Skip navigation

FAQs About Pet Sleep Habits

Share article on Facebook Share article on Pinterest Share article on Twitter (opens new window)
ginger tabby cat sleeping on white carpet

Have questions about pets and sleep? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve got answers to help put your questions to bed.

How Much Do Pets Sleep?

Our pets sleep a lot. Adult dogs can sleep 12 to 14 hours a day. Puppies can sleep even longer—up to 20 hours a day or more. Older dogs and dogs with health issues may also sleep more since they can tire out easily.

Dogs require more sleep than we do since they nod off for shorter periods of time. Those additional hours help them get the deep sleep they need to feel refreshed and energized. Dogs are also flexible sleepers meaning they can doze off almost anywhere and wake up in a flash if they hear or sense something interesting.

Cats typically sleep around 16 hours a day, but they sleep in short periods between bouts of activity. Like puppies, kittens sleep more than adult cats and can snooze almost the whole day away. All that sleep helps cats prepare for the quick bursts of energy they use to stalk, chase, and catch their prey.

Do Pets Dream?

Some common pet sleep questions include: Why do dogs whimper in their sleep? Why do cats twitch in their sleep? Why do dogs bark in their sleep? The answer to these questions is because they’re probably dreaming.

Of course, we can’t really understand what’s going on between those furry ears. But we do know that pets, like humans, go through cycles of sleep. These cycles include REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is when we have our most vivid dreams—and we assume pets have theirs.

We can guess that our pets might be taking part in some of their favorite activities while they dream. Your dog could be chasing and finally catching that car. Your cat may be stalking and pouncing on the bird they’ve been watching outside the window every morning.

When pets are dreaming during REM sleep, they can move around and make all sorts of noises like grunting or growling. If your pet is dreaming, it’s best to leave them alone. If you wake them up, you could startle them, and they might get hurt or injure you.

puppy asleep on tan carpet next to a wood floor

What Are the Pros and Cons of Your Pet Sleeping in Your Room?

Where your pet sleeps is a personal decision. It’s really about what works best for you and your four-legged friend. But here are some pros and cons to consider.

Cons of Sleeping with Pets

Pets make noise at night by rustling around, snoring, or getting up for a trip to the litterbox, midnight snack, or drink of water. If you’re a light sleeper, they can interfere with a good night’s sleep, causing you to wake up groggy.

If you have allergies to pets, you should also consider keeping them out of your room or at least off the bed at night. You don’t want to sleep with your face in their fur or inhale their dander from your bedding. If you like having your pet in the bedroom, consider setting their crate or a cozy pet bed on the floor for them.

Pros of Sleeping with Pets

It can feel safe and comforting to have your pet in the room or on your bed when you go to sleep. They’re cozy, cuddly, and warm. Plus, they can help you rest easy knowing they’re there to guard and protect you—depending on their size and personality.

Dogs may also not interrupt your beauty rest as much as you thought. One study found that pups are less disruptive to sleep than human partners or cats. You might also improve your nightly routine when you adjust your sleep habits to accommodate a pet who goes to bed earlier.

If you choose to sleep with your pet, be sure to protect them from fleas, ticks, and other parasites. While your pet won’t typically make you sick, those pests can irritate you as well.

There are a handful of ailments you can catch from your pets, including cat scratch fever and hookworms. Learn about zoonotic diseases.

Can Dogs Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea causes breathing to stop and start abruptly during sleep. If you hear your dog snoring loudly and struggling for air while they’re snoozing, they could have this disorder. Your dog may also seem fatigued during the day since they’re not getting the ZZ’s they need to feel refreshed.

Causes of sleep apnea can include allergies, obesity, and obstructions in the nose or throat. It’s more prevalent in dogs with short muzzles who tend to have respiratory issues, such as Pugs and Bulldogs. If you suspect your dog has sleep apnea, you should consult with your veterinarian.

They can help identify the cause and suggest treatment. Obese or overweight dogs may need to lose weight by changing their diet and getting more exercise. Pups with an obstruction might require surgery to remove or fix the malformation. Dogs with allergies may benefit from medication and reducing exposure to the allergen as much as possible.

Are CPAP Machines Available for Dogs?

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines are commonly used for humans with sleep apnea. Someone using a CPAP machine places a mask over their nose and mouth, which provides a constant stream of pressurized air. This helps them breathe more easily during the night.

CPAP machines are not available for dogs. It’s hard to imagine getting a dog to wear a mask hooked up to a machine overnight. However, there are other treatments that can help your dog. Your veterinarian can walk you through your options.

old tabby cat resting on a red cushion

Quirky Cat Sleeping Habits

Cats have some odd sleeping habits, but there are reasons for these quirky behaviors.

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Pillow?

After you brush your teeth, you start to climb into bed only to notice that your cat is hogging up your favorite pillow. Some cats love sleeping on our pillows because they’re just so warm and comfortable. They also smell like us, which can be comforting to your kitty.

Why Can’t I Find My Cat When They Sleep?

Cats are hardwired to look for places to rest where they feel protected. In the wild, this is a survival behavior that would help protect them from predators. Your cat might seek out the back of a dark closet, slip behind the storage boxes under your bed, or find some other out-of-the-way place to snooze peacefully.

Why Do Cats Sleep at the Foot of the Bed?

Many cats prefer to sleep at the foot of the bed, where they feel the safest. Our beds are often in or near the center of the room, which gives cats a great vantage point. This position also allows them to jump off and move in any direction to escape a perceived threat.

Why Do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep?

Have you ever caught your cat sleeping with their little paws draped over their face? This is up there with one of the most adorable things cats do. They may be using their paws to block the light and sleep more easily. They might also feel better protected when they cover their face.

From sleeping in tight places to head bumping, cats have some odd behaviors. Find out why your cat does weird things.

Pet Sleeping Tips

There are some steps you can take to help your pet get a good night’s rest. For instance:

  • Tire them out. Make sure they’re getting enough activity during the day, so they’ll be ready to catch those restful ZZ’s.
  • Feed them a nutritious diet. This can help your pet stay healthy and sleep better. Plus, it can keep them at an appropriate weight and avoid issues like sleep apnea.
  • Help your pet wind down. Set the stage for relaxing into sleep by lowering the lights, keeping the volume down on the TV, and avoiding energetic games before bedtime.

You should also visit the veterinarian regularly. Annual wellness check-ups can help detect issues that might interfere with your pet’s sleep. They’re also a great time to ask your veterinarian any questions you might have about your pet’s sleeping habits.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


Happy dog gently places a paw across a kitten lying down

Making Friends: Introduction & Socialization Tips

Adding a pet to your happy household? These tips can help make the transition less hairy.


dog drinking directly from a pink water bottle

Dirty Water Dangers: How to Keep Pet Water Clean

Get tips on providing your pet with the fresh, clean water they need to stay hydrated and healthy.


A Guide to Dog and Puppy Hearing and Ear Care

A Guide to Dog Hearing and Ear Care

Here’s what you should know about your dog’s ears, including fun facts, signs of common ear problems, and tips for living with a deaf dog.