Puppies sleep for about 18 to 20 hours per day. Six to 10 hours of these take place at night while the rest happen throughout the day.
However, don’t expect your new pup to sleep through the whole night, especially during their very first days of staying with you. He will have difficulties doing this because he is still adjusting to his new home and working on house training.
Additionally, puppies are often affected by separation anxiety. They will sometimes cry during the first few days they are away from their mothers. Their crying can extend into the night, making them unable to sleep.
Another reason why puppies suffer from interrupted sleep is because they still need to pee often. Since they are still growing, they are still developing their bladder muscles and self-control, which they need to control the urge to urinate.
Fortunately, puppies can overcome these causes and learn to sleep undisturbed through the night as they grow older. However, there are ways for you to help your new pup enjoy good-quality slumber every day so that you can have your rest, too.
Below are the best tips for helping your puppy start sleeping restfully at night:
Get your puppy a good bed.
Like humans, dogs need to feel comfortable when they need to rest. A soft, warm, and cosy bed can help your puppy get good-quality sleep at night.
A dog bed can give your puppy proper cushioning and keep him warm. Moreover, your new pet needs a private place where he can relax on his own. A cot is the perfect space for his “alone time” which he may crave as he gets older.
Look for a recommended dog bed online to start the shopping process. Study the different options and buy one that your pet would love that is also within your budget. If you have a crate, make sure the one you buy will fit into it, too.
Find a good spot for your puppy’s sleeping space.
It is best to keep a new puppy inside your bedroom during the first few days so that he won’t feel alone. Doing so will allow you to hear your puppy if he wakes up in the middle of the night as well.
As your pet acclimatises to his new home, find the best area for his sleeping spot and stick to it. By doing so, you are teaching him that it will be his official bedroom as long as he stays with you.
Regardless of where your puppy sleeps, keep the area quiet and dim. If you watch TV in your bedroom, keep the volume and light low. The absence of noise and light will be your pet’s cue for sleeping time.
If you have a wire-type crate, put a cover over on top of it to make it darker and look like a comfy den.
Give your puppy physical and mental exercises during the day.
If your puppy does not want to settle down once you put him in his bedroom, or roams around at night, helping him exercise during the day can help him prepare for sleep better.
Dogs require at least an hour of exercise per day. Additionally, they will benefit from all the extra stimulation you can give them. This means allowing them to explore their home and nature.
Take your puppy out for a walk to a nearby park or play with him in your lawn. Also, give him puzzle toys, snuffle mats, and other accessories that allow them to exercise their brains.
To stimulate your puppy physically and mentally, you can also start playing training games with him.
Set a bedtime routine.
When bedtime comes, make sure your puppy knows what to do.
Your routine should include avoiding any intense games or other exercises that can get your puppy stimulated. If you engage in such activities near bedtime, your pet will have a hard time calming down his brain to get ready for sleep.
When it’s time for your puppy to sleep, make your home or at least his bedroom feel cosy. Turn off or dim the lights and get rid of any source of distraction.
If your pet is already sleeping in another part of your home, try putting your shirt or any piece of clothing in their bedding so that he feels close to you.
Putting on a dog appeasing pheromone or DAP collar on your puppy or turning on a DAP diffuser release can help soothe your puppy and lull him to sleep. These pet dog accessories release a calming pheromone, which is a synthesised version of the hormone released by a nursing mother dog.
Make sure your puppy goes to the bathroom before bedtime.
Before your puppy goes to bed, ensure his tank is empty. This means bringing him outside to do his business prior to bedtime.
Try to make this part of your pet’s nighttime routine as well since it will help both of you sleep well daily.
If your pet gets easily distracted by lights and sounds in your yard, find a spot free of distractions where he can pee and poop. As much as possible, do not go back inside your home until he is done with his business.
Additionally, avoid filling your pup’s water bowl during dinner. If he drinks too much, he will have a full bladder, which will keep him awake at night.
Expect midnight potty breaks.
Finally, puppies cannot hold their urine for more than a few hours. As such, be prepared to get up in the middle of the night to let him pee.
Aside from allowing him to feel comfortable, you won’t have to deal with a wet, stinky bed and blanket daily.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that puppies can hold their bladder for about as many hours as their age. For instance, if you have a three-month-old pup, he can hold his pee for about three hours.
Puppies may be able to hold it in a little longer overnight if they are exhausted, but they are unlikely to make it all the way to morning.
To get your puppy back to sleep immediately, stay quiet and don’t engage in any play or snuggle him during these potty breaks.
With these tips, you will deal with fewer hassles upon your puppy’s arrival. Moreover, you will teach your pet good sleeping habits that he will maintain as he grows older.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.