There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep for waking refreshed and ready to face the world. Indeed, restful sleep is a good sign that all’s well both mentally and physically. And the interesting thing is, this applies as much to our fur-friends as it does to us. The quality and character of your pet’s sleep can give vital clues about their health. But of course, the night is also when you’re asleep, which means turning a deaf ear to the quiet messages a resting dog sends out. Let’s take a look at the significance of how your dog sleeps, what this says about their health, and an easy way to tap into this information (without sacrificing your shut-eye).
The Importance of Resting Heart and Respiratory RateDo you like visiting the dentist? Or, like most people, do you experience a dry mouth and racing heart. The latter are both signs of anxiety, which also happen when our pets visit the vet. Known as ‘white coat syndrome’ (even though vets rarely wear them now) these phenomena makes it difficult for the veterinarian to get an accurate picture of your dog’s normal heart rate and breathing pattern. Why does this matter? Let’s take the example of the heart. A fit healthy heart has specific characteristics, for example, it beats at a certain rate because this is the most efficient way of circulating blood around the body. It also beats with a set rhythm, which again is a sign all is well. The heart is a clever organ because if it encounters increased demand, such as the muscles need more oxygen because of exercise, it beats more quickly to match this need. Similarly, if each heartbeat is less efficient (say, because of a leaky heart valve) the heart compensates by increasing the number of beats per minute. In other words, the heart is there to serve and will change how it beats in order to keep the circulation steady. Which is why getting a true impression of the heart rate when the pet is resting is so important. When asleep, the body is literally in a resting state and places a low demand on the heart. Thus, a racing heart is an important indicator that something isn’t right. This is especially important for pets diagnosed with heart disease. Recognizing a change in resting heart rate is a valuable early warning sign that a treatment review is needed. Many owners rely on their vet taking the dog’s pulse during a check-up consultation, but white coat syndrome can make this tricky – at best! The ideal time to monitor the dog’s heart is when he’s asleep, which is where a PetPace collar comes into its own. Used in many veterinary clinics and hospitals, but also available to use at home, this collar monitors the dog’s vital signs such as heart rate, breaths per minute, body temperature, and activity level. This allows you to check for trends at home and call the vet if you spot a change. Likewise, if this responsibility is outside your comfort zone, then why not share the data with your vet for the ultimate in fine-tuning your pet’s meds?