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Anyone who has brought a new puppy home for the first time will often find themselves shocked by how much puppies actually sleep, and how they seem to have two basic settings: zooming around and causing chaos, or flat out in the land of nod!
This of course raises the question for many first time owners of how much sleep puppies actually need, if the amount of time that their own pup spends asleep is normal, and how to manage the fine balance between naps and sleeping through the night!
In this article, we will attempt to answer the question of how much sleep puppies actually need in detail, factoring in their growth and development, and why pups sleep as much as they do. Read on to learn more.
The simple answer to this question is yes, as anyone who has ever owned a puppy will tell you! Exactly how much sleep any given dog or puppy wants and needs will vary from case to case, but generally puppies sleep the most, followed by elderly dogs, with adult dogs prior to reaching old age needing less sleep as a general rule than very old or young dogs.
The lifestyle that each dog (regardless of age) leads will also affect their sleep requirements too-diet and exercise play a large part, and dogs that regularly go for long walks or have a working role will generally need to recharge their batteries for a little longer than the average pet.
Puppies up until the age of around six months old may sleep for anything up to around twenty hours a day-although they do not sleep for this long all in one stretch, with the time generally divided up into a long sleep at night, another couple of hours during the day, and the odd nap as and when required. Adult dogs, on the other hand, need to sleep for twelve to fourteen hours per day, which is rather more than many people think they need too!
Like any young animal, puppies grow larger on a daily basis, meaning that they spend a lot of their energy on growing as well as for fuel for everyday life and their normal activities. This physical development itself is tiring, and means that puppies need to rest and recharge their batteries regularly to allow their minds to catch up with the stimulus that they have faced and the things they have learned during the day.
Mental development and the sheer range of stimulus that puppies face daily as they learn about the world takes its toll too, and every day is a new learning experience for pups-so it is no surprise that they tend to conk out now and then when it all gets a bit much!
Wanting to sleep a lot is not just a matter of laziness-puppies genuinely need to sleep as much as they do, and it can hamper their development and lead to both mental and behavioural problems if they are unable to get enough sleep.
However, if your pup spends eight hours fast asleep during the day, the chances are that they will suddenly wake up full of beans and looking for things to do when everyone else wants to go to bed! For this reason, puppies need to have properly structured sleeping times so that they get the chance to rest when this fits in with the rest of their lifestyle and the family’s requirements, and to avoid having an inquisitive puppy up during the wee hours looking for things to do, or crying for attention.
Ergo, you can and should let your puppy nap and chill out when they want to, but also, try to structure their feeding times and periods of exercise and learning so that your pup will be tired out by the evening, and ready to go to bed at an appropriate hour!
Part of the process of getting your pup used to a routine of when they have their main sleep is geared towards training the puppy to sleep through the night, and this whole process takes some time, trial and error as you get used to your pup’s needs and natural rhythm.
Very young puppies cannot make it through the night without needing to use the toilet, and so this is inevitable, but when your pup is in a routine of feeding times, toileting opportunities and regular exercise, the length of time that they will sleep for at night without waking up to go to the loo will grow with your pup.
Some pups will begin to sleep for 6-8 hours at night from as young as three to four months old, but for others, it can take up to six months for the routine to really stick.
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