Adding a puppy to your family is a thrilling time. Each moment with your new pup is filled with wonder and awe; from his sweet, joyous barks to the gentle suckling noises he makes while deep in slumber. Still, though you know puppies sleep a lot, you might be wondering if your puppy is sleeping a little more than is normal. How will I know if my puppy is sleeping too much?
Do Some Puppies Sleep Too Much?
Puppies require a lot of sleep for their bodies and brains to develop properly. Because of this, there really is no set amount of sleep that a puppy should sleep each day.
The amount of sleep a puppy requires will depend on many factors including:
- The age of the puppy
- The puppy’s breed
- The amount of activity the puppy receives each day
- The amount of social interaction the puppy receives
As a general average, baby puppies typically require between 18 and 20 hours of sleep per day. When you compare this to the sleeping habits of adult dogs who slumber for approximately 14 hours per day, you can easily see that a growing puppy’s sleep schedule isn’t overly excessive.
As your puppy ages, he will require less sleep each day, coming closer to the adult 14 hours per day when he is 10-12 months of age. However, since every puppy is an individual, the reduced amount of sleep may come sooner for smaller breed puppies and much later for large and giants.
Why Do Puppies Need So Much Sleep?
At first glance, 18-20 hours per day does seem like an awful lot of sleep, particularly for a young, energetic puppy. That’s nearly an entire day! However, when you consider what goes on in your puppy’s world as he grows each day, it is understandable why the extra zzzz’s are required.
Puppies grow every day, most often incrementally, but sometimes, pups will go through more dramatic growth spurts as well. The simple process of growing is tiring for a little pup, and energy is required to keep his development on track. This energy is replenished while your pup catches up on his zzzz’s.
But it’s not just your puppy’s development that can cause him to feel tired. Every day your puppy is in your home, he is learning something new about his world. From the day you brought your puppy into your house, he had to learn an entirely new environment from what he was raised in. He is exposed to new stimuli, and he is given new toys to play with and enjoy. All of the mental energies that go into these things take a toll on a puppy’s energy levels. Even positive stresses like playing in the backyard and making new friends takes quite a toll on your puppy, causing him to feel quite sleepy.
Though exercise and play time are vital components of every puppy’s life, it is equally as important to be certain your puppy takes regular naps to recharge his batteries and promote optimal growth and development both physically and mentally.
How Can I Help My Puppy Get Sufficient Sleep?
The best thing you can do to ensure your puppy gets sufficient sleep is set a routine and stick to it. Puppies do very well when boundaries are set and regularly adhered to. There are several things you should include in your daily schedule for your puppy.
- Daily meals
- Play sessions
Puppies need to be given potty breaks after meals and after naps. These are the times when a puppy will be looking to go outdoors. If the weather permits, it’s a great idea to add a play session just after potty time outside. Following some playtime, it’s time for your puppy to settle in for another nap. When puppies are very young, they may nap as often as every half hour if they engage in lots of play, social interaction, and activity throughout their day.
Making use of a crate is a great way to help establish a daily routine. Your puppy will quickly come to associate his crate with the place he retreats when he is tired and wanting to nap.
Of course, the majority of your puppy’s sleeping time will take place during the evening when you are also asleep. Because of this, it’s a good idea to ensure your puppy gets adequate play, activity, and social stimulation in his waking hours; otherwise, he may struggle to sleep through the night. It is particularly important to try to keep your puppy from taking his naps during the final hours before you go to bed. Otherwise, you may find your puppy’s barking and his bladder wake you up a few hours before you hope to arise.
When Should I Be Concerned About My Puppy’s Sleeping Habits?
It is never a good idea to wake your puppy if he is sleeping. If your puppy is asleep, he needs the rest, and it’s best to let him enjoy it. However, sometimes, you may encounter a puppy that falls into such a deep sleep that he will not even be awakened when his bladder is full, leading to accidents.
Observing your puppy’s typical behavior is the best way to understand what is “normal” for him. These signs may indicate that your puppy is feeling under the weather and a veterinary visit may be required:
- Lethargic behavior
- Loss of interest in play
- Disengaged from family interactions
If your puppy exhibits any of these signs, it may be a reaction to a recent vaccination. It is quite normal for puppies to feel more tired and to be less active for 24 hours following a booster shot. However, if these signs persist for longer than that, a visit to your vet is required.
There are several hallmarks you should look for to indicate that your puppy is healthy and thriving. A normal puppy should be:
- Cheerful and social
How Does Sleep Help My Puppy?
There are lots of benefits your puppy gains from getting the correct amount of sleep each day. Among these benefits are:
- Regulated appetite
- Helps with proper hormone release to promote optimal development
- Energy to fuel the puppy’s brain and body
- A strong and thriving immune system to protect against disease
How much is too much sleep when it comes to a puppy? The truth is so long as your puppy is happy, active, alert, and playful during his waking hours, he’s likely getting the exact amount of sleep that he needs.