- While puppies are often thought of as little energetic balls of fur, they spend a large portion of their young days asleep.
- Because their bodies are still growing and developing, they need significantly more rest than an adult dog in order to function properly.
- How much sleep they need depends on their age. Up to 10 weeks, puppies should sleep an average of 20 hours per day. That number gradually decreases over the next few weeks of their lives, with 16-18 week pups sleeping about 14 hours a day.
- Ensuring that your puppy is getting adequate sleep is vital to their health and development. If your puppy isn’t sleeping enough, you should try to give them more stimulation during the day or schedule an appointment with their vet.
Are you a new dog owner? Then you probably have a million questions on how to raise your pup the right way, especially if you have never done this before. Do not hate yourself for not preparing everything ahead of time or not knowing what to do. That is normal. Doing proper research and learning is part of the experience of raising and training your dog.
One thing you may notice is that your new puppy sleeps a lot. That may lead to some concern over their sleeping habits in general. How much do they sleep? How much sleep do they need? What is healthy? What is normal? What happens if they aren’t sleeping enough? All these things will play around in your head and make you wonder what you should do next.
Why Puppies Need Sleep
The first thing you have to understand is why your puppy sleeps a lot in the first place. They need more hours of sleep as compared to an adult dog. The main reason is that their bodies need to grow and have little time to do it.
Brain development happens the most as your little dog sleeps. That is when they can process all the information they gathered when they were awake. Their little brains also take the time to clean themselves from toxins and other waste materials. That helps the overall development of the brain too. You will notice your puppy focuses better after a good rest.
Sleeping a lot is a way for your puppy to conserve energy. Their tiny bodies have a finite amount stored. Their unflappable energy that fuels their activities and curiosity needs to come from somewhere, and naptime is the best place to start. The energy gathered is also used in developing their bones, muscles, and other parts of the body.
The immune system is an important part of any living being. It is responsible for keeping the body healthy and keeping harmful things out. A strong immune system means a healthy puppy. If you want to keep it that way, your little one needs enough rest to develop this to keep illness away.
Sleep plays a big role in the overall development of your puppy. From the mind to the body and everything in between, puppies benefit from naptime.
But while sleeping is required, there is a limit to what is healthy. As the saying goes, anything in excess is bad for the body. The same goes with sleep and your puppy.
How Much Should My Puppy Sleep?
A newborn dog is usually dependent on its mom. They come into the world essentially without their senses and have little control over their body. To develop their bodies, a newborn puppy sleeps for almost the entire day.
As they grow, puppies will need less sleep and more time to explore their surroundings. Different factors affect how much they should sleep from here on, like their diet, breed, and activity. Here is a general guide that should be a good start for anyone:
- An eight- to ten-week-old puppy needs 20 hours of sleep a day.
- A puppy 10 to 12 weeks old needs somewhere around 18 to 20 hours of sleep.
- Puppies 14 to 16 weeks old will require 18 hours of sleep every day.
- 16- to 18-week-old puppies are at a crucial time in their lives. They need to learn their routines and get proper training. Pups at this age tend to socialize more too. With that, they need about 14 hours of sleep to fuel all that activity.
All that sleep is done throughout the day. Your little furry baby will not sleep hours on end. Instead, they will tend to take naps throughout the day, lasting anywhere between 30 to 120 minutes. Younger puppies will sleep more frequently. That number should go down as they get older naturally.
Sample Sleeping Schedule
Here is an example of a sleeping schedule for your puppy:
- Take a potty break after waking up.
- Play for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Eat breakfast.
- Let them rest for 30 minutes.
- Go out for another potty break.
- A potty break after waking up from a nap.
- No meal during this time.
- Wake up and go for a long walk or extended playtime. Do a potty break before playtime.
- Eat lunch.
- Process the food for 30 minutes.
- Potty break.
- A potty break after waking up from a nap.
- Do a training session.
- Potty break.
- Eat dinner.
