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How Much Does a Puppy Sleep
                      

                       


Question:

Hi,
I just got a new dog, a 9 week old puppy, and I’m wondering just how much does a puppy sleep?

I pictured having a puppy and playing with him all of the time, going for walks and all of that. But it seems that whenever I’m ready to interact with him that he is taking a nap.

I don’t know if this is normal so I’d appreciate it if you could tell me how much sleep is normal and if this situation is going to change in time.

Thanks in advance. ~ Tammy




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Answer

Hi Tammy,

Puppies do sleep quite a bit, but also there is a medical condition that can cause sleepiness and we want to make sure that you are aware of this as well.

First, you should know that it is perfectly normal for a puppy at this young age to sleep up to 19 hours per day. The average is just around 14 hours, but since each dog is an individual, that number can indeed go up to the 19 hours…and this includes sleeping at night as well as naps throughout the day.

Most owners obtain their pup when the dog is only 8 weeks old, one must remember that while it is safe to do so, that the dog is so very young and has only very recently been taken away from its mother (dam) and its littermates.

Puppies are growing at a rapid pace at this stage and the body needs plenty of rest.  Also, the stress of the enormous change from leaving the only home that he or she knew to being in a new environment can be an emotional weight that causes him or her to require more rest.

As time goes by, you should find that your puppy is sleeping less and less, thereby giving you more time to interact, play, go for walks and whatnot during the day.  If he or she is sleeping through the night, that is actually quite wonderful. 

Right now, we would suggest taking note of when your puppy sleeps and when he seems to have sessions of being wide awake….This will help you plan on time periods in which you can play with him and establish a bond.

As he grows older, he will sleep less and less.  The average time that an adult dog sleeps is just about 12 hours and this includes both night time sleeping in which the dog is able to have the much needed REM sleep (the deep sleep that produces dreams  - and yes dogs do dream) and 1 or 2 naps during the day time.  It is rare for an adult canine to not take any naps at all on a regular basis.

Now, about the medical condition that we wanted to make sure that you are aware of. It is called hypoglycemia and that is a term that means the blood sugar level in the pup’s blood is low.  When this happens, it can cause sleepiness and weakness…untreated it can lead to coma and then it can be fatal.

Pups are most susceptible from birth to 6 months old, although in rare cases it can happen at a later time.  It can be causes by many elements, the most common being a quick change in food (it is always best to do a slow changeover if one is to be done), by not eating enough (it is highly recommended to free feed a puppy - which means that instead of scheduled meals, leave fresh food out all day so that he or she can eat whenever they wish to  - and once they are older things can change to scheduled meals) or stress can bring it on (above we talked about the stress that a puppy can go through when they go to a new home).

Be sure to follow the feeding rules and to eliminate any potential stress…For a puppy this can be a house that is too loud and busy…If there are a lot of people in the home it is best to allot a quiet corner for the puppy where they can retreat to if things seem too overwhelming.  You will also want to limit the amount of time that any children try to play with him, as they can be quite overwhelming…also they must be taught how to properly handle him and supervised when doing so.

If your puppy has been sleeping a lot since you brought him home, it is doubtful that he has hypoglycemia since it would have progressed to a dangerous level by this time.  However, it is best to be aware of this issue and to keep an eye out.  Signs of weakness often show when the puppy tries to walk and is very wobbly.  While it is normal for a pup who is, say, 3 or 4 weeks old and learning to walk, it is not normal for a 9 week old.  The quick fix to this would be to rub a bit of Karo syrup on his gums which delivers a fast shot of sugar directly into the blood stream…and then he should be taken to a vet right away.
So, to summarize things, it is indeed normal for a puppy to sleep a lot when they are this young…try to plan interaction for the times that he is awake and expect to see a gradual increase in awake time as he grows older.
 

                        

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