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How much should my puppy sleep?

Does your puppy go from perky and playful to downright dozy in a matter of minutes? Does he zoom around and then zonk out fast asleep wherever he happens to be? Is he a champion nap-taker especially after playing or going out? In case you were wondering, it is quite normal for your growing pup to sleep from 15-20 hours a day. While this may seem excessive, keep in mind that newborn pups sleep 90% of the time! Your puppy may also have the gift of falling asleep quite suddenly, sometimes in the midst of doing something else such as eating or playing. While this sudden somnolence can be surprising, normally there is no need for concern. Especially in his first year, your little canine is likely to alternate high energy, intense activity (including running, jumping, pouncing, and chewing, to name a few things puppies enjoy) with lots of snoozing and frequent naps. And the more active your puppy is, the more he will need to sleep. As he gets older your puppy will begin to sleep less. But even adult dogs sleep a lot, on average from 50-65% of the time. So rest assured, it is usually best to let your sleeping pup lie! And you might try our tips on how to help him get the good quality sleep he needs to grow into a happy, healthy adult.

Understanding your puppy’s sleeping needs

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Where should my puppy sleep?

By now you may be thinking that your furry friend is indeed a lucky dog! How great is it to be able to sleep anytime and anywhere? But in reality, just think how much he is learning from one day to the next. Discovering the world is both very exciting and tiring for your puppy; all the more because of he does not necessarily recognise when he is tired. However, there are some things you can do to help your pup get the quality rest he needs to gear up for his next adventure.

  • Provide your pup the comfort of sleeping in his very own bed. Keep it cosy with washable blankets or cushions and make sure he has room to stretch.
  • Put the bed in a quiet area of the house where he will not be disturbed by people coming and going. If there are children at home, remind them to let puppy sleep in peace.
  • Once you have chosen a spot for his bed, try not to move it.
  • At night make sure he sleeps in a darkened room. Note however that waking up in the dark or alone can be scary for a new pup. Give him an item of your clothing to cuddle up with. Your smell will reassure him.
  • If your canine looks sleepy, encourage him to seek his own bed rather than dropping off wherever he happens to be.
  • Alternate periods of activity with opportunities for your pup to nap at home in his own bed.

Why sleep is so important for my puppy?

Sleep is vital for your puppy to grow into a healthy adult dog. Every part of his body from his brain to his muscles and central nervous system is growing incredibly fast. Sleep enables him to replenish the energy it takes to grow. Your little one is also constantly discovering the world and learning new things. Sleep is an important component of your puppy’s ability to learn. It allows him to process and interiorize the countless experiences he has while awake.

Understanding Your Dog's Sleeping Habits

If you observe your puppy sleeping, you may notice that sometimes his breathing is irregular. His eyelids may be closed, but underneath his eyes are moving rapidly. In fact, dogs experience two phases of sleep: deep sleep (sometimes called “slow sleep”) and paradoxical or REM sleep (for rapid eye movement). During deep sleep, which accounts for around 70% of his sleep cycle, your puppy’s brain activity slows while his muscles remained toned. During paradoxical sleep, his brain activity is intense and he may twitch, wag his tail or even appear to be running in place. He may even bark, yelp or whine, but he is actually asleep. It is believed that dogs dream during paradoxical sleep, although we don’t yet know what they dream about.

Last but not least, unless you absolutely have to, it is best not to wake up your sleeping puppy. And keep in mind that there is nothing better than a good night’s sleep, balanced by daily physical activity, appropriate diet, and frequent naps to set your puppy off on the right paw!