How much sleep does your pet need?

March 11, 2019

We know that humans require a certain amount of sleep (7-9 hours, on average) to maintain our own physical and mental health. But how much sleep do our pets need? Should you be worried if your pets’ sleeping habits change?

Understanding our pets’ sleeping habits is important, as changes in their sleep behaviour may be an indication of a more serious behavioural or physical ailment. Knowing what’s “normal” for your pet can be tricky, but we’ve found some helpful info for pet parents of all varieties!

For dogs, most experts agree the average for adult dogs is about 12-14 hours of sleep per day. But puppies and older dogs may sleep for up to 18 - 20 hours. Of course, that can vary quite a bit between breed and size.

When it comes to our feline friends, they tend sleep an average of 12-16 hours per day and are usually more active at night.

Hamsters and other members of the rodent family usually sleep between 6-8 hours per day and are also generally more active at night.

Bird care experts agree that between 10-12 hours of nighttime sleep is appropriate for most breeds, and some napping during the day is also normal. In some cases of problem behavior in birds, veterinarians have seen improvements after owners ensured their pets were simply getting enough sleep!

When it comes to reptiles, things get a bit more interesting. Studies on snakes have found that their sleep may come in waves – between 16 hours a day, and up to 20 hours after they eat. In 2016, a study of Bearded Dragons (a popular pet lizard) published in Science Magazine noted the lizards slept an average of 6-8 hours per day and actually share human sleep patterns.

As for the pets who sleep the least, adult horses tend to sleep for only 3-4 hours per day – and in short stints of rest rather than taking one long nap.

Regardless of the type of pet you own or their individual habits and lifestyle, sleep is an important part of keeping them healthy and feeling their best. If you’re wondering how much sleep is right for your pet, or if you notice any changes in their sleep, appetite, or personality; you can text or video chat with a local vet at Healthy Pets on demand!