We tend to think of puppies as having boundless energy and remaining excitable all day long. As such, it can be confusing when your little furry friend suddenly falls asleep – sometimes mid-dash.
Any responsible pet owner would be shocked by this, and wonder exactly how much should a puppy sleep. Aiming to shed some light on puppy sleeping habits, James Wellbeloved looks at everything needed for a successful puppy bedtime.
HOW MUCH DO PUPPIES SLEEP – AND WHY?
Like human babies, puppies spend a good deal of time sleeping. Sleep is a vital part of your puppy’s routine, helping them stay happy and healthy. Newborn puppies can sleep up to 22 hours a day, but as they mature, this will go down to anywhere between 15 and 20 hours (at three months old). It may seem like a lot, but don’t worry, your furry sleepyhead needs this precious time to recharge their energy levels and get ready for the next spell of playtime.
During the day, your puppy is likely to sleep a lot – and that’s OK. They are likely to take a nap after being active for some time, then wake up feeling refreshed and ready to play again. These naps can last anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours, so make sure you’re patient. The secret to a happy puppy is not to move them once fast asleep. As long as they’re not in the way, give them the rest their energetic lifestyles require.
IS YOUR PUPPY SLEEPING TOO MUCH?
As mentioned above, puppies need ample sleep to support their dynamic lifestyle. However, you may notice changes in your puppy’s sleep habits brought on by certain environmental factors, such as:
- Increases in play – any extra exercise will mean your puppy needs additional time to replenish their energy levels
- Hot weather – check for signs of heat exhaustion, particularly during summertime, including lethargy, excessive drooling and vomiting
- New pets in the house – any animal friends for your puppy to play with may cause them to adjust their sleep schedule somewhat
- Changes to their schedule – disruption to your puppy’s routine may throw their sleep pattern out of sync
If you feel that your puppy is sleeping more than usual and notice additional changes to their personality, contact a vet straight away to determine the route of the problem.
WHERE SHOULD A PUPPY SLEEP AT NIGHT?
A big part of puppy training is getting them used to having their own space for sleep. This means not only encouraging them to rest at night but also to relax somewhere specifically for this purpose. Puppy owners may choose to undertake crate training, or simply buy a dog bed. Whatever suits your lifestyle, it’s important that your puppy has a dedicated sleep area that’s exclusively theirs.
Some people let their dogs sleep in bed with them at night; however, given your puppy’s size and young age, it’s probably best to hold out on this for a few years. Instead, allocate them enough space to settle and feel at home – with everything they need for a comfortable night’s rest.
HOW TO HELP YOUR PUPPY SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT
Even though your puppy’s sleep schedule won’t necessarily match yours, especially if they’re very young, there are still plenty of things you can do to help both of you get as much sleep as possible during the night. These include:
- Create a safe space for them to sleep – a crate or dog bed is usually the best option, and you should guide them to it at bedtime until they become familiar with this new part of their routine
- Keep the area quiet – talking, TV, or other loud background noises may make your puppy restless, which is the last thing you need when you want them to sleep
- Burn off any excess energy before bed – dog toys, food puzzles, and a longer evening walk could be the extra stimulation your pup needs to drift off easily later
- Ensure adequate hydration – puppies should have access to water at all times, so leave a small amount with them overnight in case they get thirsty
- Be patient – remember, your puppy has no idea what sleep routine you follow; it’s your job as their owner to teach them, and remain calm as they learn the house rules
- Try not to go to your puppy if they start whining/barking at night – this will just encourage them to do it more; however, your new puppy needing the toilet in the night might be a cause of some whining, so ensure you know how to toilet train your puppy
If you need a little extra guidance on how to help your puppy sleep through the night, get in touch with a vet and see what they recommend.
No two puppies are ever the same, meaning that some will have different sleep needs to others. If you’re worried about how much your puppy is sleeping, you can always ask a vet for their professional opinion.