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How Much Sleep Do Puppies Need? Vet-Approved Facts

Written by: Luxifa Le

Last Updated on April 17, 2024 by Dogster Team

white puppy sleeping

How Much Sleep Do Puppies Need? Vet-Approved Facts

VET APPROVED

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Puppies are often remembered as a whirling tornado of energy, but they need 18–20 hours of sleep daily to help them grow big and strong. Puppies don’t yet have a good handle on their internal clock that tells them when to sleep. So, it can seem like night and day; one second, your puppy is running around like a bull in a china shop, and the next, they’ve fallen asleep where they stand.

You can help your puppy grow comfortably and help contain the whirlwind side by helping establish a nap routine for them. Just like human babies, puppies need to sleep enough so that their bodies can grow to their adult size. They also don’t have the same energy threshold as adults and will need to sleep more since they’re growing so much!

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How to Help Your Puppy Nap

1. Don’t Bother Your Puppy While He Naps

rottweiler puppy sleeping
Image by: Piqsels

While his cute napping face might seem irresistible, you’ll have to exercise self-control. Cuddling your puppy to sleep can cause him to become dependent on you or other family members for comfort before falling asleep.

Encourage all household members to leave your puppy undisturbed while he sleeps. It will help him sleep more soundly and establish good sleeping habits.

You do want to know where your puppy is while he’s sleeping, though. He’ll likely need to go outside when he wakes up. So, you want to be on top of that to help ease him into housebreaking.


2. Establish a Sleeping Space for Your Puppy

Beagle puppy in dog bed at home
Image by: New Africa, Shutterstock

Whether the spot is in his crate or a bed, you’ll want your puppy to know where he’s supposed to go when he needs a nap. If he seems sleepy, encourage him to lie in his designated sleeping spot and leave him to nap.


3. Create a Routine

goldendoodle puppy
Image by: John Jess, Pixabay

A bedtime routine is critical. It will help both you and your puppy get a better night’s sleep if he sleeps in his bed. You’ll also be able to slot naptimes into your puppy’s daily routine to help ensure that he’s getting enough sleep daily.


4. Make His Crate Inviting

old english sheepdog puppy
Imagee by: Pixabay

You wouldn’t want to sleep in a cage. Why would you think your puppy does? An expensive dog bed for a puppy will likely get chewed to shreds. Instead, line his crate with a soft, felt blanket. Avoid wool because it can be unwoven into long strings that can be harmful if swallowed.

Bring home a soft toy or blanket that smells like his mother and place that in his crate to help him understand that the crate is a safe place.


5. No Bedtime Extensions

lab puppy on carpet
Image by: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

As long as your puppy is fed, watered, and has been taken out to relieve himself, there’s no reason to extend his bedtime. Even if he wants to keep playing, it’s important not to give in to his whining and barking. He will soon learn that it’s time for bed and settle down.


6. Midnight Potty Breaks

irish terrier puppy sitting
Image by: ANNA TITOVA, Shutterstock

Puppies have small bladders, and until they finish growing and developing, they will need potty breaks during the night. Keeping a pee pad might be a good idea while you both develop the midnight potty break routine.

On average, a two-month-old puppy can hold urine for about three hours; a three-month-old puppy for about four hours; and a four-month-old puppy for about five hours. So, while your puppy is growing and developing bladder control, you will have to schedule some midnight potty breaks.

When letting your puppy out in the middle of the night, stay as neutral as possible to avoid getting the puppy into “play mode.” A simple “Good boy/girl” after the puppy finishes doing its business and then take them right back to sleep. Soon this routine will be well established and over time you can gradually extend the time between the potty breaks until you both have an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

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Example Puppy Routine

Puppies thrive in structured environments. When they know exactly what to expect, they know what’s expected of them. Here’s a sample routine your puppy could follow to help them navigate their new world and home.

Morning

  • Start by taking your puppy out to go to the bathroom right when he wakes up.
  • Feed him.
  • Taking him out again; puppies usually need to go out after eating.
  • Do some exercise by training, socializing, or taking him for a walk for 30–60 minutes.
  • Encourage him to take a nap.
  • Take him out as soon as he wakes up.
puppy getting hiccups
Image by: JACLOU-DL, Pixabay

Afternoon

  • Feed him his midday meal.
  • Take him for a walk after he’s done eating.
  • Time for the second nap!
  • Take him out again once he wakes up.
  • Play with, train, and socialize with him again.
  • He’ll probably want another nap after playtime.
  • Take him out again when he wakes up.
jagdterrier puppy in males hand
Image Credit: Ksenia Merenkova, Shutterstock

Evening

  • Feed him dinner.
  • Take him outside to go to the bathroom.
  • Let him have some open-ended interaction with family members.
  • Bedtime!
  • Midnight potty breaks
Golden retriever puppy playing and bite owner hand
Image Credit: Damix, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Caring for a puppy is hard work! He’ll need less and less hands-on care as he grows and becomes more independent. Having a structure will help your puppy flourish and thrive. While it might seem like a lot at first, the payoff of having a happy, well-mannered dog will be well worth the trouble!

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Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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