Pets need restful sleep to stay healthy and vibrant, but sleeping too much could be a sign that something is wrong. Pay attention to your pet’s sleeping patterns and take note of any irregularities.
Signs your pet is sleeping too much:
- Sleep has extended for continued periods of time beyond his/her normal pattern
- There is a noticeable decline in your pet’s energy level and activity
- Your pet favours sleeping over eating and/or drinking
- Your pet appears too tired to respond to stimuli, such as being called or having toys presented
Possible causes of your pet’s change in sleep pattern:
1. Stage of Development
Throughout your pet’s lifespan, energy levels and the amount of sleep required to remain healthy and strong will change. Extremely active kittens and puppies will run and play vigorously. Suddenly, they may tire themselves out and plop themselves anywhere to sleep. Sleep also helps their growing bodies. Senior pets tend to tire more easily and may prefer quiet to a lot of activity, especially those having medical issues. Talk to your veterinarian about the amount of sleep your pet needs at his/her age and development, and watch your fur baby’s sleep patterns and note any changes.
2. Newly Adopted
It is not unusual for recently adopted pets to feel frightened of their new environment, especially if exposed to a lot of unfamiliar people and sounds. Many pets need time to adjust to the changes they are experiencing, and all the excitement could cause them to feel tired. Be sure your pet has a comfy bed and soft blankets. Then, respect his/her need to rest, relax, and get comfortable with the new surroundings.
3. Changes in Routine
Pets like structure. It helps them to feel safe. If your pet is lethargic and/or spending more time sleeping than usual, consider whether there have been changes in your pet’s life, such as:
- Changes to the daily routine—children starting school, family member no longer home during the day
- Changes in his/her surroundings, such as rearranging the furniture
- Renovating the house
- A family member is absent
- Death in the family
- Addition to the family—new baby or new pet
- Moving to a new home
- Unfamiliar visitors to the home
- Travelling more than usual
Sleeping more often than usual may be your pet’s way of dealing with depression. Other signs of depression may include loss of appetite, loss of interest in toys, hiding/withdrawing from the family, and changes in grooming behaviour. Consider what has been happening in your pet’s life to cause his/her to feel depressed. Is your pet feeling bereaved over a loss? Is your pet being neglected? Offer your pet comfort and speak to a veterinarian if depression persists.
Pets are often less active when in pain and will lose interest in playing with toys, going for walks, and running after a ball or stick. They often become more sedentary and may sleep more than usual as a way of coping with pain and discomfort. Sleep also helps the body heal through rest.
Sleep can help your pet combat an infection, and is often the body’s natural healing response. Both bacterial and viral infections can lead to fatigue/lethargy, causing your pet to sleep more.
- Canine adenovirus, or infectious canine hepatitis (ICH)
- Canine distemper
- Feline distemper (panleukopenia)
- Infection resulting from surgery
- Kennel cough (Bordetella)
- Urinary tract or kidney infection
Note: This is not an exhaustive list of the infections that may cause your pet to feel fatigued and sleep more often.
A number of diseases/medical conditions may cause your pet to feel tired and sleep more than usual, including:
- Autoimmune disease
- Cancer, including feline leukemia
- Chronic diarrhea
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Lyme disease
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Physical trauma
- Respiratory Issues—laboured breathing, asthma, lung disease
Note: This is not an exhaustive list of the diseases/illnesses that may cause your pet to feel fatigued and sleep more often.
8. Side Effect of Medication
Certain medications may cause your pet to feel tired and want to sleep more. Always discuss the side effects of medications with your veterinarian and contact your veterinarian should your pet not be adjusting well to a medication. NEVER give your pet over-the-counter drugs without first seeking medical advice.
9. Ingestion of Toxic Substance
Certain foods, plants, cleaning products, and household chemicals are poisonous and extremely dangerous to your pet. Try as you may to keep toxic substances out of your pet’s reach, sometimes accidents happen. Your pet may manifest a variety of symptoms, depending on what was ingested, including:
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Overall malaise
- Laboured breathing
10. Extreme Weather Conditions
Extreme heat can cause your pet to feel lethargic. During a heat alert, your pet may naturally have less energy and wish to sleep. Under such conditions, it is important to keep your pet well hydrated and watch for signs of heatstroke. Take your pet to a veterinarian or emergency medical hospital IMMEDIATELY if your pet is having difficulty breathing, vomiting blood, has collapsed, is having seizures, or is unconscious or in a coma.
See your veterinarian if your pet is sleeping more than usual. It could be a symptom of something more serious.
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