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Whether you’re bringing home your first puppy or you’ve been raising dogs for years, getting a new pet is an exciting time. Of course, while you may want to play with them constantly, your puppy needs a lot of sleep to help them grow. One of the most important things you can do for a new puppy is to establish a routine. Dogs are creatures of habit, and getting them into a daily routine can reduce stress from puppyhood through adulthood.
Creating structure in your new dog’s life will help them understand appropriate behavior, including when it’s time to play versus rest.
Having a set puppy schedule will also make your life a little easier because you can plan everything better to ensure you’re feeding and walking them on a set schedule. Of course, young dogs need tons of sleep, but as they grow older, they’ll sleep less during the day, so you’ll have to tweak your schedule as your dog develops. This article will teach you everything you need to know about setting a puppy sleep schedule for your new family member.
- How Much Sleep Do Puppies Need?
- How To Set A Puppy Schedule For Sleep
- Puppy Sleep Schedule FAQs
- Final Notes
How Much Sleep Do Puppies Need?
Puppies may seem like they have tons of energy, but they actually sleep between 18-20 hours per day.1 You may notice that one minute they’re running around your home, and the next, they’re asleep on the floor next to a pile of toys. Puppies need sleep to develop and grow. However, when they’re awake, they are flooded with energy, which may make it difficult for you to develop a good routine. Luckily, having a puppy schedule will help your dog learn appropriate times for play, sleep, and walks.
How To Set A Puppy Schedule For Sleep
Puppies need a routine to help them learn certain behaviors and keep them feeling confident that they know what will happen next in their day to reduce anxiety. Young dogs sleep for many hours, but not all at once. Your puppy may be playful for 10 minutes and then asleep for the next hour, depending on what’s going on in their environment. You should plan for your puppy to have quiet times throughout the day that allow them to nap undisturbed. You can also set a specific puppy bedtime to help them learn when to start winding down for the night. Here are a few ways you can set a puppy sleep schedule.
Identify a bedtime
All puppies are different, and some will sleep more than others, especially at night. Spend the first few days or weeks with your puppy, learning about how much they sleep at night. Most puppies sleep for at least six hours every night and then ten or more hours during the day. By knowing how many hours total your dog sleeps, you can figure out the best times to get them to settle down at night.
The optimal puppy bedtime depends on your schedule and your puppy’s needs. Puppies will often fall asleep when they’re bored, and there’s nothing else to do, so your puppy will likely sleep whenever you’re asleep. Most dogs will fall asleep about an hour after eating as long as you walk them afterward.1 However, the actual time your puppy goes to bed doesn’t matter as long as it’s something that’s sustainable for you. Young puppies will wake up at least once throughout the night to go potty, so you may have to schedule a time to get up in the middle of the night to let them do their business outside. However, once your puppy matures enough, they can start sleeping when you sleep, even though they may not sleep the entire night.
Dogs like to wake up when it’s light out, so you may notice your dog getting up before you and falling asleep when the sun starts to set. However, you can make them sleep a little later in the morning by having them sleep in a darker room where the sun won’t wake them.
Make their sleep area comfortable
Where your puppy sleeps is up to you. Many people prefer to have their puppy sleep in a crate until they’re potty trained to prevent them from having accidents around the house. Having your puppy sleep in their crate will help you in creating a sanctuary space for your dog where they feel the most comfortable and can go when they’re anxious or to get away from the noise of the household. If you plan to use a crate, you must learn how to choose a dog crate to ensure your dog has enough space to sleep but not so much space that they can hurt themselves when moving around.
While crate training is ideal for forming the basics of other types of training and giving your dog their own quiet space where they’ll never be disturbed, you can also let your puppy sleep with you. Their sleeping area needs to be comfortable, whether it’s in a crate, your bed, or on the floor. They should have a blanket and a toy to keep them warm and entertained, and the area should be dark enough to allow them to sleep.
If your puppy urinates in their crate, consider having multiple blankets on hand so you can toss one into the wash and give them a new one to sleep with. Puppies having frequent accidents in their crates may need to be taken outside more than once throughout the night.
Keep puppies active while awake
The key to setting a puppy sleep schedule is to allow your dog to burn off their energy throughout the day. During the hours your puppy is awake, consider playing with them and walking them to provide them with the physical and mental stimulation they need to calm down when it’s time to nap or sleep.
One of the best activities you can do with your new puppy is training. Not only is training a physical exercise, but it forces your puppy to learn, and thinking is exhausting. When your puppy gets tired and ready for a nap, they’ll likely walk away to go find a quiet place to rest. When your puppy is trying to sleep, do not disturb them. They need their sleep to grow.
Discourage bad habits
Young puppies will not sleep through the night and will instead wake up and want to play. Of course, if you hear your puppy whining in their crate, they may also need to go outside for a potty break. If you believe your dog has to go outside, take them out of the crate and put them outside for a few minutes. When they’re done doing their business, put them back in the crate. Expect your puppy to continue to whine even after going outside. In many cases, they may want attention, but you should never ignore their pleas for bathroom breaks.
Being consistent in your routine is the best way to teach your puppy when to go to bed for the night. If your puppy has to go outside in the middle of the night, consider taking them around the same time until they’re able to hold their urine. Then, you can gradually stop taking them out in the middle of the night as long as you take them before bed and as soon as they wake up in the morning.
Your puppy's schedule should be consistent every day, even on weekends, so don’t expect to sleep in on Saturdays because your puppy won’t. Instead, you must find a routine that you can sustain through puppyhood and into adulthood. While you can change your dog’s routine from time to time, doing so can cause unnecessary stress.
Puppy Sleep Schedule FAQs
What time should puppies go to bed?
It doesn’t matter what time you put your puppy down for bed as long as they’re able to get the rest they need in a comfortable dark sleeping environment. In most cases, your puppy may fall asleep as the sun sets and wake up when it rises. As long as that doesn’t impact your schedule, you can let them build their own schedule.
What is the best puppy sleeping schedule?
The best puppy sleeping schedule depends on the pet and pet parent. For example, if you work the night shift, your puppy will have a different schedule than one with a pet parent who works from nine to five. The best thing you can do for your puppy is to plan their day and ensure that their schedule is sustainable throughout their growth and development. As your dog ages, they’ll become less active and can hold their urine for longer periods of time, so the schedule might change from time to time.
Can an 8-week puppy sleep through the night?
Puppies can typically sleep through the night from around the age of 8 weeks, but your puppy may not. Some puppies will need to go outside in the middle of the night, so you should expect sleep interruptions.
Setting a puppy schedule can help your dog start learning what to expect on a daily basis, which can relieve dog anxiety puppies have when joining a new household. Establishing a puppy bedtime routine can also ensure pet parents get the sleep they need to take good care of their new animal companion. Your puppy should have a feeding, sleep, and walking schedule that they can quickly learn and expect. Once your dog is trained, they’ll be easier to manage as long as your schedule is sustainable.
Bringing home a new puppy is exciting, but it also comes with a new set of challenges and responsibilities. Not only do you have to set new schedules to ensure the health and wellness of your dog, but they must have veterinary care to ensure they’re developing properly, both mentally and physically. Puppies should also begin training as soon as possible to help them learn how to behave at home, in public, and on walks. When you need help with your puppy, Dutch has your back. Dutch online veterinary services give you access to vets 24/7 to answer all your questions about puppy care.
Reisen, Jan. “How Much Sleep Do Puppies Need? Here's How to Make Sure.” American Kennel Club, 29 Apr. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/how-much-do-puppies-sleep/#:~:text=Although%20puppies%20are%20little%20bundles,18%2D20%20hours%20a%20day.