How Much Do Puppies Sleep?
It's probably more than you think 💤
Puppies and human babies have a lot in common — like the fact that they both seem to sleep more than anything else.
If you’re the parent of a new puppy, you’ve probably noticed that naptime is a vital part of your pup’s daily schedule, and you may be wondering, how much do puppies actually sleep? And what can we do as pet parents to make sure they’re getting enough sleep at night (and during the day)?
The Dodo reached out to Dr. Whitney Miller, the chief veterinarian at Petco, to find out just how much sleep puppies should be getting and how to get your puppy on a sleep schedule that works for both of you.
How much sleep do puppies actually need?
Just like human babies need more sleep than human adults, puppies need more sleep than adult dogs. It takes a lot of energy to grow up and become a strong, healthy adult!
While your puppy’s sleeping, his brain is developing, his immune system is strengthening and his bones are physically growing bigger. And when he’s awake, your puppy is likely burning a lot of energy during playtime. The more he plays, the more rest he’ll need to do it all again tomorrow.
“Neonatal puppies will usually sleep 18-22 hours in their first few weeks of life,” Dr. Miller told The Dodo. “That will decrease as a puppy grows; however, even your adult dog may like to rest more than you — usually sleeping when you sleep, and then napping throughout the day.”
Though, how much sleep your dog or puppy actually gets during the day will depend on his breed. Dr. Miller noted that active breeds like herding and working dogs, for example, are less likely to nap, because they enjoy more activity throughout the day compared to other breeds.
How much do puppies sleep at 8 weeks?
After your puppy grows out of his newborn phase at around 8 weeks, he won’t need quite as much sleep — though he’ll still be sleeping a lot.
“Puppies that are around 8 weeks of age will usually sleep anywhere from 12-16 hours a day,” Dr. Miller said. And again, that includes naps and nighttime sleeping.
How much do puppies sleep at 16 weeks?
Around the 16-week mark, Dr. Miller said that puppies will likely sleep closer to 10-14 hours a day. And it’s during this time that your puppy will start to adjust his sleep schedule to revolve more around yours.
“It is unlikely that your puppy will sleep over six hours in a row as they are learning the family sleep routine, and instead will take many naps throughout the day,” Dr. Miller said. Though the more comfortable he gets with your routine, the more he’ll likely adapt to it.
Is my puppy sleeping too much?
If your puppy’s sleeping more than 10-14 hours a day after 16 weeks, then it might be time to schedule a vet appointment to figure out what’s going on — especially if your puppy seems groggy or lethargic during periods of the day when he should be active.
“Your puppy should be active during multiple periods of the day,” Dr. Miller said. “If they are lethargic even when they’re not sleeping it may be a sign they have an underlying health condition.”
She noted that lethargy paired with other symptoms like decreased eating and drinking, weight loss (or not gaining weight), intolerance to exercise, breathing issues, diarrhea, vomiting or pale gums, is likely pointing to a health issue that should be addressed by a vet ASAP.
How to make sure your puppy is getting enough sleep
“The best way to ensure your puppy gets enough sleep is to introduce them to a balanced routine that includes scheduled mealtimes, regular play with puppy-approved toys, potty breaks and a [set] bedtime,” Dr. Miller said.
The better you stick to your routine, the quicker your puppy will catch on and know when it’s time to take a nap or settle in and go to sleep.
Another great way to get your puppy on a sleep schedule is by crate training him.
“Crate training plays a crucial role in making sure your puppy gets enough rest as well, both for their final bedtime at night as well as an aid in teaching them house rules and practicing potty training,” Dr. Miller added.
Getting your puppy on a sleep schedule
Again, your puppy will catch on to your sleep schedule after a few days or weeks of learning your routine and the one you’re outlining for him. A big way to signal that it’s “quiet time” is by limiting play just before bed.
You can also teach your puppy that being in his crate means that it’s time to settle in and rest.
“Their crate should be their safe space and be in a quiet area of the house,” Dr. Miller said. “Slowly introduce your puppy to staying in the crate and give positive rewards with treats and praise when they enter the crate on cue and when they are calm being let out.”
The Dodo can help you learn more about how to crate train and what to do if and when your puppy won’t stop crying in the crate (which is actually pretty common).
With patience and dedication to the daily routine, your puppy will be on a sleep schedule that works for both of you in no time. And remember — the more activity your puppy gets during his waking hours, the better he’ll sleep at night!