Getting a new puppy is so exciting! ALL of that cuteness, plus YOU get to be there as he explores the world and learns so many new things. But all of that exploring can tire a pup out! Just like with human babies, puppies need a lot of rest in the first weeks and months of life… and we mean a LOT! Puppies are growing and developing during those periods of rest. Let’s discover how many hours does a puppy sleep?
Puppies can sleep up to 20 hours per day. Sleep is critical to a puppy’s physical, mental, and physiological development. As they get older, the amount of daily sleep will decrease, but be prepared for a lot of “down time” early on.
If you aren’t sure what to expect from your puppy’s sleeping habits, then you’ve come to the right place. This article will be a deep dive into facts about your puppy’s sleeping habits, the importance of sleep for their growth, and how to ensure your puppy gets enough sleep.
Puppies & Sleep: The Facts
Puppies should sleep between 18 and 20 hours per day, which might seems quite a lot of sleep to us humans, but don’t worry, a lot of sleep is perfectly normal for your pup. They require tons of sleep in the first weeks and months of their life because it facilitates crucial developmental milestones. Even though it sometimes seems like they’re a ball of energy that will never settle down, your puppy just needs to get his energy out before he drifts off again.
The Importance of Sleep
Just like in humans, so many important things are happening when puppies sleep. You may have noticed that puppies seem to grow rather quickly, which is directly related to their long hours of sleep. Sleep also aids in brain and immune system development, muscle growth, and central nervous system development.
During sleep, your puppy’s memory is imprinting all of the things he learned throughout the day. For example, if you’re trying to train your pup to sit and stay, those commands will take longer and be much harder to learn without proper sleep. He’s also solidifying other things he learned throughout the day, such as smells, people, routines, and so much more.
Ensuring Your Puppy Gets Enough Sleep
For some pet owners, a puppy’s sleep schedule might not be a concern. However, if you find that your puppy isn’t getting enough sleep, then continue reading to learn about a few ways to guarantee a slumber for your pup.
- Ensure your puppy has a safe, comfortable, and quiet place to sleep. For a lot of dogs, their safe space is a crate, which is a great option. Their safe space might be a bed in the living room where their owner watches TV or reads for other dogs. Whatever the case, just make sure your dog can get uninterrupted sleep in a warm, comfortable bed. Encouraging your dog to sleep in his bed will help with his sleep quality.
- Develop a consistent schedule. Sticking to a schedule can be challenging for new pet owners, especially if you already have a hectic life. However, it’s worth the extra effort to have a well-adjusted and happy dog. Puppies don’t respond well to chaotic environments, and a consistent daily schedule helps with that. I’ll talk more about developing a schedule later on in this article.
- Create a bedtime routine. Just like babies, puppies benefit greatly from having a bedtime routine. For many pet owners, this might entail a short walk after dinner to use the bathroom followed by a treat and then bedtime. Choose what works best for you, but ensure you stick to it, even when it’s hard.
- Be patient with your puppy. You should expect to experience a few bumps along the way. Puppies are hard work. For example, your puppy might not always want to sleep when tired, which may be frustrating. As a young dog, there’s so much to smell and explore that sleeping is the last thing he wants to do. There will be times that he doesn’t sleep through the night, but your patience and understanding will go a long way.
- Don’t wake a sleeping puppy. As hard as it can be, this rule is essential to follow because we want to play with puppies so badly sometimes. However, waking a sleeping puppy can interrupt all of the critical processes that happen while he sleeps. It’s best to allow him to wake naturally and play with him then. This can be hard to explain to children, but they must learn to be patient with a sleeping puppy.
- Don’t ignore the warning signs. There’s such a thing as too much sleep for a puppy. If he’s sleeping more than twenty hours per day, you should consider checking in with your vet. I want to emphasize this even more: if your puppy seems lethargic or exhausted even while he’s awake, call the vet! This could be from a lack of proper nutrition, dehydration, or any number of potential factors.
- Don’t overstimulate your puppy. Some pet owners might be tempted to wear out their puppy and tire him out. While exercise and stimulation are also crucial to a dog’s development, it’s critical to pay attention to its natural circadian rhythm. Don’t try to play with your dog as he’s trying to fall asleep.
Setting a Sleep Schedule
The first few weeks your puppy is home with you are vital to establishing good future behaviors. With so many new experiences, people, and smells, your puppy will be grateful that he knows what to expect from you and your home. Setting a schedule early on in your relationship with your puppy will make the transition easier for both of you.
There are four important components to a puppy’s day that should be relatively well scheduled. They’re sleep, play, meal times, and bathroom breaks.
Here’s an example of what a puppy’s schedule might look like:
Puppies should go to the bathroom first thing in the morning. Then, they can eat breakfast and then go to the bathroom again. While somewhat annoying and tedious, remember that puppies commonly have to go to the bathroom after eating. Take your puppy for a quick walk or spend some time playing with him before you go to work. He’ll likely spend most of the rest of the morning snoozing in his crate.
When you return home from work at lunchtime, you can repeat most of your morning schedule components, although some puppies might not eat lunch. Take your dog for a short walk, or allow him to play some fetch before putting him back in his kennel.
When you get home for the evening, your pup will have to go to the bathroom again. Let him out, feed him dinner, and then take him on a walk. He should also get another bathroom break right before bed to prevent nighttime accidents. When it’s bedtime, take him to his crate and make sure the room is dimmed and quiet.
Setting routines isn’t easy, and they won’t look the same for everyone. The most important thing is that your dog is getting exercise, sleep, food, and bathroom breaks at similar times throughout the day.
Getting a puppy is an exhilarating experience, as they’re the most playful and lovable creatures on the planet. As a new pet owner, I’m sure you want to do your best to ensure your puppy is happy and healthy, and one of the best ways to do that is to ensure he’s getting the proper amount of sleep.
Today, we answered how many hours does a puppy sleep? You might feel like 18 to 20 hours of sleep is a lot for a puppy, but rest assured that is a perfectly normal amount of sleep for these little guys. To ensure the best sleeping environment, make your puppy have a safe, quiet, and comfortable place to sleep, develop a bedtime routine, and most importantly, be patient.