Should I Wake My Puppy Up To Eat?

You adopt (or buy) a cute, cuddly and funny puppy and no one is happier than you.

Puppy will bring a lot of fun time and laughs into your life, and while is common to think that there will be nothing but fun, it’s not always as it seems.

A puppy requires a lot of care and time and there is a lot of question that goes through your mind. For example, should I wake my puppy up to eat or should I let sleeping dogs lie?

Don’t worry, after reading this article, you’ll learn everything you need about that.

Puppy’s Healthy Development

When so young, puppies are almost like children, you need to devote a lot of your time to them. For the right development, they should be provided with the right amount of water, food, sleep and play.

If you bring a new pup for the first time to your home, there are a lot of things you need to learn about them.

puppy on blanket

You’ll notice that your little buddy sleeps a lot and there is a good reason for that. Puppies grow pretty fast and that happens when they are in deep sleep.

Important Fact

Your new puppy will need about 18-20 hours of sleep a day, along with 3-4 mealtime breaks. Of course, that will change as your pet gets older.

But what to do when one of their naps happens during meal time? They need to eat frequently, so what’s the best thing to do?

Factors To Consider Before Waking Up Your Pup

Don’t worry, you aren’t alone, many pup owners ask themselves the same question. Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t straightforward. But we’ll explain it to you.

There is no one answer because several factors will determine what’s the best to do:

  • your puppy age
  • the time of the day
  • their general health
  • how long they’ve gone without food.

There will be times when it’s okay to leave them to sleep as well as times when food will be more important than sleep. Let’s look at each of these factors separately.

Your Puppy Age

In their first week of life, the newborn puppies will nurse at least every two hours. If you have that young pup, you’ll need to bottle-feed the puppies using commercial milk formulas. Then it’s best not to wake them up for feeding.

During their first weeks of life, puppies should double or triple their body weight.

2 week puppy

An 8-week-old puppy can go up to 8 hours without eating. If they didn’t eat for 8 hours, wake them up and feed them. Also, they will be in need of more food.

When puppies are 10 weeks old (and younger), they need to eat 3 to 4 times a day. In that case, it is perfectly fine to wake the pup up to eat. They will probably go to sleep after eating.

Also, if your puppy’s daytime nap lasts longer than 4-5 hours (meaning, he is without food for that period), feel free to wake them up for feeding time.

However, during the night, you can leave them to sleep, because that’s the time when they’ll sleep the longest. Most likely, they will wake up at least once during the night to eat and that means, and so will you. 😀

one month puppy

When it comes to a 12-week or 3-month-old puppy, they can go for up to 12 hours without eating, but that’s not recommended. They should have 4 meals a day, but you don’t have to wake them up anymore.

As they get older, they don’t need to eat so often. By the age of about 6 months, they will need only two meals a day.

To conclude, puppies between 4 to 10 weeks of age should be woken up to eat.

It is essential to listen to the recommendations of your vet as different breeds and sizes need different amounts and frequencies of feeding.

The Time Of Day

Considering the time of day is important when thinking about waking up your beloved pet.

That especially applies to situations when it’s his last meal of the day. That young (having just a few weeks) puppy shouldn’t go to long sleep without a meal. Puppies can easily become malnourished and develop certain health issues.

morning puppy

When it comes to morning or midday meals, here you have a little more room to wait for your puppy to wake up.

But don’t wait for too long, that will ruin the rest of the day’s schedule. Puppies require regular meals with sufficient calories for their age.

Their General Health

This one is very important, if your puppy struggles with a certain medical condition (for example, if he is underweight), then you should consider his individual needs.

sick puppy

Be in touch with your vet and inform them about your pup’s condition.

Period Without Food

We already mention this factor in the section above. If your 8-10 week-old puppy sleeps for 4-5 hours, you should wake him up and feed him.

If he’s older, about 4 months, you don’t have to wake him up.

How To Wake Up Your Puppy?

You should take care of how you do it so as not to scare them. You should be tone conscious, and try to maintain a soft and quiet voice.

They will wake up when hearing their name.

If not, try with a gentle touch on their back.

puppy yawn

Once your canine friend is awake, let it come to you. Don’t pick him up – that will allow your puppy to wake up completely.

Do You Have a Puppy On Schedule?

Having and sticking with a schedule that includes regular naps, feeding, potty breaks and playtime will make everything more predictable and easier. Your puppy will quickly adapt to the routine.

puppy waits

Not having an established routine is the main reason why many dog owners have trouble handling their puppies. The more consistent you’ll be with that routine, the better will be for both – you and your dog.

That routine will help you to do other daily tasks, also your puppy will learn what to expect from you. Win-win situation. 😉

Scheduling all puppy’s needs will help you immensely.

When To Call a Vet?

If you are worried about puppy eating frequency (or behavior in general) and don’t know what to do, call your vet. They will explain to you what’s normal behavior and when you should intervene.


Here are signs when you must call your vet:

  • Once you establish a routine, your puppy refuses to eat (or even drink) when awake
  • Your pup sleeps more than before and when he’s awake, he seems lethargic.
  • Puppy has diarrhea or vomiting
  • Your puppy has a fever

The mentioned signs can cause prolonged sleeping periods, so watch your puppy so you can notice if he sleeps too much.

To Sum Up

Having a dog means a lot of fun and laughter. However, not taking things like feeding, potty breaks, napping, and playtime seriously can lead to many problems. Should I wake my puppy up to eat is one of those things. As you could see, the answer depends on many factors such as puppy age and time of the day.

Diane has a Master’s degree in Economy. Her work experience began in 2016. when she graduated and got her first job in the pet company. The interest in pets and animals was increasing over time and finally, she decided to write about pets. On Petovly, her domain is dogs, cats, hamsters, and guinea pigs. She is in touch with many experts who share their professional knowledge with her helping her to complete the articles.