How Long Do Puppies Sleep? Fact Checked by our Vet
So, you have a new puppy in your life? As soon as we welcome a puppy into our home, the questions start piling up. One of those, perhaps unexpected, questions relate to the amount of sleep puppies should get. How long do puppies sleep for?
Some pet parents feel their puppies are sleeping all the time. To others, they look too hyperactive, waking up multiple times a night and going as crazy as ever. Is any of this normal? Today’s guide will help you better understand your pup’s sleeping habits and help you maintain a healthy sleeping schedule.
How Many Hours Do Puppies Sleep?
At the time when they arrive to their new homes, which is usually around 8 weeks of age, puppies typically need between 18 and 20 hours of sleep (1). That might sound like a lot, but it’s completely normal.
Related: Dog Sleeping Positions & What They Mean.
The number of hours might not seem so extreme if we consider that adult dogs also sleep quite a lot. In fact, adult dogs spend about half of their day sleeping, and even when they are not, they tend to spend a lot of time just lying down and chilling (2).
While adult dogs typically sleep through the night, they don’t sleep in one huge block of time like humans. Rather, they sleep as needed throughout the day. Puppies do the same, only they sleep even longer.
It’s important to note that the 18 to 20 hours number is not set in stone. How much do puppies sleep at 8 weeks of age? In short, as long as they want to and typically most of the day. As they start getting older, they will gradually need less and less sleep. The optimal sleeping time can also depend on the breed of the dog.
Why Do Puppies Sleep So Much?
Sleep is simply the nature of every dog. No mammal can function without sleep. It is the time when our bodies rest and regenerate. Only humans have busy schedules and try to cut down on sleep all the time, but dogs don’t. They simply sleep whenever they can.
One of the reasons why puppies sleep so much is simply because they are tired:
“Young dogs race around, exploring everything and burning up all kinds of energy. Then, they crash and sleep hard until their body has recovered and is ready for another bout of play.” - Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM,PetMD (2)
Just think about it, every puppy is learning something new all the time. Not only are they constantly learning about the world, but they are also incredibly physically active. And then, on top of that, their bodies are growing intensely.
“Daytime activities can impact a dog's sleep. For example, when dogs learn new commands, it affects their brain activity during REM and non-REM sleep. Emotional events also affect a dog’s sleep patterns. After a negative experience, dogs tend to fall asleep more quickly, sleep longer, and spend more time in REM sleep. Dogs who are more active, spending time on walks and with other dogs and humans, fall asleep faster and spend more time in deep sleep.” - Alison Deshong, Sleep.org (3)
In short, puppies and adult dogs respond to pretty much any event in life by sleeping it off. So, it shouldn’t surprise us that puppies sleep that much.
Is My Puppy Sleeping Too Much?
No, they most likely aren’t. Young puppies should sleep as much as they want and need to, and it is highly unlikely they are sleeping too much, even if they are only awake only a couple of hours per day.
Related: Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?
The only situation where there might be a reason to worry is if your puppy suddenly starts sleeping much more than usual. Some health conditions and diseases can make a dog sleep for excessive amounts of time, but this is far more common in adult dogs than in puppies.
Is My Puppy Not Sleeping Enough?
On the other side of the coin, some pet parents worry that their pups aren’t getting enough sleep. For example, you might have heard that dogs should sleep at least 18 hours (as we mentioned above) but your pup is getting only 14 hours of sleep per day? While it is understandable to get worried about such issues, there is no need to micromanage your pup’s sleeping schedule if they seem happy and healthy overall.
Related: Why Won't My Dog Sleep at Night?
The answer to the question of how much puppies should sleep is not very exact. The same thing might not work for every puppy. Just like people, they can have different temperaments. Besides, some breeds, like shepherd dogs, for example, are known to be more active and typically sleep a bit less than others.
Is It Normal for Puppies to Wake Up at Night?
Yes, it is quite normal for young puppies to wake up at night. Up until the time when they move into a new home, puppies usually spend all their time with their mom and their littermates. When they are brought into their home, they will be missing the warmth and heartbeat of their mom, which might cause them to wake up at night.
Related: How To Get Your Dog To Sleep Through The Night.
Moreover, young puppies are used to eating and going potty whenever they need to. They don’t have a concept of day and night, so that is something to consider when trying to understand them better.
However, once your puppy arrives at your home, it’s time to start introducing routines into their lives. If your puppy goes crazy in the middle of the night, it’s not something to worry about too much, but your goal should be to eventually get them to eventually sleep through the night.
If the puppy is whining and overall seems anxious at night, it might be possible to help them by making the crate comfier or perhaps offering a nice soft toy they will learn to love.
How to Ensure Your Puppy Gets Quality Sleep
While 8-week-old puppies don’t strictly need to sleep 18 hours per day, it’s important to ensure they can get as much sleep as they need. And this is not just about bedtime, it’s about your puppy having a balanced life overall.
For starters, routines and schedules can do a lot to help young puppies. That doesn’t mean you have to track every minute when they are sleeping and try to enforce a strict schedule. Instead, try to slowly teach your puppy when it’s time for play and when it’s time for bed. Make sure to crate, walk, and feed your puppy at the same time each day to establish routines.
Puppies often need to take naps during the day. To be able to do this, they might need a peaceful area where they are not disturbed, like a bed or a crate in a quiet corner. Your puppy must know where to go when it’s time to sleep.
Related: Best Puppy Beds.
In general, it helps a lot to teach your puppy to love their crate or bed early on. Make it inviting use soft blankets, perhaps a plush toy or two. Surround the dog with familiar objects. If the puppy learns to be relaxed in their own space, they will be able to go to sleep with ease.
Related: How To Help Your Dog Sleep.
How much do puppies sleep? The short answer is a lot. It’s completely normal for your puppy to sleep up to 20 hours when they are young, but there is also no need to worry unless the puppy is showing signs of being stressed and overtired.
By the time they are 6 months old, puppies should fall into a more adult-like sleeping schedule. The period before that can be frustrating, but it’s also the cutest time of puppy life, so enjoy it while it lasts!
- Reisen, J. August 15, 2019. “How to Make Sure Your Puppy Gets Enough Sleep”. AKC. Retrieved April 26, 2022. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/how-much-do-puppies-sleep/
- Mitchell, S. C, October 04, 2021. “How Many Hours Does a Dog Sleep in a Day?”. PetMD. Retrieved April 27, 2022. https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/how-many-hours-does-dog-sleep-day
- Deshong, A. January 21, 2022. “How Much Do Dogs Sleep?”. Sleep.org. Retrieved April 27, 2022. https://www.sleep.org/sleep-questions/how-much-do-dogs-sleep/