Of all things!

If you’re a dog lover, you know the unbridled joy and all-consuming excitement a dog can show us. It’s innocent and beautiful, and it’s one of the best things about canine companions. Sometimes our pets get so excited that they can’t control themselves. You expect your dog to overheat, jump inappropriately, and maybe even a pee a little bit when he gets too excited. What you’re probably not expecting is to see him collapse into a deep sleep when you get out the treats or welcome a visitor.

It turns out, dogs can be narcoleptic.

It’s a real thing. There are videos. More importantly, there are legitimate, peer-reviewed scientific studies proving dogs can have narcolepsy and cataplexy. Narcolepsy usually shows up as excessive sleepiness that sometimes causes a person (or pet) to fall asleep involuntarily. The symptoms can be harder to spot and can look like other illnesses. Cataplexy, on the other hand, is more dramatic. Cataplexy can cause loss of muscle control and sudden collapse in response to emotion or laughter. It can be terrifying to see your faithful friend falling dead asleep when he seems fully awake and alert, but he’s not doomed to a mediocre, halfway-awake existence. If your pup is missing out on the joys of life due to spontaneous sleep, these problems are treatable.

A Human Problem

YouTube has given people everywhere access to ideas and experiences they never thought possible. This brave video of a woman suffering a bout of cataplexy has gone viral, building widespread awareness of confounding sleep disorders. Most of us think of narcolepsy as a rather mild disorder in which people doze off now and again. By showing the world the additional impact of cataplexy, this YouTuber has made clear the severity of these conditions and the impact they can have.

In Dogs…

For decades, Stanford University has been studying uniquely afflicted dogs to find out more about the science of sleep. The institution has measured cataplectic attacks using dogs’ greatest motivation – food. To determine the severity of a canine condition, researchers give a dog a trail of food. In response to the excitement, the dog is likely to have a cataplectic attack. The longer it takes the dog to eat all the food, and the more struggles he has, the more severe his cataplexy. Given the living situations of most dogs in this country, canine cataplexy is more likely to be a minor affliction than a life-threatening condition. But can you imagine owning a narcoleptic dog before this science emerged?

Who Needs a New Bed?

Since you love your dog enough to research his sleep disorders, we know you care about his quality of life. If you’ve been putting off getting your pup a proper bed, here’s your friendly reminder. It’s not likely that his mattress is keeping your dog up at night, but it could contribute to the quality of all the rest he does get. There are a million options out there, but we stick with one seriously dog-specific recommendation: Sealy’s Plush Dog Beds. We ship nationwide, and if you find them anywhere for less, we’ll match the best-advertised price. Get your pet a perfect place to plop down – according to schedule or spontaneously!

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