If you recently got a new puppy, you’re not alone. In fact, there has been a COVID puppy boom! Millions of families have bought a new puppy in the past year, either to cheer up those who are lonely from less social interaction or because they finally have time at home and away from the office. If you only know one thing about puppies, you know they are super cute. If you know two things, you also know they can be pretty hard to handle! These furry friends are nothing short of adorable, but they turn your house and your lifestyle upside down the instant you bring them home.
This extends to your sleep. If your puppy isn’t sleeping, you’re not sleeping either! It’s no secret that sleeping through the night with a new puppy can be almost as difficult as it is with a newborn baby. Just like with a baby, it’s not impossible though. All you need to do is learn a healthy dog sleep schedule and set your pup up for success by making sure he or she has the routine and products it needs.
How Much Sleep Do Puppies Need?
Sleep is essential to health and growth, both for human babies and dog babies! Sleep contributes to the necessary development of your puppy’s central nervous system, brain, immune system, and muscles. All of that sleep also helps it rest up during growth spurts, and there’s going to be a lot of growth spurts! Although puppies are little bundles of energy when they’re awake, they usually sleep most of the time when they’re very young.
A quick puppy sleep schedule by age looks something like this:
Eight weeks old (when puppies normally come to their forever home): Expect your young puppy to sleep a lot during this first stage. Most puppies will sleep about 18 to 20 hours a day to support their fast-growing brains and bodies.
Four months old: A 16-week old puppy still sleeps a lot! Some will sleep as much as 16 to 18 hours a day.
Six months old: Your puppy is still young but becoming closer to a full grown dog, depending on the breed. They will sleep less and play more enthusiastically now. He or she is sleeping at least 11 hours per day, and possibly up to 14 hours or more.
Of course, your puppy isn’t naturally sleeping 12 hours at a time and awake for 12 hours at a time. Your little guy or gal falls asleep and wakes up constantly before learning and adjusting to a regular schedule. This makes getting it to sleep through the night a challenge.
How do I Get My Puppy to Sleep?
The good news is it’s easier than you think to learn how to change a dog's sleep schedule and get your new puppy sleeping through the night. With a little planning and a commitment to training, you can have your new puppy sleeping through the night in a matter of just a few nights.
Do you walk in the door from work and fall asleep 30 seconds later? Probably not. You have a winddown routine in the evenings. Just like you have nightly rituals such as taking a warm bath and brushing your teeth, having a set routines with your puppy can help prepare it for sleep. The goal is to give it something positive to associate with bedtime.
For one, experts recommend exercising your puppy early in the evening, a few hours before bedtime, so it is nice and worn out. Puppies wake up so often because they’re lonely for their mothers. You can help ease his or her fears by surrounding it with familiar objects, especially something that smells like you. Put an article of your clothing, like an old and unwashed t-shirt, next to it while it sleeps. Experts also say that playing classical music or white noise before and during bedtime can help alleviate whining and anxiety. This noise will also drown out other noise or unfamiliar sounds that may upset and scare your puppy.
Where Should My Puppy Sleep?
While you have probably seen pictures of adorable dog beds and imagine your pup sleeping in his own bed right next to yours, this needs to happen further into the future. To put it plainly, a new puppy isn’t going to stay in bed. It’s also not recommended to let a new puppy sleep with you in your bed for a variety of reasons. It’s going to get up and walk around, causing damage all through the night. A puppy will urinate in your bed and try to wake you up to play. You won’t be able to sleep much, and neither will the puppy.
The easiest and nearly full-proof way for training a puppy to sleep through the night is to use a dog crate. Place the crate near your bed in an area close to you. Sleeping in close proximity to you helps it bond with you and feel less lonely for its mother and littermates. A crate gives your puppy its own space, which can be comforting after a tiring day of meeting new people and learning new rules. This isn’t a punishment. Don’t consider it to be jail, but more like a bedroom. Begin by putting your puppy in the crate for a bit before it’s time to go to sleep. Then, darken the room. Quietly go to sleep and don’t make a fuss over going to bed.
By establishing the routine from the very beginning, you’ll be on your way to a happy, well-adjusted dog that is a loved member of your family for years to come. Make this dog sleep schedule as natural and carefree as possible. The first few nights may be a little rough, but your puppy will get the hang of it before you know it! Soon, you’ll both be getting the healthy sleep you need.