Puppies are commonly thought of as roly-poly balls of energy—so you might be surprised at how much time your new puppy spends napping. So, how much sleep do puppies need, and is your dog's sleep schedule normal?
How Much Sleep Do Puppies Need?
Dogs of all ages sleep more than us humans (lucky dogs, indeed), and puppies sleep more than adult dogs. The average number of hours of sleep puppies need each day is 16 to 18 — or even more.
Newborn - 8 weeks
Around 22 hours per day
8 weeks - 20 weeks
Around 18-20 hours per day
Gradually reducing to around 13-15 hours per day
That's right—dogs, and puppies especially, spend the majority of their lives snoozing away. In general, the younger the pup, the more sleep they need. (Can you believe newborn puppies spend 90% of their days sleeping?) So even if it seems like your puppy is sleeping too much, they're probably right on track. It's totally OK if your puppy naps throughout the day—in fact, daytime napping is the only way they will get the rest they need!
Why So Much Sleep?
While your puppy's mind is off in dreamland, their body is hard at work. Development of their brain and central nervous system is dependent upon these precious ZZZs. Time spent snoozing tones and strengthens your young puppy’s muscles and bones, and sleep even keeps their immune system functioning at its best. Sleep deprivation has the opposite effect; without enough sleep, your puppy will become cranky, destructive, and at risk for infections and illness. So go ahead and let your puppy sleep as much as they want!
Is Your Puppy Sleeping Too Much?
There are expected periods during a healthy puppy’s life in which it's normal for them to need extra sleep—during growth spurts, for example. But there are instances in which too much sleep can indicate a health issue, including:
- Anemia, a condition in which the body doesn't have enough red blood cells
- Intestinal parasites, such as hookworms or roundworms
Look for symptoms like pale gums (anemia) or diarrhea and vomiting (parasites), and contact your vet if you are concerned about your puppy's sleep habits.
How to Help Your Puppy Sleep
If you've ever raised a puppy, you've been there: After a long, exciting day, you bring your puppy home—and they start chewing things they normally shouldn't (emphasis on normally) and being unruly with you. This classic pattern indicates that they need a nap.
Just like human babies, puppies can get overtired, especially when their senses are overstimulated. And they don't always know when to go to their dog bed, because their desire to learn trumps their desire to sleep. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to bring on nap time.
1 Make the environment sleep-friendly.
Animals, kids and household noises create an atmosphere that is stimulating and not conducive to puppy sleep. This is the top reason a puppy doesn’t get the sleep they need. The solution? Provide a safe haven for your pup. Whether you choose a dog crate, a dog bed in their own room or your own bed, provide a space for them to fully relax and drift off.
2 Adjust for changes in routine.
Predicting a puppy’s sleep pattern takes some trial and error. If you take your pup out of the house for a new experience, expect them to need an extra quiet rest period to settle down, and to need that rest it sooner than they usually do.
3 Burn off excess energy.
Playtime with you is a great tactic for wiping out your pup. If you aren’t at home during the day, consider dog toys and food puzzles, provide an outdoor view for entertainment or schedule a pet sitter to come over for a play session. Anything that increases their activity level during waking hours is likely to help them drift off when it's time for bed.
4 Manage hydration.
If your puppy is thirsty, go ahead and let them a small drink before bedtime, but try to stop plentiful drinking one hour before bedtime. This gives them time and opportunity to empty their bladder so they can settle in for a long rest. (If you're potty-training, remember to take your puppy out regularly, including every time they wake up.)
5 Adjust the lighting and noise.
If you watch TV or use a tablet in bed with your puppy, consider turning down the brightness and volume to reduce the risk of sleep disruption. Consider blackout shades if their sleeping area gets street light or early morning sun. In the morning, expose your pup to sunshine with a morning walk. These simple cues can help keep your puppy’s sleep schedule on track by signaling when it's time to sleep and when it's time to wake up.
6 Try to have patience.
Puppies wake more at night than adult dogs do, but your pup will soon acclimate to your sleep schedule. An action-packed day, empty bladder and bowels, and cozy bed make the perfect combination for your growing pup to spend the night having sweet dreams.
Do Puppies Sleep Through the Night?
Let's start with the bad news: The younger your puppy is, the less likely it will be that they are able to sleep all the way through the night. A general rule is to translate your puppy's age in months into hours, then expect them to need a potty break at least that often. So, if your puppy is 4 months old, they'll need to eliminate at least once every four hours. Dogs don’t like to soil the areas where they sleep, so if your puppy needs a bathroom break during the night, they will start to fuss and cry to let you know that it's time to go.
Interrupting your own nighttime sleep to take your dog outside isn't ideal, but here's the good news: It doesn't last forever, and there are plenty of steps you can take to maximize the amount of time they do stay asleep until they're able to hold it all night. Get our expert tips on how to get your puppy to sleep through the night.
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