How to Help Your Rescue Pet Get the Best Sleep

Bringing home a new rescue pet means bringing home a new best friend. You’ll want the best for them — including the best sleep. Fortunately, animals are generally naturally good sleepers and can sleep flexibly to get the rest they need while also enjoying playtime and other activities throughout the day. But sometimes, they need help sleeping well — and that’s where you come in.

Your Pet’s Sleep Needs

You can expect most pets to need at least 12 hours of sleep. That’s more than the seven to nine hours adult humans need, so you might get the idea that they sleep a lot (and compared to you, they do). Dogs usually need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, and cats need about 12 to 16 hours. Puppies, kittens, elderly and especially active pets may have a greater sleep need.

Unlike humans, pets don’t typically do all of their sleeping at night. While they may consolidate much of it to nighttime when you’re sleeping, they generally nap during the day, too. After all, some pets need double the sleep you do, so that means they’ll have to make up some of it in the daytime. Pets can adjust their sleep schedule to sleep when you’re not home or otherwise not engaged with them.

Pet Sleep Problems

Though pets can usually sleep flexibly enough to meet their needs, they can run into sleep problems just like humans do. When they sleep too much, it could be a sign that they’re struggling with a serious health condition or adjusting to a change in routine or your family situation. Sleeping too little can be an issue, too, as too little sleep can leave them without enough energy to engage in normal, enjoyable activities.

Helping Your Rescue Pet Sleep Well

  • Make health care a priority. Make sure you stay on top of regular vet checkups so your pet can stay healthy and identify any serious conditions. It’s a good idea to bring up any sleep concerns at your appointment.
  • Give your pet a healthy sleep environment. Like humans, pets need a comfortable place to sleep. It should be quiet, dark, clean, and free of distractions. Some pet parents enjoy sharing a bed with pets. It’s not for everyone, but it can offer comfort and strengthen your relationship with your pet.
  • Maintain good physical activity. Regular activity is helpful for sleep in pets, offering stimulation and wearing out their energy so they’ll be more prepared to rest well.
  • Feed them a healthy diet. Indigestion happens to pets, and as is the case with humans, can cause sleep struggles. Choose an appropriate food to help your pet maintain good energy levels during the day, but avoid letting them overeat at night or steal human food that may cause digestive issues.

Pets need good sleep just like humans do. Although they can sleep flexibly to make up their sleep needs, sometimes, they need support. Do what you can to offer a healthy sleep environment and the best care for sleep, and talk to your pet’s veterinarian about any sleep concerns you have.Jackie Kepler is a sleep professional. She enjoys sleeping with cats, but sleeps on a king size bed because she needs her space, too.

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