Volume 1 Issue 5

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Does Your Pet Sleep Too Much? By Dr. Marlene Siegel All living things require sleep to heal, restore, and replenish the body. Even plants have a natural rhythm for growth and rest. Dogs and cats have a different sleep pattern than people. Most people are awake 10-12 hours straight and sleep 7-8 hours (except those who are getting 3-5 hours a night and are suffering from stress and adrenal fatigue. If this is you, talk to the staff at Abbys and get help. YOU NEED SLEEP to heal and repair)! A dog's sleep pattern is influenced by their age, breed, and the environment they live in. Size is not a big factor, though larger breed dogs seem to sleep more than small breeds. Dogs sleep on average of 14 hours a day. They sleep in short naps, wake when stimulated, eat, seek attention, and cause mischief. Researchers estimate dogs spend as little as 10% of their sleeping time in REM sleep (the stage where dreaming occurs). They are in REM when their feet paddle (they are dreaming of running and playing) and they make noises (like mini yips and whines). Puppies are like the energizer bunny. They too sleep in spurts, sleeping 1820 hours a day. After napping, they wake with a fully charged battery. They eat, potty, play hard, use all their energy up quickly and crash so they can recharge the battery and do it all over again. Whether it is due to a lack of stimulation (no one is playing with them) or because they are suffering from inflammatory disease's like arthritis which makes moving more uncomfortable, aging dogs tend to sleep more, especially if not stimulated to get up. Brachycephalic breeds (Bulldogs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Chinese Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus and Bull Mastiffs) may be born with upper airway abnormalities that include stenotic nares, an elongated soft palate, a hypoplastic trachea and everted laryngeal saccules. Dogs may be affected with a combination of one or more of these abnormalities. The abnormality may lead to poor sleep due to snoring and airway restriction. Consult your veterinarian regarding laser surgery to resolve these issues. Diet and digestion play a significant role in activity and sleep patterns. Animals being fed a biologically species appropriate diet have more energy, are more active, have better endurance, less health challenges and sleep less. Cats, the unique beings that they are, are different than dogs. As predators they were designed to be obligate carnivores (they must eat meat to stay healthy) and they have no dietary requirement for carbohydrates. Their ancestors hunted at dawn and dusk, resting during the day to store up the energy they needed to run down their dinner. Cats do more napping than deep sleeping. They rest and sleep 16-20 hours/day, but they are always alert, even while napping. They have a built in survival mechanism that allows them to go from a napping state to fully alert and responsive in seconds. Cats need to feel safe and be at the right temperature in order to sleep. When they sleep with their owners, Page 26 | Abby's Magazine - they scent the sheets, furthering the feeling of safety. Studies show that pets that sleep with their owners have less stress and are more bonded to their owners. Cats also seek to regulate their body temperature by seeking sun (warmth) or shade (coolness) to nap. Sleeping with a paw covering the eyes is a mechanism to conserve heat. Cats are crepuscular, not nocturnal (means they hunt at dawn and dusk). A perfect way to feed your cat would be to encourage hunting stalking behavior (play laser light chase or mouse on a fishing line) before feeding a quality balanced raw diet at dawn and dusk, when they are naturally more active. So when to worry? Any time a pet's behavior pattern changes, it is a signal that something is going on. Don't blow it off to "they are getting older". Dogs and cats should be living into their 20's with vibrance and abundant health. The keys to a healthy life include a proper diet, good exercise, reduced chemicals and pollutants (in the food and environment), a holistic health approach (strive to live in balance with the body, mind, spirit and with the universe) and quality sleep. May you and your pet's share many blessings and Z's! Pasco Veterinary Medical Center Promoting Health Care Not Broke Care P| 813-973-2929

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