If you have ever owned a puppy, you probably already know how much they love being on a set schedule each day; oftentimes, our puppies will maintain a schedule even better than the ones we make for ourselves!
While sometimes it doesn’t seem this way at the beginning, a puppy who starts maintaining a schedule from an early age will likely carry on those habits and routines throughout their entire life.
Not only is a schedule helpful for a puppy, but it can be just as helpful to us owners too!
In this article, we will talk about the importance of bedtime routines for puppies, the benefits of a bedtime routine, and the best bedtime routines that work well for both puppies and owners.
If you are interested in learning more about how to get your puppy on a consistent and beneficial bedtime routine, keep reading to find out more!
What are the Benefits of a Puppy Bedtime Routine?
Having a set routine, especially when owning a puppy for the first time can be beneficial in many ways.
There are several ways that a bedtime routine for your puppy can make both the puppy, and your life easier.
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The main benefit of keeping a puppy on a consistent bedtime routine is that it will make it easier for the puppy to go to sleep, which is one of the biggest struggles that comes with owning a new puppy.
Not only will the puppy sleep better but having a set bedtime routine will also help them become consistent with their actions at night and eventually know their schedule even better than you will!
A lot of puppy owners talk about how their pup knows when it is time to eat, when it is time to go outside, go to bed, etc. this is all true!
Once a puppy is on a consistent bedtime routine schedule, they will start to realize when it is time for each step of the routine!
If you are interested in learning more about puppy sleep habits, routines, etc. check this article out: When do Puppies Sleep Through the Night (Tips & Tricks!)
What is the Best Puppy Bedtime Routine?
A lot of new puppy owners are eager to learn what the “best” routine is going to be for their puppy in particular. The truth is, all puppies are different, those who have owned puppies before will know this for a fact!
Sometimes one puppy’s schedule works great for them but will not work for a different puppy; a lot of times this has to do with their breed.
Overall, the best puppy bedtime routines have several steps that are the same including, exercise, potty break, and wind-down.
Because puppies love consistency and routines, it is best to try and keep them on the same, consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.
NOTE: Don’t worry if it takes time to get on a consistent routine, it takes time for both owners and puppies to become used to a new schedule!
One helpful method that a lot of puppy owners suggest is trying your best to get your puppy to go to bed around the same time each night.
Just like a sleep schedule can help human adults and babies, it can also help puppies too!
While all puppies are different when it comes to their preferred bedtime routine, there are certain routines that puppy owners suggest work the best. Here is a breakdown of the most useful steps to include in a puppy’s bedtime routine:
Step 1. Exercise
Puppies are known for their high energy. A lot of times, they have a hard time going to sleep, staying asleep, and simply winding down at night because of their built-up energy.
One of the best steps in a puppy’s bedtime routine that an owner can have is providing exercise opportunities for their puppy right before bed, or at least within the hour or so before their set bedtime.
The exercise that your puppy accomplishes doesn’t have to be intense, just a simple walk or playing with toys can most times help wear a puppy out enough that they get tired and are ready to sleep well.
Step 2. Snack
A lot of puppy owners have stated that they give their puppy a snack before bed. This is a great step in any bedtime routine because the puppy will know that after they have their snack, it is time for bed — just like humans, after eating, puppies will oftentimes get tired.
NOTE: Sometimes this step doesn’t always work for certain puppies. For example, if your puppy tends to get hyper over food, or is more likely to have to use the bathroom multiple times after having a snack, this might not be a step you want to include in your puppy’s bedtime routine.
Try giving your puppy a snack 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime, before a potty break, that way they will be less likely to have to use the bathroom multiple times throughout the night.
Some owners that tend to eat their dinner meals later in the day said that they like to feed their puppy its dinner while they are also eating, this helps the puppy associate dinner time with wind-down time. (They will also be less likely to beg for your food if they are distracted with their own!)
Step 3. Wind-Down
A lot of times puppies will have trouble falling and staying asleep simply because they are full of energy.
One of the best bedtime routine steps is taking time to wind down. This typically works best after wearing your puppy out (after playing, or a walk).
You could do this step many different ways depending on what you and your puppy like, and what helps them calm down the most.
Some puppy owners will dim the lights and watch some tv, not only can this be relaxing for the owner, but the puppy will begin to relax as well.
