Your new pup’s finally come home after you waiting and daydreaming about what being a pet-parent might be like for you! You may even be feeling a myriad range of emotions, that had you pacing around anxiously until this big day. And things start looking a little more serious the moment your pup places its cute, furry paws into its new home.
The questions start knocking around in your mind – how will you take care of it? How does it need to be fed? What can it eat? How will you train it? How often should you take it for a walk? And when does it sleep?
All of these questions are completely normal and something that will come to you as you keep exploring the new world of pet parenthood. The first couple of days, weeks, or months might not be the easiest, but as you spend time getting acquainted with your new family member’s needs and wants, things are going to start looking a whole lot more clearer.
What You Need To Know About Your Pup’s Sleep
So now that you have a new, energetic furry bundle of joy in your hands, you might be wondering about the following:
How many hours of sleep does your pup need? And how important is sleep for its development?
- Sleep is extremely important to a growing pup. It enables the development of all his little muscles, his brain and immune system, as well as his nervous system.
- If you wake up one day and find your pup a little bigger than how he was when he slept, you can owe that one to the long nights of snoozing your pup will require on a regular basis.
- Puppies that are an average of 16 weeks old sleep around 11.2 hours to 14 hours in a day. Puppies younger than that, however, need as much as 18 to 20 hours of snoozing in a day . . . not unlike our human babies!
- From the psychological and cognitive state to immunity, energy conservation and waste removal – sleep is one of the most important aspects of your pup’s schedule! This is just as important as regular play-time and dog-walks!
While your pup is still a pup, it is your responsibility to take care of your furry friend, allowing them all that they need to grow into a strong, healthy and energetic dog. To be able to provide your new friend with everything they need, it is important to create a space for your dog where they can catch some shut-eye without any worries.
Where Should Your Puppy Sleep?
The earlier you start showing your dog a specific place in the house for nap-time, the easier it becomes for it to get accustomed to its new sleeping space.
So before you bring your pup home:
- Spend some time finding a quiet nook in the house that does not have too much movement, which can double up as a sleep spot.
- Try to make sure that the place is not prone to noises or auditory disturbances, as this can disrupt your pup’s sleep. And the side-effect is that this could affect their behaviour while they are awake.
- Get a comfortable waterproof dog bed, crate or kennel and line it with a material that would suit your pup. You might have to wait and explore different materials with your pup to recognize what it prefers – maybe a specific pillow, or cloth that can help it enjoy a good night’s rest.
It is also important to recognize that your pet will eventually find a spot meant for it as it grows older and reaches around 1 year of age. This might be different from the place you had mapped out for it but in either case, your pup will choose a spot that allows them to enjoy a comfortable and well-deserved night of rest after a whole day of fun and activity.
How Can You Help Your Furry Friend Sleep Better and Longer?
Now that you recognize how important it is to ensure your pup gets its due sleep, here are a few tips that can aid you in ensuring the dog is comfortable and well-rested.
- Try Not To Disturb the Pup
It can be difficult, trying hard not to play and cuddle with your pup and allowing it to fall asleep on you. But this can only prove to be detrimental to your puppy’s sleep schedule in the longer run. Learn to recognize when your pup requires sleep, leaving it alone and unstimulated so that it replenishes all of the spent energy.
Take the phrase “let sleeping dogs lie” quite literally and allow your pet their time. Try to also minimize any loud noises around the pup as that could potentially frighten it when its defences are down.
- Show Your Pup the Ropes
If your pup starts showing those adorable signs of actually needing a good couple of hours of sleep, gently guide it towards the spot you have created for nap-time. Doing this frequently can cause your pet to associate sleeping with that specific place in the house, causing it to return to this space when it is time to get some shut-eye. This can even help if you have a professional pet-sitter over while you are away.
You can start training it to recognize its bed the moment it comes home. Once a firm schedule has been developed, your pup will automatically cuddle into its favourite toys and blankets when it is time.
- Implement and Regularly Follow a Schedule
Creating a sleep schedule for your pup can allow it to adhere to a routine that compliments yours. If you are house-training your pup, sleep schedules are all the more important!
Try to implement regular exercise in your pup’s everyday routine, which can further boost the health benefits associated with a good night’s rest. A dog that has been exercised well, is a dog that will not have any difficulties dozing off after dinner. Add to this routine by allowing your pet to relieve themselves before they hit the sack, as this can prevent the potential for future bed-wetting situations.
Being a pet parent is challenging, albeit a fun challenge to face every day! Remember to go with the flow and allow your pup and you all the time you need, and you will have a well-rested and settled pet on your hands in no time!
Pet expert Jackie Brown has spent 12 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet industry. Her expertise includes dog and cat health, care, nutrition, feeding, grooming, behavior, and training.