If you have a puppy at home, you’d know how hard it is to leave them alone. Looking so cute and adorable, we can’t help but carry them in our arms and drown them in cuddles. Unfortunately for us, puppies seem to prefer to sleep most of the day. This makes new puppy parents wonder – how much do puppies sleep?
Like human babies, these little bundles of fur require LOTS of sleep. But how much is too much, and how much is too little?
Just keep on reading, and you’ll get all the answers you seek. Besides that, you’ll also learn a thing or two about what a puppy's sleep schedule looks like and how you can help your pup get enough Zs.
Sleep & Why It Is So Important To Puppies
Adult dogs often spend 12 hours or 50% of their time sleeping and taking naps. Young puppies, on the one hand, need more sleep. This is because their little bodies are developing and have to go through a lot of changes in a short span of time.
So why does your new pup require so much sleep? In what way do frequent naps and sleep help your puppy grow into a healthy pooch and improve its well-being?
Besides prepping your dog for the next playtime, sleeping also does the following:
A healthy puppy is often full of energy. However, that energy doesn’t only come from the dog food your puppy eats. Nap time and sleep play a crucial role in reducing your puppy’s energy demand so that it can be used for various bodily processes, including bone and muscle development.
Promotes Normal Development Of The Central Nervous System
Puppies that get a good night’s sleep and ample nap times during the day can process new information better. They’re also happier and can focus better. This is because it’s during sleep when the millions of brain synapses of neural connections are formed.
Aside from the formation of neural connections, toxins that are accumulated when your puppy is awake are removed during sleep. This helps boost your puppy’s mental health, resulting in cognitive stability.
Encourages Immune System Development
Puppies are born with an immature immune system. While it does its job to protect very young puppies from pathogens, it’s not enough. Enter: sleep.
Sleeping helps puppies build up their immune system, which in turn, bolsters your puppy’s capacity to fight off diseases and infection.
How Much Do Puppies Sleep?
Now that you know how important sleep and nap times are for puppies, you better let your puppy sleep whenever they want to. After all, sleep is essential for their growth and development. Those 30 minutes to 2-hour naps result in healthy puppies. The question is, how much sleep do puppies need?
New dog owners often make the mistake of interrupting their dogs’ sleep thinking that they’re having too much. But truth be told, your puppies getting too many Zs should be the least of your worries.
According to the American Kennel Club, most puppies sleep 18-20 hours a day. This often consists of naps that last from 30 minutes to two hours.
So if your puppy seems to nap 20 times a day, don’t worry and just let them be. That’s perfectly normal. Large dog breeds will most especially require long periods of sleep, given their size.
How To Tell If Your Puppy Is Getting Enough Sleep
If there is anything pet parents need to worry about, it’s your puppy not getting enough daytime napping or a couple of two-hour naps each day.
Similar to humans, sleep deprivation in dogs results in serious health problems. So instead of stressing about how long your puppy sleeps in a day, you’d want to check the following:
- Activity level
- Mood or behavior
If your once cheerful pup seems grumpy, aloof, and aggressive, your dog may be lacking sleep. Now consider it a red flag if your puppy is not eating as normal and shows a decline in activity levels (in between naps). When this happens, contact your vet right away.
Do Puppies Sleep Through The Night?
And like humans, dogs also have an internal clock telling them when it's sleeping time and when they need to wake up. However, unlike older dogs, very young puppies often fail to take heed to what their body is telling them.
Adult dogs usually sleep longer at night and take short naps during the day. Puppies, on the other hand, tend to take frequent and longer naps during the day and less at night. So even if they need at least 6-10 hours of nighttime sleep, they only learn to sleep through the night when they’re around 16 weeks old.
Establishing A Puppy Sleep Schedule
Worried that your new puppy will keep you up all night for good? Don’t be.
You can speed up the process and teach your dog good sleeping habits with early training. You should note, however, that training your impressionable puppy to follow a bedtime routine (something that would sync with yours) involves days or weeks or interrupted snooze on your part.
Hang in there, though. It will all be worth it. You’ll soon get your goodnight sleep and your puppy will soon turn on a new leaf and get rid of its bad habits.
Wondering what a puppy’s sleep schedule might look like? According to AKC, it would look like this:
- Potty break as soon as your puppy wakes
- 30 to 1-hour walk, playtime, or socializing
- 30 to two hours of nap time
- Potty break
- Bathroom break
- 1-hr playtime
- Potty break
- Nap time
- Socializing and playtime with family members
- Afternoon nap
- Potty break
- Dinner time
- Potty break
- Sleep time
As you can see, this daily routine includes giving your dog potty breaks before and after nap and meal times. Why?
That’s because most puppies tend to wake up in the wee hours of the morning or night to relieve themselves. Including potty training in your pup’s schedule is a must to help your dog develop good sleep habits.
Tips On How To Help Your Puppy Fall Asleep
Excited to explore its surroundings and get to know its human family members, your puppy will surely have a hard time falling asleep. Given your dog’s need for more sleep, is there a way to help your pup fall asleep and sleep longer?
The answer is yes. Here are some of the things you can do to help your puppy sleep tight.
Prepare Your Puppy’s Sleeping Area
If you want your puppy to sleep soundly, make sure that your pup’s sleeping area is sleep conducive.
Consider putting the dog bed or your puppy’s crate in a spot that’s dim, quiet, and distraction-free. If possible, you might want to opt to put it somewhere close to you. Since your pup has recently been detached from its pack, your puppy will be longing for some company.
Lastly, as hard as it is, you also need to resist the temptation to cuddle your puppy to sleep. Doing this will not help your dog become independent. Instead of cuddling your pup to sleep, it's a good idea to leave your puppy alone.
Get Your Dog Ready For Nap Time
Besides preparing your dog’s sleeping environment, you’d also need to get your dog ready for bed.
Playing with them or taking them out for walks (without overtiring them) a few hours before sleeping will help. You’d also want to take them out for bathroom breaks and restrict your dog’s water and food consumption before bedtime.
Stick To A Routine
Ideally, you would want your dog to nap during times when you also need to snooze. If you want this to happen, you need to stick to a routine.
Since puppies thrive on structure, establishing a schedule and sticking to it as much as possible will help your dog adjust to your day-to-day routine.
Consider Crate Training
Some might think this is cruel, but putting your dog in a crate for a short period has its benefits, and AKC backs this up
Besides discouraging unfortunate behavior and keeping your dog out of trouble, the crate serves as a safe, quiet place for your puppy to relax. And since most dogs like to keep their space tidy, putting your puppy in a crate will help them learn to control their bowel and bladder.
You might want to make the crate look homier by adding some clean blankets. As a final touch, consider rewarding your puppy with a treat whenever it enters the crate without complaints. This way, your dog will associate the crate with something positive.
Keep your puppy healthy and avoid unwanted vet bills by letting your puppy snooze as much as they want. Remember, puppies require at least 18 to 20 hours of Zzzs.
Don’t worry, though, because in a few months you’ll get a chance to play with them for longer. Right now, they need to get all the Zzzs they need to develop and grow into a healthy, strong, and happy pooch.
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