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How Much Do Puppies Sleep? Explaining the Sleeping Habits of Your Young Dog - PawSafe
Dog Behavior

How Much Do Puppies Sleep? Explaining the Sleeping Habits of Your Young Dog

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

how much do puppies sleep

Knowing how much puppies sleep is one of the things to cross off on your new puppy checklist. Puppies, after all, seem to have an uncanny ability to nap at any given moment. One moment, they’re zooming around with boundless energy, and the next, they’re dead asleep.

To know how long these adorable furballs need to snooze, we’ll need to look at what physiological and psychological differences between them and adults cause circadian differences.  As new puppy owners, it is essential to create a comfortable and safe napping environment and to know how much sleep is normal and when to worry about a puppy sleeping too much.

Understanding how much sleep puppies need is crucial for their health and development. We have the help of studies, such as those by Dr. Róbert Bódizs to answer all your questions on sleep behavior in puppies.

Everyone who has had puppies knows it’s a bitter-sweet experience. On the one hand, there’s all the vaccines, vulnerability to illnesses like parvo, and, of course, the merciless biting and possible house pooping. But, on the other hand, the puppy stage flies away so fast that owners can’t get enough.

It’s important to note that puppies need a lot of sleep because it’s during this time that their bodies grow and develop. During sleep, the body produces growth hormones that help with muscle and bone development. It’s also the time their brain uses to process everything they learned and experienced while awake.

In addition to nighttime sleep, puppies also need naps throughout the day. It’s important to provide them with plenty of opportunities to rest and sleep, especially after periods of play or exercise. Many also believe that smaller breeds tend to sleep more than larger breeds, just as younger puppies need more sleep than older ones.

Overall, understanding how much sleep your puppy needs is crucial for their well-being. By providing them with a comfortable sleeping environment and plenty of opportunities to rest, you can help ensure that they grow and develop properly.

Understanding Puppy Patterns of Sleeping

Puppies sleep often, and their sleep patterns differ from adult dogs. Understanding these patterns can help owners provide the best care for their pups.

Puppies have shorter sleep cycles than adult dogs, which means they wake up more frequently during the night. They also have more REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the stage of sleep where dreams occur. This is important for their mental development and learning.

Sleep Duration and Behaviors is the main study informing puppy sleeping habits. The study of puppies aged between 16 weeks and 12 months found that the 16-week-old puppies slept for much longer during the day compared to the 12-month-old ones. However, the 16-week-old puppies slept less at night. 

Another PubMed article showed that sleep patterns can show a dog’s ability to cope with their environment. So, pattern changes like suddenly sleeping with eyes open, restlessness, excessive sleep location changes, and wakefulness can tell you what’s going on with your pup.

While puppies clearly snooze a lot, especially by our human standards, sometimes the sleep can be a bit fishy. Check out our article on puppies sleeping a lot and not eating if you’re suspicious of their shut-eye.

Let’s get into what determines how much your puppy dozes off.

Factors Influencing How Much a Puppy Sleeps

Puppies sleep a lot, and the amount of sleep they need varies depending on several factors. Here are some of the main factors that can influence how much a puppy sleeps:

1. Age

Age is one of the most significant factors influencing how much a puppy sleeps. Newborn puppies sleep for about 90% of the day, and as they grow older, they gradually sleep less. By the time a puppy is six months old, they usually sleep for around 16-20 hours a day. Older dogs may sleep even less, but this varies depending on the breed and individual dog.

Additionally, as we noted above, younger puppies nap more during the day than they sleep at night compared to older ones.

2. Breed

Different breeds of dogs have different sleep requirements. Some breeds are more active than others and may need more sleep to recover from their activities. For example, breeds bred for hunting or herding may need more sleep as their bodies recover than those bred for guarding or companionship.

3. Activity Level

The activity level of a puppy can also influence how much they sleep. More active puppies (more like naughty) during the day may need more sleep to recover. Those who are less active may need less sleep. Activity also includes mental stimulation, training, and human interaction.

It’s important to note that puppies need plenty of exercise and playtime to stay healthy and happy and plenty of rest.

4. Health

A puppy’s health can also affect how much they sleep. Generally, puppies do everything more than adults. They pee more, poop more, play more, and definitely stress you a lot more. So they will automatically sleep longer.

