How much sleep does a puppy need?

How much sleep does a puppy need?

Posted by PetDirect on 14th Jul 2022

Running around chasing their tail, tumbling across the living room floor with their favourite toy, and enjoying zoomies in the garden - puppies are known to be little furry bundles of energy. They do need sleep though and lots of it. It’s just that they’re not always great at it. You can easily spot a new pup parent thanks to their yawns - puppies, like babies, need to learn how to sleep through the night!

Here’s everything you need to know about your puppy’s sleep.

Hours of sleep for a puppy

Dogs of all ages sleep more than humans so it’s normal for an adult dog to clock up somewhere between 10 to 12 hours of snoozing each day. A young, growing puppy needs even more sleep. On average, a puppy sleeps 16 to 18 hours a day, and sometimes more.

Why do puppies sleep so much?

It’s hard work being a puppy. It’s while they’re sleeping that their bodies are working hard, growing and developing their brain and central nervous system. Sleep also helps your puppy’s muscles and bones to strengthen and tone. It’s essential to the healthy development of their immune system too. A tired puppy that’s not getting enough sleep is at risk of developing infections and illness.

Plus, they’re likely to be impatient and grumpy (just like us if we miss out on those valuable ZZZs) and could become destructive.

Puppy sleep problems

Even if the amount of sleep your puppy is getting is a bit surprising, it’s very unlikely that your puppy is sleeping too much. There will be times when your puppy seems to sleep even more than usual and that’s normal too. These times are usually when they’re going through growth spurts, when sleep is even more essential than ever - they need the extra downtime to rest.

But when they’re not sleeping, your puppy should be as active, energetic and alert as always. If they’re not, a sleepy puppy with low energy levels could be experiencing anaemia. Anaemia is when your puppy’s body doesn’t make enough red blood cells. It can be quite dangerous for a growing pup. Puppies with fleas can be at a greater risk of anaemia so keep on top of their flea treatments. A good way to check for anaemia is to have a look at your puppy’s gums. If they’re pale, take them to the vet for a check up as soon as possible.

Intestinal parasites can also reduce your puppy’s energy levels (they’re fighting for the same nutrition) so if you’re concerned that your puppy is sleeping too much, visit the vet.

Overtiredness

Like human babies, puppies can be at risk of getting overtired. This is when they’re so exhausted, they start to play up, like chewing, barking, endlessly running in circles, and forgetting their listening ears. Overtiredness happens when a puppy misses the opportunity for some restorative sleep time, usually because they’ve been overstimulated. This can happen when they’ve met new people or pups or when they’ve had a brand new experience, like a visit to somewhere new.

This is why it’s important to make sure you give your puppy plenty of opportunities to sleep - read on for our top sleep tips.

Helping your puppy sleep

Puppies want to explore and play. That’s far more fun than being stuck on their bed, sleeping. However, as their pup parent you can help your puppy get all the sleep they need to support their growth, development and good behaviour. Here’s how.

      • Provide a safe, peaceful sleeping area for your puppy. Households can be busy, noisy places and your puppy wants to make sure they’re always part of it which means they might sacrifice their sleep. For puppies, FOMO is real! By creating a quiet, private spot that’s just for your puppy, you’re giving them a calm space to settle and sleep in, supporting those all-important ZZZs. Crate training is something to consider during their puppy years.
      • Set them up for sleeping success. Wherever they’re sleeping, in their own bed or yours, make sure you follow basic sleep hygiene. Make their sleeping area as dark and quiet as possible to encourage sleep. In the morning, grab their lead take them for a walk so the natural light tells them it’s time to be awake. This will help your puppy learn when it’s sleep time and when it’s fun awake time.
      • Be flexible with their routine. Puppies thrive on predictability and although you don’t have to schedule your life around their nap times, it’s good to stick to daily routines where possible. If you make changes, like taking your puppy to a vet appointment that happens during their usual nap time, adjust their routine so they have an opportunity to rest for longer afterwards. Read more about importance of schedules for puppies.
      • Tire them out. Give your puppy plenty of opportunities to play and burn off their energy during the day, which will help them sleep. Stock up on toys and interactive games, play fetch or tug of war, and take them on regular walks. If you’re not at home during the day, rope in a dog sitter who can entertain them for a bit.
      • Ensure toilet time doesn’t interfere with sleep time. Puppies must always have access to fresh, clean water but it’s a good idea to not let them slurp the whole bowl just before bedtime.
      • Remind yourself this won’t last forever! All puppies wake up during the night but this phase will pass. Be patient and make sure you’ve supported your puppy to sleep as much as they can: fun-filled busy days with plenty of opportunities to rest; the chance to go to the toilet before bedtime; and a comfy bed. Oh, and maybe stock up on some coffee too.

Hopefully you’re feeling much more knowledgeable about your puppy’s sleep now. If you need any further help or have a question we haven’t answered, contact our friendly Pet Direct Customer Care team on 0800 200 240 or email support@petdirect.co.nz.

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