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National Puppy Day: How Long Do Puppies Need to Sleep?

written by Ellie Walker

Bringing home a new addition is one of the most exciting moments of pet parenthood. For first-time pet parents, this exciting time also comes with a number of questions, including “how long do puppies need to sleep?”. In honor of national puppy day, we’ve put together a guide to help new pet parents understand everything sleep-related for their new puppy.

Why do puppies need to sleep more than dogs?

An adult dog sleeps between 12 and 14 hours a day, but a puppy can sleep up to 20 hours a day! It’s no surprise that sleep is important to your pup’s overall health, but why is it that puppies need so much more sleep than adult dogs? There are three key reasons:

  • Brain development: A puppy’s brain processes all of the new information they have learned during its waking hours while they sleep.

  • Immune system development: Puppies aren’t born with fully developed immune systems, which means they need to gain energy from sleep to help build it up over time.

  • Maintaining adequate energy levels: Not only do puppies need to develop their brains and immune systems, but they also need to build bones, strengthen muscles and help the systems in their body grow – all of which is powered by the energy they accumulate while they sleep.

How long do puppies need to sleep?

The amount of time that a puppy needs to sleep depends on its age, with the total daily sleeping time reducing as they get older:

  • 8 weeks old: Approximately 20 hours of sleep per day

  • 10-12 weeks old: Approximately 18-20 hours a day

  • 14-16 weeks old: Approximately 18 hours a day

As a puppy finishes growing, they will start to settle into a schedule of between 12 and 14 hours of sleep per day. However, the size of the dog does play a role in how much they sleep. Large dog breeds require more sleep than smaller breeds because they grow faster, which requires much more energy, and therefore, more sleep!

How can I make sure my puppy gets enough sleep?

When settling into their new home, puppies can be understandably nervous. The uncertainty they feel can impact their regular sleep cycle, making it difficult for them to fall and stay asleep. Knowing how long puppies need to sleep and the importance of getting enough sleep, new pet parents may benefit from trying the following tips to maximize their pup’s sleeping hours:

  • Give them a dedicated sleeping spot: Giving your puppy a dedicated sleeping spot will train them to sleep independently rather than rely on you to help them fall asleep.

  • Don’t disturb your puppy while they sleep: As tempting as it is to let your puppy fall asleep on your lap, by doing this you are more likely to wake them up inadvertently or if you need to move. Instead, let them sleep uninterrupted in their dedicated spot.

  • Stick to a consistent sleep schedule: Puppies thrive on routine not only during their waking hours but their sleeping hours as well. Depending on their age, puppies will nap between 30 minutes to as long as two hours. Planning their expertise, potty breaks, training, and meals around this schedule as much as you can make sure they’re getting enough sleep.

  • Feed them a high-quality diet: A high-quality diet is important at all stages of life, but especially so during puppyhood. When puppies are fed a diet that helps them meet all of their dietary requirements, they’re going to have more energy to burn while they’re awake – which will help them sleep better.

How do I choose a diet for my puppy?

Not only do puppies experience rapid physical growth during their first months, but they undergo massive mental growth as well. When they’re awake, puppies are constantly meeting new people, visiting new places, and experiencing new things. But to have the energy necessary to support this physical and mental growth, puppies need a high-quality diet!

When choosing a diet for your puppy, look for recipes that are made from fresh, real ingredients. Not only do recipes made with fresh ingredients taste better, but it’s healthier for your puppy and will establish a great nutritional base for years to come.

Our Freshpet® Select Puppy Recipe is made with gently cooked fresh chicken, eggs, vitamin-rich carrots and high-fiber brown rice. This tasty recipe also has added EPA & DHA will help your puppy to grow up healthy and strong.

In addition to our puppy-specific recipe, our Vital and Nature’s Fresh lines are AAFCO-approved for all life stages, making them another excellent choice for puppies!

We hope that this guide has helped answer your questions, such as how long puppies need to sleep. If you have any further questions about your puppy’s sleeping habits, scheduled a call with your vet. They will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

A person holding a black and white dog reaching for a Freshpet recipe.

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