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My 10-week-old puppy sleeps a lot – is this normal? Quite often I check to see if she’s breathing, because she goes into a deep sleep throughout the day, in between periods of intense activity. Her explosive bursts of energy last for 10 minutes or so, then she lies down again as if exhausted. Should I wake her during the day so that she sleeps at night – although she usually goes through the night without a murmur too!

Sue Gilmore advises…

The sleep pattern you describe seems to be perfectly normal for a growing puppy. Sleeping through the night indicates that she is getting adequate rest, and having naps during the day between bursts of energy is exactly what dogs do – they rest in readiness for activity. Going back to before the time when dogs were domesticated, they had to have vast reserves of energy to hunt prey and survive, and it’s a latent characteristic of our pet dogs that they do the same. Most dogs are ready to go on a walk at any time of the day or night; if something stimulates their interest, they’re ready for action.

Puppies grow very quickly – they go from birth to maturity within 18 months for large breeds, 12 months for smaller breeds. Contrast that with human babies, who take roughly 12 years to reach adolescence. It takes a lot of energy to grow, so sleep is an essential mechanism to conserve energy in all young animals, be they human or canine.

You’ve noticed that your puppy is full of energy and into everything one minute, and the next minute she’s sound asleep. It’s all perfectly normal, but if you have any doubts about your puppy, do check with your vet. Better safe than sorry.

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