous for pets? Vet Street informs pet owners about different items that can be harmful to pets as well as the best way to respond in case of an unfortunate event.
  • Beware of the Garage: Many products sitting on garage shelves can hurt pets. This article lists item to avoid keeping within their reach.

Preventing Ticks on Your Pets

  • Natural Solution for Ticks: Many chemical solutions can help keep ticks away from your pet, but these three natural remedies are also worth a try.
  • Finding and Removing Ticks: After a day at the lake or in the woods, make sure to follow these guidelines to check your pet for ticks and remove them.

Disaster Preparedness for Your Pet

  • Pet Disaster Preparedness: Knowing the steps to take when a tornado, hurricane, or flood is imminent can save valuable time and keep you and your pets safe.
  • Kits for Cats and Dogs: FEMA discusses the importance of having a prepared disaster kit as well as steps to take if evacuating an area.

Pet Euthanasia: How Do I Know it’s Time?

  • How to Know it’s Time: American Humane lists common symptoms to look for to help you know that it’s time to let go of your pet.
  • Stop Suffering Before it Happens (PDF): In this document, Ohio State University compiles a list of questions and procedures to help pet owners know when to euthanize their furry family members.

Miscellaneous Pet Informationintroducing a baby to your pet

  • Neutering and Spaying: Find out about the benefits, cost, and myths regarding neutering or spaying a pet.
  • Interesting Fact About Dogs: We all know a dog wags its tail when it is happy or excited, but did you know it has 42 teeth when it is fully grown?

Featured image: Rasulov/Shutterstock

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Gravatar for Joe Auer

Joe Auer

Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.

He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.

Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.