Anyone who has ever had the good fortune of raising puppies knows one thing. They are little eating, pooping, and sleeping machines. Although they can have sudden bouts of energy throughout the day, young puppies sleep up to a whopping 20 hours a day. After all, growing rapidly is hard work!
If you are worried that your pup is sleeping too much, you’re not alone. Many inexperienced or first-time dog parents wonder if their pup is normal, and whether sleeping almost all day indicates a medical or health problem.
In this blog post, we’ll look more closely at the sleep requirements of puppies, and how to help them get their much-needed rest.
How Much Sleep Do Puppies Need?
The amount of sleep a puppy needs depends on the age of the pup. A newborn pup will sleep almost all day, likely waking up only to feed.
As the pup grows, it will be awake for slightly longer periods, but still will remain asleep for most of the day. Puppies up to 12 weeks old can sleep up to 20 hours a day, while puppies 14 to 16 weeks will sleep about 18.
Older puppies above 6 months will need less sleep and will do well with 12 to 14 hours a day, similar to the sleep requirements of an adult dog.
Large breeds tend to need more sleep than smaller ones, as they go through more dramatic growth and need to replenish all the energy expended on growing those large muscles and bones.
Why Do Puppies Need So Much Sleep?
Growing is hard work, and puppies need sleep just like human babies. They are developing at a rapid pace, and all that growth takes a lot of energy. This rapid physical growth requires a lot of rest, so puppies usually sleep 18 to 20 hours a day.
In addition to their physical growth, puppies also go through a lot of mental development during this stage of life. Their brains are working hard to learn new things, and all that learning can be exhausting.
A puppy’s brain development starts before they are even born. While in the womb, their brains are growing and making connections that will continue to grow after they are born. During the first few weeks of life, a puppy’s brain is growing very rapidly.
This is when they are learning to see, hear, smell, and taste. From three to eight weeks old, a puppy’s brain continues to grow and develop. This is when they learn about socialization and start to develop their personality.
Puppies who are not socialized during this time may have difficulty interacting with other dogs and people later in life. After eight weeks old, a puppy’s brain is still growing, but at a slower rate. Puppies who receive proper nutrition, socialization, and stimulation during this time will continue to grow and develop into healthy adult dogs.
It is crucial that a puppy gets enough sleep to give its mind and body time to replenish themselves and wake refreshed, all prepared for more growing!
Signs That Your Puppy Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep
Have you ever had a terrible sleep and woke up grumpy, disoriented, and just plain inefficient? Just like humans, dogs that don’t sleep much are susceptible to all kinds of behavioral and physical consequences.
It’s critical that your pup gets enough sleep, especially during the tender early months of their lives.
Otherwise, your pup could become cranky, restless, and even start to display some concerning behavior. Here are some signs that your puppy isn’t getting enough shut-eye.
1. Always yawning or stretching
2. Lack of appetite
3. General grumpiness or moodiness
4. Low energy levels when awake
5. Withdrawn and quiet during the day
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian. They can help you troubleshoot the problem and come up with a plan to ensure that your puppy gets the rest he or she needs.
How To Help Your Puppy Get Enough Sleep
Dogs are creatures of habit, and it is important to establish certain routines like feeding and bedtimes and stick to them. While some puppies are blessed to be natural-born sleepers, some puppies might fuss or take a while to settle.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure your pup gets enough rest.
Make sure your pup is getting enough exercise during the day so they are tired at night. However, don’t over-exercise your pup. Play games in short, frequent sessions throughout the day instead of one long one, and put your pup down for a nap the moment he looks tired.
Set up a comfortable place for your puppy to sleep – this could be a crate or a bed somewhere in your bedroom. Be warned, having pups sleep in your bed could get them used to sleeping with you, which is a hard habit to break!
Provide Plenty Of Toys
Pups need toys. Plenty of them! Make sure you give them chew toys and dental sticks to keep those teething puppy chompers occupied before they start to zero in on your shoes and furniture to meet their need to chew.
Create A Calming Environment
When it comes close to bedtime, cease all play and keep the lights and noise levels low in preparation for turning in.
Withhold Food And Drink
Avoid feeding them too close to bedtime or they might need to go out for several potty breaks throughout the night.
Young puppies are unlikely to be able to sleep through the night. Their tiny bladders are unable to hold much and they’ll probably wake you up for a potty break in the middle of the night. Don’t worry. By the time they get to about six months old, they should be able to last through the night.
A good night’s sleep is important for everyone, including puppies. Puppies need sleep to help them grow and develop properly. When they are asleep, their bodies are able to heal and repair any damage that has been done during the day.
Additionally, sleep helps to consolidate memories and provides a period of rest for the brain. Without enough sleep, puppies can become irritable and have difficulty concentrating.
Sleep is also essential for a puppy’s immune system. A puppy who isn’t getting enough sleep is more likely to get sick and take longer to recover from illness. So while you should always let sleeping dogs lie, the same can be said for puppies as well!