Puppies that are sick or in pain may sleep more than usual, while healthy and active people may sleep slightly less. However, because puppies sleep a lot regardless, it’s better to rely on other symptoms like inappetence and vomiting to show health.

5. Environment

The environment in which a puppy lives can also influence how much they sleep. Puppies that live in noisy or stressful environments may have trouble sleeping, while those that live in calm and quiet environments may sleep more soundly. A study on 16 dogs showed that interferences and negative (positive) experiences affected sleep.

6. Diet

Nutrition plays a role in a puppy’s energy levels and overall health. Eating habits have been proven to affect a dog’s sleep, just like how bad diet habits can leave you feeling groggy. Proper nutrition can help maintain an appropriate balance of activity and rest, while low-quality carb-dense diets cause tiredness.

7. Stress and Anxiety

Puppies may sleep more when they are stressed or anxious. Changes in their environment or separation anxiety can impact their sleep.

8. Social Interaction

 Puppies are social animals and may sleep more if they lack social stimulation. Engaging with your puppy through play and interaction can affect their sleep patterns. You can see this when 86% of dogs would choose to spend time with a loved one instead of napping.

How Age Affects Puppy Sleep

Puppies, like human babies, require a lot of sleep. However, the amount of sleep they need varies depending on their age. In this section, we will explore how age affects puppy sleep.

Newborn Puppies

Newborn puppies sleep for most of the day and sleep in short bursts, waking up only to nurse and then quickly returning to sleep. Newborn puppies can sleep for up to 22 hours a day.

Three to Four-Month-Old Puppies

By the time puppies are three to four months old, they start to develop a more regular sleep pattern. They still sleep for around 18-20 hours a day but are more active when awake. They may take naps throughout the day but have more playtime and may stay awake for longer periods.

Six Months and Beyond

Once puppies reach six months old, they typically sleep for around 14-18 hours a day. They may still take naps throughout the day, but they are more active when they are awake. Puppies at this age may also start to sleep through the night without waking up to go to the bathroom.

How Much Do Puppies Sleep By Age

The amount of sleep a puppy needs varies based on their age, as shown below.

Sleep Requirements By Age

Here is a table showing the average amount of sleep a puppy needs by age:

AgeHours of Sleep
1 week oldAbout 22 hours
2 weeks old20-22 hours
3 weeks old20-22 hours
4 weeks old20-22 hours
5 weeks old20-22 hours
6 weeks old20-22 hours
7 weeks old20-22 hours
8 weeks old20-22 hours
9 weeks old20-22 hours
10 to 12 weeks old18-22 hours
4 months old18-20 hours
5 months old18-20 hours
6 months old16-20 hours

How Much Puppies Sleep By Breed

Different breeds of puppies have different sleep patterns and requirements. Some breeds are more active and require more exercise, while others are more laid back and may sleep for longer periods of time. 

Keep in mind, how much a puppy sleeps during the day is also affected by how much energy the breed generally has.

A Belgian Malinois or a Border Collie puppy may be far too active and energetic to want to sleep much, whereas a Bulldog puppy may have a much easier time settling down to have a nap.

Here are some general guidelines for how much puppies sleep by breed. However, note that a lot more research is needed to back these guidelines.

Small Breeds

Small breeds tend to sleep more than larger breeds. They may sleep up to 18 hours a day, with short periods of activity in between. This is because smaller dogs have faster metabolisms and burn energy more quickly and due to their smaller brain mass. So they may very active for short bursts, but also more prone to taking quick naps.

Medium Breeds

Medium breeds typically sleep for 16-18 hours a day. They are generally more active than small breeds and require more exercise to burn off their energy. Breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, and Border Collies fall into this category.

Large Breeds

Large breeds tend to sleep for around 12 to 16 hours a day due to their large brain mass and slower metabolism. They require more exercise than smaller breeds but can also handle longer periods of activity. Breeds such as Great Danes, Mastiffs, and St. Bernards are considered large to giant breeds.

It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines, and individual puppies may vary in their sleep needs. Additionally, puppies may sleep more than adult dogs due to their rapid growth and development. 