The puppy will soon begin to realize that at this point in the day, it is time to calm down and get ready for bedtime.
Step 4. Potty Break
It is common knowledge among puppy owners that taking them for a potty break before bed is one of the best ideas that you can have when establishing a bedtime routine.
Not only will the puppy go potty right before bed (and hopefully be able to sleep through the night without having to go again), but they will also begin to associate this last potty break with bedtime.
A large number of puppy owners said that the last step in their puppy’s bedtime routine is going out for one last potty break.
According to some puppy owners, this last potty break is the final indicator to their puppy that it is time for bed. Some owners even stated that their puppies will come to them when it is around time for their last potty break, this shows how much they love a routine!
Step 5. Sleeping Location
The last step in a puppy’s bedtime routine is the act of actually getting into the bed.
One question that puppy owners often face is about where their puppy should sleep at nighttime — should they sleep in the bed with them? In a crate? Etc.
If you have ever owned a puppy, or even an older dog, and have let them sleep in the bed with you, you probably know that this is quite a hard habit to break once it is started.
Usually, with puppies, the best place to have them sleep is either in a crate or in a dog bed near your own bed where they can still be close without actually being on the bed with you.
If your puppy suffers from separation anxiety, letting them sleep in the bed with you can oftentimes make their anxiety worse because they become so used to you being with them that when you do leave them alone, it causes them extreme stress.
Keeping your puppy near enough at night to help calm their anxiety but far away enough to be able to function on their own is the best way to help with this situation.
You can give them enough space while still making them feel comfortable!
NOTE: While there is no “right” order to do these steps in, It is usually best, and most recommended by puppy owners, to do the potty break step last before putting your puppy in their bed.
What is the Best Bedtime for Puppies?
There are so many different bedtime routines that puppy owners can try, but the biggest, and most important question is, what time should a puppy actually go to bed?
The time of night that a puppy goes to bed depends on each puppy and each owner. Usually, puppies need about 6–14 hours of sleep, and sometimes even longer, you should base your puppy’s bedtime on the hours of sleep it needs.
The bedtime that a puppy has usually depends on each puppy and their owner. Most puppy owners prefer getting their pup to sleep on a schedule that matches their own.
This way, the owner will avoid having to take their puppy out at random times throughout the night (which then messes up their own sleep schedule).
NOTE: A lot of times puppies won’t go to bed until their owner does. This is why it is sometimes easier for an owner to get the puppy used to their sleep schedule instead of the other way around!
While a set bedtime can play a big role in helping you and your puppy maintain a good sleep schedule, the time that the puppy goes to bed is not actually the most important part, it is really the consistency of maintaining the schedule that is making everything else work well!
Puppy Bedtime Routine Best Practices
There are many different bedtime routines that puppies can do, some work better than others.
A lot of bedtime routines will be different and work best depending on the exact age and breed of your puppy.
However, while there are many different routines that puppy owners use, there are several best practices to keep in mind when it comes to the best routines for a puppy’s bedtime.
Several best practices for puppy bedtime routines include consistency, ridding of energy, creating a calm atmosphere, and relaxing.
Here are some other important best practices for getting your puppy on a good and consistent bedtime routine:
- Don’t let your puppy get hyper right before bedtime — Instead of making your puppy hyper, try to wear them out! This will make them want to rest.
- Act calm — One thing a lot of puppy owners forget to do is to keep themselves calm. Puppies are great at sensing energy, if they notice you are wound-up, hyper, etc., chances are they will become this way too! If you act calm, your puppy will too!
- Establish a set routine — Some puppy owners have to try out multiple routines before finding one that works best for them and their puppy in particular. Don’t worry if the first routine you try doesn’t work.
- Training — Training your puppy can be one of the best ways to get them on a schedule quickly. They will be more likely to listen and maintain a schedule if they are taught and trained from the start.
NOTE: Don’t wait too long after getting your puppy to start working on a bedtime routine, it will be harder to get them on a schedule the longer you wait.
It is likely that you will notice your puppy beginning to maintain its bedtime routine even if its owner has backed off using and maintaining the schedule.
Puppies adapt so quickly that they will actually begin to enjoy their routine and stick with it for the rest of their lives.
Remember, maintaining a schedule and bedtime routine can be tricky, but don’t give up! Puppies are smart, sooner or later they will begin to adapt to whatever routine their owner has set in place.
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While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.