Last Updated/Info Checked on August 28, 2023 by Linda Michaels
Puppies sleep a lot.
This is because during their growing years most of their physiological development occurs during sleep. All the different hormones responsible for the growth of a pup’s body are secreted mostly at rest.
As a pup grows, this sleeping pattern goes through changes until it becomes that of an adult. This means the total amount and timing of sleep would vary across different months of age.
Also Read: Do German Shepherd Puppies Sleep A Lot?
Puppy Sleep Schedule By Age
Generally, smaller breeds mature early than larger ones. A typical puppyhood ranges from 6 to 24 months, for most breeds.
Implying that the sleeping schedule is also affected by the dog’s breed. In general, a puppy’s sleep schedule would range from 14-20 hours.
During this period, a pup’s sleep schedule should never be disturbed. Here is a list of a puppy’s sleep schedules at various ages that you need to know.
1. 3-Month Puppy Sleep Schedule
During the earliest months that a pup is brought home, the sleep schedule is pretty packed. A typical 3-month or 12-week-old puppy schedule would be between 16-20 hours. That means for much of the day, you’ll find your pup asleep.
The rest of the time would be divided into smaller intervals rather than a full waking session. Puppies use this time for feeding and relieving themselves. Some also like to play in it.
Make sure you use these intervals as effectively for the pooch’s health as possible.
Read Also: Do French Bulldogs Sleep A Lot?
2. 4 to 5-Month Old Puppy Sleep Schedule
These are still the months filled with a puppy’s growth spurts. That means a pup would sleep more or less the same hours averaging about 17-18 hours a day.
A pup’s sleep is usually in the form of multiple naps. Make sure you take care of your pup’s diet and defecation needs in between naps.
Also Read: How far can a 4-month-old puppy walk?
3. 6-Month-Old Puppy Sleep Schedule
At this age, puppies tend to sleep between 14-18 hours a day.
Their bodies have grown to a considerable extent now and they are full of life and energy. Engage them in healthy sports and activities during the waking sessions.
This would not only ensure better health and fitness for your pooch but will also help him get a more relaxing sleep as it would have spent its energy in such activities.
As a pup grows, it learns to hold its urge to urinate. At six months, your pup can at most hold it for 6-7 hours. This implies that you take it out of the crib every 6 to 7 hours to help him urinate otherwise accidents may occur.
4. 8-Month-Old Puppy Nap Schedule
By now, some breeds would have matured and would develop the sleeping schedule of adult dogs. This would be around 12 hours a day.
While those that are still maturing would need 12-15 hours each day to develop their nervous and immune systems.
One thing to keep in mind here is that as dogs hit puberty, they may start engaging in sexual activities and some can become pregnant. Keep an eye on your dog’s amour and consult a vet when you think the pooch is pregnant.
Importance Of Sleep For Puppies
When a puppy sleeps, its body detoxifies itself from all the chemicals it had accumulated and rebuilds itself on the molecular level. This is important concerning the development of 3 major systems:
1. Musculoskeletal System
Muscles and bones which had been put to test during the day are now rebuilding themselves.
These are responsible for the physical development of your pooch.
2. Nervous System
The brain itself relies on sleep to get rid of chemical contaminants and help relax and rewire its neural connections. This is how the cognitive development of a pup’s brain occurs.
3. Immune System
Our immune system revitalizes and strengthens itself during sleeping hours. This also holds for a pup. Hence, sleep is vital for a dog’s ability to defend itself against germs and infections.
Developing A Good Sleep Schedule
All mammals are born with an innate sleeping schedule. This is true for puppies as well.
But unfortunately, when a pup is adopted and taken away from the comfort of its kind, this whole schedule is disrupted.
You need to make your pup adapt to the new home environment otherwise you will have a pup with a terrible sleeping cycle. Here are some tips on how to do that:
1. Make a Routine
Making a routine to stick to is very important. You cannot just have a haphazard schedule for your pup, hoping that it will adjust itself, it will never.
Make sure your pup goes to bed more or less at the same time every day. You will not be able to control when the pup wakes up but after weeks of following a sleeping schedule, even that will become predictable.
You can help yourself by keeping a journal for the pup’s sleeping cycle as mental maps never work in practice. Keep alarms for yourself on your mobile to guide you through the whole period.
2. Provide A Comfortable Sleeping Environment
Taking the pup out from its mother’s lap and bringing it home into a brand new environment is never easy for them to cope with.
This can lead to all sorts of anxiety and stress that is never good for sleep.
You can try to neutralize that by having them sleep in a nice and comfortable crib.
Spacious enough for their sleeping movements as well.