Importance of Sleep for Puppy Health

Puppies need a lot of sleep, not just because they’re cute when they’re snoozing. Sleep is essential for a puppy’s health and well-being. In fact, puppies can sleep up to 20 hours a day, depending on their age and breed.

During sleep, a puppy’s body is hard at work repairing and growing. Sleep helps to boost the immune system and promote healthy brain development and a robust immune system. Puppies who don’t get enough sleep may be more prone to illness and behavioral problems.

Sleep is also important for a puppy’s mental health. Just like humans, puppies need time to process and consolidate their experiences. Sleep helps to solidify memories and promote learning.

Additionally, sleep plays a crucial role in the physical recovery of dogs. During deep sleep stages, tissues and muscles are repaired, and energy stores are replenished. This is particularly important for active dogs or those recovering from injuries.

Finally, quality sleep supports cognitive function in dogs. It helps with memory consolidation, problem-solving, and learning.

Tips for Regulating Puppy Sleep

It’s essential to regulate a pup’s sleep so they don’t oversleep or become too restless. Here are some tips for regulating your puppy’s sleep:

Creating a Sleep Schedule

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule can help regulate your puppy’s sleep. This means setting specific times for naps and bedtime and sticking to them as closely as possible. Puppies generally need 18-20 hours of sleep per day, so make sure to schedule plenty of nap time throughout the day.

Creating a Comfortable Sleep Environment

Creating a comfortable sleep environment can also help regulate your puppy’s sleep. Make sure their bed is in a quiet, dark, and relaxing area of the house. Consider using a crate to create a cozy den-like space for your puppy to sleep in. You can also use a soft blanket or bed to make their sleeping area more comfortable.

Managing Night-Time Sleep

Managing your puppy’s night-time sleep is vital to ensure they get enough rest without disturbing your own sleep. Consider keeping your puppy in a crate or confined area at night to prevent them from wandering around and disrupting your sleep. You can also try playing calming music or using a white noise machine to help them sleep more soundly.

By following these tips, you can help regulate your puppy’s sleep and ensure they get the rest they need to grow and develop properly.

When to Consult a Veterinarian About Your Puppy’s Sleeping

While it is normal for puppies to sleep a lot, excessive sleepiness or lethargy and not eating can be a sign of a health issue. If a puppy sleeps more than 20 hours a day or is difficult to wake up, it may be a cause for concern.

Other signs to look out for include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in behavior. If a puppy shows any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Additionally, if a puppy is not sleeping well or seems to be in pain while sleeping, it may be a sign of a health issue. Puppies may also have trouble sleeping if they are in an uncomfortable environment or if they are experiencing stress.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many hours of sleep should a 3-month-old puppy get at night?

A 3-month-old puppy should get around 18-20 hours of sleep per day, with a majority of that sleep occurring during the night. Puppies at this age may still need to go out for potty breaks at night, so it’s essential to be prepared for that.

How much sleep is normal for a 4-month-old puppy?

A 4-month-old puppy should get around 18-20 hours of sleep per day, with most of that sleep occurring during the night. Puppies at this age still need to go out for potty breaks during the night, but they may also be able to hold it for longer.

What is the average amount of sleep for an 8-month-old puppy?

An 8-month-old puppy should get around 16-18 hours of sleep per day, mostly at night. Puppies at this age may be able to hold it for longer at night, so they may not need to go out for potty breaks as frequently.

How long can a 13-week-old puppy sleep at night?

A 13-week-old puppy can typically sleep for around 6 hours at night without needing to go out for a potty break. However, it’s important to monitor the puppy’s behavior and adjust the schedule as necessary.

How much do 9-week-old puppies sleep?

A 9-week-old puppy should get around 18-20 hours of sleep per day. Puppies at this age may still need to go out for potty breaks during the night, so it’s essential to be prepared for that.

How much do 14-week-old puppies sleep during the day?

A 14-week-old puppy may sleep for around 8-10 hours during the day, depending on their activity level. It’s important to provide a comfortable and safe space for the puppy to rest during the day.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, puppies sleep a lot. The amount of sleep they need varies depending on their age, breed, and activity level. Newborn puppies can sleep up to 22 hours a day, while adult dogs may need only 12 to 18 hours of sleep per day. If you notice your puppy sleeping more than usual or having trouble sleeping, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.