AKC is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to akc.org. If you purchase a product through this article, we may receive a portion of the sale.
Puppies are little bundles of energy, and you may have asked, “How much do puppies sleep?” In fact, they usually sleep from 18 to 20 hours a day. Sleep is essential to healthy growth, contributing to the necessary development of the central nervous system, brain, immune system, and muscles. All of that sleep also helps them rest up during growth spurts.
When they’re awake, puppies burn a lot of energy – growing physically, experiencing new people and places, learning what they can and can’t do. Because the world is such an exciting, stimulating place, they won’t always pay attention to an internal clock telling them it’s time to rest. You can help by following a few simple guidelines for daytime naps and nightly bedtimes.
Tips to Help Your Puppy Sleep During the Day
Leave your puppy alone when they’re sleeping. It is hard to resist cuddling your dog and letting them fall asleep in your lap, but you don’t want them to be dependent on you to fall asleep. Keep an eye on your dog because when they wake up, they’ll need to be taken outside.
It’s also important to show your puppy where to sleep. If your pet seems drowsy, encourage them to nap in a safe place, such as a crate, a dog bed, or a quiet place in the house where they can nap undisturbed. It may take time for them to get the idea, but eventually they’ll recognize that spot as the place for sleep.
Schedules are important for puppies. Plan the day so that active time is followed by quiet time for sleep. They’ll most likely be ready for a nap after playtime or a walk. Your puppy may nap every hour or so, sleeping from 30 minutes to as long as two hours. All of this sleep is perfectly normal.
Recognize when your puppy is overly tired. No matter how much fun you’re having, don’t let them get too tired. Too much stimulation and exhaustion can lead to unfortunate behavior. Guide them to their crate or sleeping place and encourage them to wind down.
Tips to Help Your Puppy Sleep at Night
Make their crate an appealing place to be. Don’t buy an expensive dog bed for a new pup, because they’re likely to chew it up. Line the bottom of the crate with a soft, felted, inexpensive blanket or two. Beware of wool blankets or mats that can be chewed apart into long strings that cause choking.
If you can, bring home a soft toy or baby blanket that smells like the pup’s mom and keep that in the crate. Many owners place the puppy’s crate in their bedroom, so they can feel that their family is close by.
Establish a bedtime routine. By giving the puppy a routine right from the start, you’ll teach them that nighttime is for sleeping, and you both will get a better night’s sleep. Restrict the pup’s intake of food and water for several hours before bedtime. Play, cuddle, and take them outside to potty before bedtime.
Keep their sleep area quiet and dim. If you watch TV in bed, keep the volume down and the light low. You may even want to use blackout shades if the room gets early morning light. The quiet and dark will be the puppy’s cue that it’s time for sleep. If your crate is made of wire, you can put a crate cover over the top of it to make it darker and more den-like.
During the day, make sure your puppy has had a chance to go to the bathroom and has plenty of physical and mental exercise. Teach them to love getting into the crate by rewarding them with a treat. While they’re learning the routine, be prepared for some whining, barking, or howling before they settle in for the night.
Be prepared for interruptions. Just like human babies, puppies sometimes are not yet ready to sleep through the night. Your puppy may need a potty break during the night. If they’re sleeping in a crate in your bedroom, you’ll be able to respond if they need to go out. Calmly carry them outside, praise them quietly when they go, and put them right back in the crate for sleeping.
Your Puppy’s Sleep Schedule
Puppies thrive on routine and structure. Along with a feeding routine and house training routine, a sleep schedule will help you and your puppy adjust to living together. This sample schedule should help you on your way to establishing a good routine for canine and human family members.
Morning Puppy Schedule
- In the morning when the puppy wakes up, quickly take them outside to go potty.
- Feed them breakfast.
- Puppies usually need to relieve themselves after eating, so give them another potty break.
- Spend 30-60 minutes playing, socializing, and taking a walk.
- It’s time for a nap. Your pet may sleep from 30 minutes to two hours.
- Give them another potty break as soon as they wake up.
- Feed them lunch.
Afternoon Puppy Schedule
- After lunch, give them a potty break.
- For up to one hour, play with them and allow them to explore.
- It’s time for another nap.
- Take them outside for a bathroom break when they wake up.
- And then it’s playtime again.
- Chances are pretty good they’ll settle in for a nap after they play.
- It’s time for another potty break.
Evening Puppy Schedule
- Feed your pup dinner before you sit down, or give them a stuffed chew toy to enjoy in the crate while you eat.
- After dinner, take a walk.
- Let them spend time playing and interacting with family members.
- Give them a quick bathroom trip before bed, then settle them down in their crate for nighttime sleep.
Don’t let the idea of a schedule overwhelm you. It may seem like a lot of work, but you’ll be rewarded with a happy, well-adjusted dog and you will come to enjoy the routine, too. This is a wonderful time for developing the bond and love that will last a lifetime.