Moreover, keep the crib near your bed. This will not only allow you to attend to them at all times but also will aid in making a strong bond between you and the growing pup as they get accustomed to your scent and presence. In my house, I have a Chihuahua and a Husky, and both loves to sleep close to me at night.
3. Utilize Breaks
As mentioned already, a pup will sleep in the form of multiple naps. In between the naps you have to make sure they relieve themselves properly.
Take them out and they will do that naturally.
This would also be the time you feed them. Give them enough time to relax and eat, never rush things for growing pups, and do not make them overeat.
When you find time after this, you can utilize it for small exercises and games to keep them physically and mentally engaged.
4. Exercise and Nourishment
A good sleeping schedule is only possible when it is fortified by a similar diet and exercise.
You need to find the right food as appropriate for your puppy’s age. Remember any food you give them needs to have all the nutrients that a growing pup’s body demands.
There is a big difference between a pup’s and an adult dog’s diet plan. Do consult with a dog nutritionist for a proper diet plan.
Sings Of A Lack Of Sleep
You need to know certain behavior patterns that indicate poor sleep:
- Tiredness throughout the day
- Fidgety, anxious, and restless
- Poor appetite
- Lack of attention to commands
You need to be able to Identify these patterns and work for enhancing your pooch’s sleep cycle.
Sometimes even after a carefully planned sleeping schedule, many pups do not get enough sleep. This is when you need to consult a vet.
How To Change Your Puppy Sleeping Schedule?
This is a burning question with many owners who do not want to wake up in the wee hours.
Dogs generally have a tight sleep-wake schedule. Puppies take that on a whole new level with several “bouts of sleep”. That means they may wake you up in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Here’s how to change their schedule to match yours or bring them to a comfortable hour where you don’t go to your office groggy.
Using An Alarm Clock To Push Your Pup’s Waking Time
The idea is to push its waking hours further into the morning with small increments with the help of an alarm clock. Yes, you heard me right.
Dogs learn with the help of cues. You instill in its mind that the alarm clock is the cue to get out of the crate. Before that, you won’t be available because there’s still “dark”.
I’ll get back to ensuring that your pup still thinks it’s night. To ensure it associates alarm clocks with waking, follow these steps:
- Put an alarm clock at the exact time when it wakes up, let’s say 6:30 a.m for a few days.
- If your pup isn’t potty trained, try pushing its meal times ahead of its usual hours to push the potty times further.
- Now with a 5 minutes increment to the waking time and the feeding time subsequently, begin training your dog to wake up late.
- Keep up the increment for a few days for the dog to catch up.
- Keep on adding 5 minutes until you’ve reached the desired morning hours.
- Please understand that you shouldn’t aim at waking the pup beyond 8 a.m. for obvious reasons. It needs to eat at the right time and go to the potty.
As to make sure your dog understands that its still night, here’s what you can do.
1. Blanket Over His Crate
Putting a blanket over his crate will stop him from spotting the sun. The sunlight acts as a major indicator of the morning–obviously–and you have to keep that indicator blocked.
2. Play White Noise
White noise is when you play all frequencies at the same time. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do that on your own. There are videos on YouTube to do that for you. Play one right next to the pup but make sure it’s not too loud. It will mask all the noise coming in from the outside during the morning.
3. Give It Treats After a Potty Break
In case your pup goes to potty at 4 a.m. and you’ve set an alarm for 7 a.m. all you can do is give it a treat after the potty to get it busy in the crate until the right time approaches.
The whole process of changing a pup’s routine takes time. Be patient and follow my blueprint and you’ll be good to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following are some of the questions that I have received from readers of doggomag.
What time should a puppy go to bed?
As pups sleep long hours that make up most of the night and day, there is no nighttime schedule for them. Just make sure your pup follows a routine and the rest will be fine.
How long does a puppy need to sleep at night?
Considering a total of 16-20 hours of sleep in 24 hours, a puppy will sleep anywhere between 6 to 12 hours at night. That would also depend on the exact age of the pup and the length of the nights.
Should I ignore my puppy crying at night?
Puppies typically cry at night because they cannot find the comfort of their parents and littermates. At such moments, you should try to comfort them as this would allow for better bonding.
Moreover, some pups cry because they want to relieve themselves, you need to guide them through this as well.
Puppy Sleep Schedule/Chart By Age – Wrapping Up
Throughout their growing years, pups need a lot of sleep for their growth and development.
This period varies with the age of the pup. Also, different breeds have different durations for puppyhood and that also determines how much a particular dog will sleep throughout the day.
As sleep plays a pivotal role in their health, a pup’s sleep schedule should always follow a routine and be supplemented with a good diet and exercise.