How Much Do Puppies Sleep?

Puppies bring plenty of joy into any household, with their adorable features, compliance with cuddles and periods of playful energy.

However, people new to the experience of owning a brand-new puppy sometimes express surprise at the amount of nap time the young dogs seem to need.

So how much do puppies sleep and is this amount of rest healthy?

Newsweek asked the experts.

How Long Do Puppies Sleep?

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer at the American Kennel Club (AKC) is at pains to reassure new pet parents even healthy puppies can require plenty of nap time.

He told Newsweek: "Puppies usually sleep 18 to 20 hours a day. Generally, the younger the puppy, the more time sleeping it needs and does.

"Infant puppies sleep until they need to nurse. Puppies up to eight weeks of age need to eliminate frequently as well. They can't control their bladders or bowels, so they need to go during the night.

"Puppies often sleep for long periods of time, but they also take frequent naps.

"They may be little bundles of energy one minute and then passed out the next! Sleep is an integral part of healthy growth in puppies."

A little Beagle puppy is sleeping
A little Beagle puppy sleeping. Puppies need a lot more sleep than most people may think golfyinterlude/Getty Images

Should You Follow a Puppy Sleep Schedule?

While most experts agree no two puppies are really alike, there is a consensus to allow the puppy to take the lead when it comes to catching some ZZZs.

However, Liz Claflin, Vice President of Operations at dog trainers Zoom Room, believes there are benefits for encouraging puppies to stick to a morning schedule after waking.

She told Newsweek: "For puppies, a schedule helps them learn to control their bladders and makes the house training process go faster.

"It can also help to ensure the puppy gets enough rest and adopts a good sleep cycle.

"A good puppy schedule includes meals at roughly the same time each day, going outside for a potty break at the same time after meals, water and play sessions.

"The schedule should include playtimes and training times. Puppies should go to bed at roughly the same time each night and wake at roughly the same time each morning."

Human parents of newborn pups should prepare themselves to not expect miracles overnight.

As a result, it might be time to adjust your growing, impressionable puppy to your schedule, but incremental gains should begin to become apparent.

During the day, your puppy's sleep schedule might look something like this:

Morning

Dr. Klein said: "Wake up, go outside to relieve himself, eat breakfast, go out to relieve himself again, play, nap time (could be anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours), potty break then lunch."

Afternoon

The AKC expert said: "After you feed your puppy lunch, take him out to relieve himself again, play for an hour or so, nap time, take him out, play time, and then most likely another nap."

Night

The AKC's site points out while puppies may not initially pay attention to an internal clock telling them it is time to rest, there are some canny tricks to hand to persuade stubborn canines to crash out in sync with their owners.

Humans in the home should always resist any urges to enjoy just one final cuddle and to leave the young alone while he is sleeping.

Drowsy young dogs should as sleep times arrive be encouraged nap in their safe places, whether this is a crate, dog bed, or simply a designated dark and quiet corner of the home.

Finally, it pays to recognize to spot the telltale indications a puppy is overtired, usually caused by excessive stimulation and exhaustion, which is all-too often linked with unfortunate behavior throughout the small hours.

Two months old vizsla mix puppy sleeping
Two months old vizsla mix puppy sleeping on white sheets. Sleep is key to a puppy's healthy growth, contributing to the necessary development of his central nervous system, brain, immune system and muscles. RedThinkHead/Getty Images