- Quiet time before going to bed to give time to relax
- Bedtime routine
Can My Puppy Sleep Through the Night?
Dogs naturally have polyphasic sleeping patterns. That means they get their rest throughout the day, unlike humans who sleep straight hours during the night. As they get older, they start to sleep more at night than napping during the day.
For this to happen properly, training is involved. The best way to do so is to keep them comfortable.
Imagine waking up one day in a strange environment without anyone you know. It is stressful and uncomfortable. Your puppy feels the same way. For him to become comfortable enough to sleep through the night, you need to make your puppy feel it.
One way to do this is through crate training. That involves giving your puppy a crate that will be a safe and consistent environment for sleep. Put a comfortable dog bed inside with a nice blanket. Give your puppy a dog treat as a reward for staying still or sleeping well. As an added benefit, keeping your dog in a crate means he won’t break anything during the night.
Sleeping in a crate can eventually help with potty training too. As puppies, they will not have good bladder control. That keeps things contained and can get them used to doing their business in a single place.
Remember that each puppy is different. They have personalities and are unique from one another. Be patient and get to know your little one to help with developing proper sleeping patterns.
Establishing a Sleeping Schedule
You can help establish a sleeping schedule for your puppy by:
- Making sure they have a familiar environment to sleep in. Pick a place where they can easily see you so that they can get comfortable. If it is somewhere unfamiliar, they can get scared of it.
- Feeding your puppy well. Avoid giving junk food. Like humans, they need proper nutrients to be healthy. Feeding them good dog food helps with developing good sleeping patterns.
- Giving them hydration and potty breaks. That can mean letting them out at certain points during the night to allow them to pee.
- Developing a routine. This is very important, especially when they are 16 to 18 weeks old. Do the same things towards getting into bed. For example, have them pee outside, then drink some water, and then you can get in the room, prepare and go to bed. These will trigger a routine for your pup.
Is Your Puppy Sleeping Too Much?
While it is uncommon, your puppy may, in fact, sleep too much. If they look happy, eat well, and are energetic, that most likely means your pup is healthy and sleeping well. They will not exhibit those behaviors if they lack rest.
However, if you notice that your puppy is sleeping a lot and still seems tired, you should consult your vet. That could be a sign of an underlying condition or a problem within their environment that is preventing restful sleep.
Why Your Puppy Is Not Sleeping Enough
There are times when you find that your pup is not sleeping enough. That can lead to serious health problems and underdevelopment. Signs to watch out for regarding sleep deprivation include:
- A generally grumpy mood or not wanting to interact with you.
- Low appetite or barely eating anything, even treats.
- They are not very active.
- Developing aggressive behavior.
- Uncontrollable bursts of energy like being overly excited or barking a lot.
If you feel like your puppy is suffering from sleep deprivation, you need to go to the vet immediately to rule out any health problems. It is best to find any problem early on and treat it rather than wait.
Another huge problem when it comes to sleep deprivation is teething. Your puppy can get very uncomfortable when dealing with a growing tooth. You know this is happening because they start to chew at anything. The feeling of wanting to bite at anything can prevent them from getting good sleep.
Some things that can help you deal with teething include:
- A chew toy for your puppy.
- Dental treats made for pups.
- Giving them frozen fruit treats.
Sleeping a lot is a normal routine for most puppies. They need this to develop and get the energy for the activities ahead. As long as they eat well and are happy, there should be nothing to worry about.
The next time you want to wake them up for playtime or cuddle, try to resist the urge. Let them rest. You have an entire lifetime ahead to play and share attention. You do not want to rush this.
Get them into a proper routine of sleep. Feed your puppy well. And avoid unnecessary things to wake them during naptime. That will contribute to a long and healthy life for your pet.
If you are worried about anything, you can always visit the vet. You should have regularly scheduled appointments anyway. That allows you to find anything wrong even before a problem develops. You and your puppy will be thankful for the proactive support.
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