We can all agree — a talking dog would be the ideal best friend. While most pets are unlikely to start prattling anytime soon, that doesn’t mean that animals don’t have their own way of communicating. Bees dance, some fish send electrical signals, and your pets use body language to tell you how they are feeling.
It’s essential for any pet owner to understand what their pet is saying with their posture. We’re glad when we see their wagging tails or feel their purrs, and can certainly tell when they’re hungry. But many of us are not so familiar with what they’re communicating when they’re asleep.
How Much Sleep do Dogs and Cats Need?
Dogs need 12–14 hours of sleep every day, and cats need up to 20 hours, so the majority of your pet’s time is likely spent sleeping. Watching them sleep is not only adorable, it can provide valuable insight into how they’re feeling about you and their environment. Learning the in’s and outs of your pet’s sleeping positions will help you understand and provide for their needs.
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How Can I Help My Pet Sleep Better?
You can help your pet sleep better by understanding certain cues and teaching them good habits. Subtle cues like tucked paws can indicate that your furry friend is tense or expecting to be disturbed. If your pet is curled into a ball, make sure they’re not too cold and have a nice blanket. While an exposed belly is almost always a good sign, it’s helpful to understand when your pet wants you to approach for a belly rub, and when they’d rather be left alone.
Don’t forget what you communicate to your pet in return — your animal can learn when sleep time is from your habits. This way you can ensure both you and your pet are getting the best night’s sleep you can. For insights on what your pet’s sleeping position says about them, check out the infographic below.
Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.