Puppies tend to have two basic settings: Wide awake and causing havoc, or fast asleep! Puppies sleep much more than adult dogs do, and this is an essential factor of their normal health, development and growth, allowing their minds and bodies to recover from the tiring days of their first experiences of the world.
While pups can and often do fall asleep at the drop of a hat and sleep very deeply, and don’t need much help in this department, there are some factors that can keep your pup from sleeping as much as they need to, or make their sleep less restful and more fragmented than it should be.
While there is no way to force a puppy to sleep more than they want to, there are various ways in which you can make their resting time a good fit for them, and encourage them to settle and rejuvenate when possible, in order to support happy, healthy development.
In this article, we will share some tips on how to ensure that your puppy gets enough sleep, and that this is happy, comfortable and restful for them. Read on to learn more!
Sleep is an essential part of the growth and development cycle of pups, and the average puppy will sleep for anything between fifteen and twenty hours a day, although not all in one go! Quiet, sedentary breeds of dog will tend to sleep more lightly but for longer, such as the Pug and the Greyhound, while lively breeds with higher activity levels like the Springer spaniel will go through short, intense bursts of high-energy activity, and then fall deeply asleep to recover!
There are a whole range of different things that can disrupt your puppy’s sleep, make it harder for them to get to sleep, or make their sleep less restful. Some of these things are environmental, such as being too hot or cold or being in a high-traffic area of the home, while the first stages of separation, missing their littermates and getting used to their new home can be more emotional and lead to crying in the night.
Stress, fear, pain or any other form of discomfort will also make it hard for your puppy to sleep soundly.
Even if your puppy sleeps all over the place at the drop of a hat, they should still have a dedicated bed of their own, that is in a safe, quiet area where they will not be bothered or disturbed. They can view this bed as their den and territory, and they should soon begin to build up good associations with it that make it restful and comfortable for them.
This may be a crate, if you intend to crate train your pup, or otherwise, should involve a warm, comfortable bed in a quiet corner of the home, with walls on at least two sides and preferably three. The bed should be warm, welcoming and always in the same place, and should contain some comforting toys and blankets that belong to your pup only.
The bed should not be moved around the house, and everyone in the family should know not to disturb the puppy when they are asleep.
Puppies eat around twice the amount of adult dogs by weight, and this is because they need those extra calories, nutrients and energy in order to support growth as well as activity.
Feeding your puppy the right diet for their age, breed and activity levels is vital, in order to support healthy growth and development, and their day to day lives. Feeding the right sort of food to your pup can help them to thrive in many ways, and one of these is sleep! Feeding an inappropriate food, or swapping your pup over from one food to another too quickly can cause both stomach upsets, and a general lack of the necessary food elements to keep the body ticking over properly, which can cause poor or disrupted sleep.
The younger your pup is, the more likely they are to need to get up in the night to go to the toilet, and smaller breeds like the Chihuahua usually need to do their business more often than giant breeds like the Great Dane!
It is a good idea to time your pup’s feeding to ensure that they get a chance to go out to the toilet at the right time after dinner but before they bed down for the night, in order to encourage your pup to sleep for longer without needing to get up to go to the toilet.
A puppy that has a busy, varied life and plenty of exercise will sleep more deeply and soundly than one that can’t ever manage to burn off their excess energy levels due to a lack of opportunity, and so it is important to strike a fine balance between tiring your pup out, and pushing them to exhaustion.
The last walk or period of play of the day should conclude around half an hour before bed, to allow your pup to get tired out and to help them relax in time for sleep.