Dogs and cats have sleep patterns very similar to humans. They experience dreams, rapid eye movements (REM) and other aspects of human sleep. The difference is they sleep a lot more hours than we do.
Dogs sleep about 14 hours a day. Large dogs such as Saint Bernards and Mastiffs are often referred to as “couch potatoes” because they spend more time sleeping than their smaller and/or more active cousins. Dogs spend about 10-12% of their sleeptime in deep sleep. This is when they dream and can appear to be chasing something.
Cats sleep about 16 hours a day. Cat naps are light sleep cycles. They make up about 75% of a cat’s sleep time. The deep sleep cycle covers the remaining 25%. Cats dream too, often swishing their tails.
During the deep sleep cycle, dogs and cats do not react to anything that may be going on around them. They seem to be completely oblivious to any type of noise.
The old adage, “let sleeping dogs lie” holds true. If you must disturb a pet while s/he is sleeping, do so very carefully. A pet’s initial reaction to being awakened suddenly, especially during a deep sleep, may be to strike out by biting or scratching.
Pets who are bored or ill generally sleep more. Boredom is easily cured by exercise. Perhaps your pet needs more play time and attention.
Pets who are aging often don’t hear well or can’t move around as much as they used to. They may sleep for longer periods of time.
If your pet changes sleeping habits suddenly or sleeps longer than you feel s/he should, it’s time for a veterinary visit to make sure your pet is healthy.