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How to Establish a Sleep Schedule for Your New Puppy

You guys know I love dogs. I raised my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Echo, for thirteen years, and my puppy Drummer is the latest tri-colored addition to our little family! I’ve learned a lot over that time period, but let’s address the main question you’re probably wondering about: what time should a puppy go to bed?

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Well, whether you’re planning on starting off the new year with a new puppy or already have one in your home, you’ll have to be prepared to make the commitment. Just like human babies, puppies can take quite a bit to adjust to their new home.

Drummer

Replacing any potentially harmful plants around your home with puppy-safe artificial alternatives is a great start, but there’s a lot more that goes into successfully raising a puppy. Still, with a proper sleep schedule, you can set them up for success right from the get-go, so let’s discuss!

What Time Should a Puppy Go to Bed?

specific times

Well, the good news is that there aren’t any specific times that puppies need to go to bed. The most important things to keep in mind are sleep consistency and making sure your pup gets enough hours of sleep overall.

Although puppies are little balls of energy when they’re awake, they actually can sleep up to twenty hours each day when they’re young. This is important, as sleep helps them grow, stay healthy, and maintain a strong immune system.

As they age, puppies need less sleep. Unfortunately, this means you’ll have a few different sleep schedules to switch through before you finally settle on their “final” sleep schedule.

Sleep Requirements by Age For What Time Should a Puppy Go to Bed

puppy

We already know that adult dogs need anywhere from eight to thirteen and a half hours of sleep every day, but how much would an eight week old puppy need? What about a puppy at twelve weeks old?

Here’s a quick little outline of how much sleep your new canine friend will need according to their age.

AgeHours of Sleep Required
8 Weeks18 to 20 hours per day
12 Weeks18 to 20 hours per day
Six Month16 to 18 hours per day
One Year8 to 13.5 hours per day

Do You Know How Long Your Puppy Sleeps Already?

much sleep what time should a puppy go to bed

Rather than asking what time should a puppy go to bed, we should be asking what time our puppies get tired. Youur puppy won’t get much sleep in the early days of being at a new home, especially on its first night.

Still, it’s worth paying attention to your puppy’s sleep schedule for a bit. Figuring out when they tend to get tired will make it much easier to establish a consistent and manageable sleep schedule moving forward.

Puppies tend to sleep more in the daytime than they do at night. Still, knowing when your pup tends to get tired is extremely useful, especially for getting into a nighttime routine. Pay attention to bathroom breaks as well, since getting up to let them out will definitely be part of your routine (at least for the near future).

Making the Most of Your “Awake Time” and Understanding What Time Should a Puppy Go to Bed

short walk
Photo by Andrew Schultz on Unsplash

Simply taking a short walk might be enough to tucker out some older dogs. However, as new puppy owners, you’ll need to be ready to provide your new pet with all the physical activities it can take.

Puppies love playing with their new family. Fortunately, this is also a great time to start training them. Not only will this give them attention, physical activity, and mental stimulation, but it also allows them to be better prepared for life as an adult dog.

That said, you don’t need to make your puppy’s entire day about training alone. Switch things up between short walks, training, and just playing around to ensure your puppy is tired come night time.

The Importance of a Consistent Eating Schedule

eating schedule

An important part of establishing a solid puppy sleep schedule is setting a consistent eating schedule! Young puppies never make it all the way through the night without needing to go potty, but knowing when—or when not—to feed them can help make nights go by a lot easier.

Just like keeping them from chewing on your favorite comforter, getting meal time to go smoothly is a challenge on its own. On the plus side, dogs are creatures of routine. With enough repetition, your puppy should be able to adapt to its new eating schedule.

A bonus tip? Watch your puppy while it eats! Food aggression often develops when a dog is young. By catching it early, you can correct it before it becomes an ongoing issue. This is also a good time to teach them they’ll need to wait for food to be served, rather than simply pouncing on you for food.

Don’t Feed Your Pup Too Late

young pup

You’ll definitely want to know when to stop feeding your new puppy if you’re hoping to make it through most nights with limited accidents. Thankfully, you have a bit of leeway here, so you can just experiment around to see what will work best for your young pup.

Generally, I recommend taking away food and water about an hour or two before bedtime. This will ensure they’re fed and hydrated without making them have to go immediately after settling in for the night.

Setting Up the Sleeping Area for Success

safe place

Lots of people enjoy falling asleep with their favorite pets right next to them. However, this can be an issue when you’re trying to settle down for a relaxing read in your smaller bedroom with a larger bed and your puppy decides you’re its new favorite chew toy.

For that reason, you might want to consider crate training instead. Using a ​dog crate helps them establish a clear sleep schedule, while also giving you a bit of a break from their canine antics. You already know what time should a puppy go to bed, but how do you set them up for sleep success?

Well to avoid them suffering from a lack of sleep, you’ll need to ensure their dog bed is comfortable, dark, and complete with toys & a blanket to keep them entertained. This safe place should give them enough to get them through the night.

Pro tip: invest in a handheld vacuum to help keep their crate free of dirt and debris!

A Helpful Hint

sleep time what time should a puppy go to bed what time should a puppy go to bed

Aside from keeping extra blankets on hand, it’s also a good idea to consider the lighting situation once sleep time comes around. Interior lighting might look amazing, but it will surely work against your puppy when they’re trying to sleep.

Of course, natural light can be an issue as well. Dogs tend to fall asleep and wake up with the light. Installing window drapes can help your puppy stay asleep—or, at least, stay in bed—for a bit longer.

Then they’ll be all right and rested for their next play session!

The Importance of Potty Breaks

young puppy

Chances are, your puppy pal will need at least one potty break throughout the night. Since you know what time should a puppy go to bed, it’s also important to know when they’re most likely to need a potty break. 

It’s actually not that hard to guess! Generally, a puppy can hold their bladder for about the same number of hours as months old they are, plus one more. Need a clearer answer? Here’s a quick example.

Let’s say you have a sixteen-week-old puppy. It can probably hold its bladder for about five hours: one for each month, plus an extra one! Of course, this isn’t always the case. Some can hold it for longer, and some can’t hold it as much. 

Approach this on a case-by-case basis, using this information as a starting point.

Avoiding Bad Habits

young dogs

Much like small children, young dogs would rather get up and play than stay in bed and get enough sleep. This means that pup sleep is often interrupted by puppy cries, which might worry some owners.

Well, wanting to play is one reason they might cry, but needing toilet breaks is another. You should always let your puppy out if you think it needs to go to the bathroom but don’t give in if they clearly just want to play.

If they’ve just gone out and are still whining then it’s time to set some clear boundaries. Keep them in there until they settle down and go to bed. Once it’s time to get up again, you can let them out to enjoy the new day!

Now That You Know What to Do…

daily routine what time should a puppy go to bed

It’s time to put that knowledge into practice! I know, it’s not easy to establish a consistent daily routine, ensure your puppy gets a lot of sleep, and still fit in your daily required activities at the same time. This is especially true if it’s your first time owning a puppy, but I promise, you can do it.

Whether you’re trying to keep them from peeing on your beautiful rug, stop barking at anything that moves, or settle down for the night, a puppy is sure to challenge you. Still, the payoff is extremely worth it, especially when you end up with a reliable puppy partner who’s always there by your side!

Well, I know I didn’t exactly answer the question “what time should a puppy go to bed”, but I think you know enough now to figure out the right time for your particular pup. Was this information helpful, and do you have any tips to add? Let me know all about you and your adorable fur babies in the comments below!


What Time Should a Puppy Go to Bed: Frequently Asked Questions

young puppy

Is 7pm too early for puppy bedtime?

7pm isn’t necessarily too early for a young puppy to go to bed, but it might be too early for your young puppy to go to bed. I suggest monitoring your puppy to see what time they tend to get tired, and basing their new schedule on your initial observations.

Should I ignore my puppy crying at night?

Experts are pretty split on this one! While some say you should soothe your puppy, others say not to. Ultimately, if it’s the middle of the night, I’d first try to see if your puppy has to go to the bathroom first.

Once that’s done, you can decide on a plan of action. While it’s fine to comfort your puppy a lot during the first few days, I would personally recommend giving them some time to settle back down. You can help reduce their crying by providing them with blankets and bed-safe toys while they get used to this new sleeping arrangement.

Should I put a blanket over my dog’s crate?

For some dogs, covering their cage is a good idea. Doing so reduces visual stimulation and can help with barking and anxiety. That said, make sure that you’re using a breathable material to cover the crate.

When should I stop crating my dog at night?

There’s no set time for this. In fact, many people continue crating their dogs even when they’re full grown! Essentially, it comes down to this: do you trust your dog not to eat your indoor plants while you slumber?

I’d recommend continuing your puppy sleep schedule in a crate until they’re one to two years old, at which point you can consider the idea of not crating your dog at night.

Should crate be in bedroom or living room?

The best place—if you have the space—to put the ​puppy’s crate is in the bedroom, assuming you have a quiet corner. This will help the puppy adjust as they know they have someone nearby. As a bonus, you’ll easily be able to hear when they need to go out.

That said, if the bedroom isn’t doable then the living room will work just fine.

Should I put a pee pad in my puppy’s crate?

No, please don’t do this! It might seem like you’re making their life easier while keeping your hardwood floors safe, but doing this is actually counterintuitive and will hurt all of your potty training efforts. Rather than learning to wait until they’re outside to go, your puppy will most likely assume that it’s safe to pee in their crate, which isn’t ideal.

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