How Long Do Puppies Sleep: Puppy Sleep Patterns by Age

Pet care & safety
How Much Do Puppies Sleep?

As with human babies, puppies need quite a bit more sleep than adult dogs. Very young puppies (less than 2 weeks old) sleep around 90% of the time. That’s almost 22 hours out of a 24-hour period. As a veterinarian, I have had more than one little pup fall asleep on the exam table during a puppy checkup.

How Much Sleep Do Puppies Need? 

As puppies get older, they sleep less. The average 4-month-old puppy sleeps a little over 11 hours in a 24-hour period, and the average adult sleeps 10-11 hours in a 24-hour period. While the total amount of sleep for older puppies and adults seems roughly the same, keep in mind that naps are a bigger portion of the puppy sleep schedule. Adult dogs tend to sleep longer at night with short naps during the day, whereas puppies tend to nap more and for longer periods during the day and sleep less at night. 

How Many Hours a Day Do Puppies Sleep? And When? 

Napping during the day is near constant in puppies less than 2 weeks of age and averages around 3.5 hours spread out in multiple naps throughout the day in older puppies (i.e. those around 4 months of age). Adult dogs may nap for up to 3 hours total during the day, depending on their age and activity level. More frequent nap times in puppies are likely caused by the hard work of growing, learning new skills, and adapting to the life of a well-cared-for and loved family dog. The more excitement and stimulation a puppy experiences, the more sleep he might need. It’s not uncommon for a puppy to fall asleep right after playing, eating, or visiting with other people and animals.

So How Long Do Puppies Sleep by Age? 

It’s essential to monitor the sleep duration of puppies at different stages of their development. Proper rest ensures their steady growth and overall well-being. Here are the sleep recommendations or expectations based on age, along with helpful tips to maintain a healthy sleep routine: 

  • Less than 2 weeks old: Newborn puppies require around 90% of sleep in a 24-hour period, which is almost 22 hours. At this stage, puppies are spending the majority of their time nursing and sleeping. It’s crucial to keep the sleep area warm, quiet, and secure for the newborn puppies. 

  • 7-8 weeks old: Puppies at this age need 18-20 hours of sleep per day. As they transition to a new home, create a secure, comfortable, and designated sleep environment to ease their adaptation to new surroundings. Consider providing a crate or enclosed bed area with soft bedding and minimal distractions. 

  • 4 months old: At this age, puppies tend to sleep a little over 11 hours every day. Four-month-old puppies are more active, learning new skills, and engaging in social interactions. Establish a consistent routine that incorporates playtime, mental stimulation, potty breaks, and meal times to help them have restful and adequate sleep. 

  • 5 months and older: As puppies continue to grow, they require 10-11 hours of sleep. Puppies at this age have a more settled routine, with longer nighttime sleep and shorter daytime naps. Offer opportunities for physical exercise and activities during their awake hours to help them maintain a balanced sleep schedule and tire them out before bedtime. 

Remember that individual puppies can have different sleep requirements, and that sleep times will vary widely by breed. It is important to observe and adjust to your puppy’s unique patterns and needs, supporting their overall health and growth. 

Getting Your Puppy to Sleep Through the Night

If you’re trying to learn how to get your puppy to sleep through the night, remember that bathroom habits are a big factor in when and how often he wakes up. By 4-5 months, most puppies are able to get a good night’s sleep without having to use the bathroom. Until then, puppies may wake up with an urge to go out more than once a night. To encourage sleeping through the night as much as possible, consider the following:

Provide a comfortable, sleep-friendly environment.

A crate or sleeping area that is kept in a quiet region of the house is a great place for sleep as it will minimize distractions that might keep your pup from sleeping well. Soothing music or white noise may also be helpful.

Offer a puppy-safe chew toy to snuggle with and bedding that is not easily torn up.

In very young puppies, a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel can mimic snuggling with littermates, providing them with comfort and promoting better sleep.

Ensure plenty of activity and stimulation throughout the day to help encourage resting at night.

This includes playing with toys, teaching simple commands, and introducing him to new things. Be aware that too much activity can be harmful- young puppies are not ready for the types of exercise an adult can do. Further, do not prevent your pup from napping during the day altogether- frequent rest is needed to help him grow and adapt to his environment. When he is tired, let him sleep, but encourage him to play and learn when he is awake.

Offer a good quality puppy diet and ensure your pup is eating well.

Many new puppy parents wonder how often they should feed their puppies. Puppies up to 3 months of age usually need to eat 3-4 times a day. By 3-6 months of age, they only need 2-3 meals a day.

Don’t encourage bad habits.

If your puppy wakes up at night, giving in to too much cuddling, chatting, and playing might teach your puppy that waking up a lot is fun. Try to keep interactions to a minimum if your pup won’t sleep. If he needs a potty break, take him outside, let him do his “business,” and put him quickly back to bed. Avoid checking on him too often as he may see this as an opportunity to play.

Establish a routine or schedule.

Consistency in the environment helps puppies develop their own inner schedule and keeps them more comfortable in their environment.


Creating a Daily Puppy Sleep Schedule

Although puppies thrive on consistency, keep in mind that they won’t follow a strict day-to-day schedule. A cycle of Sleep - Eat - Play with regular bathroom or potty breaks in between tends to be the most common and easiest-to-follow puppy sleep schedule:

  • Sleep - Wake up from evening bedtime or nap

  • Potty break

  • Eat - Feed a meal or snack

  • Another potty break - 20-30 minutes after eating

  • Play - This can be teaching a new trick, meeting new people or pets, exploring his environment, or playing with a toy; encourage playing for at least 30 minutes, although older puppies may be able to play for an hour or more

  • Sleep (Naptime) - While you can’t make a puppy sleep, you can put him in his kennel or a quiet environment to encourage rest; puppies can nap for as little as 20 minutes or as long as 2 hours; just let him rest and wake up when he is ready

  • Sleep (Evening bedtime) - If your pup is not yet sleeping through the night, avoid playing or offering meals between bathroom breaks to hopefully encourage sleeping through the night

Understanding Sleep Patterns in Puppies

Sleeping patterns in dogs, especially those less than 12 months of age, vary quite a bit. Few veterinary studies have been done on sleeping habits of dogs to help us fully understand why that is. While veterinarians have a general understanding of average sleep times (often based on pet owner reports), each individual dog’s sleep pattern can be quite different from one dog to another’s and can change from day-to-day. What veterinary scientists do know is that changes in sleep patterns and amount of sleep a dog or puppy gets influences them while awake affects how comfortable they are in their environment and daily activities. In other words, if dogs/puppies don’t get enough sleep, they may struggle to adapt well to their surroundings, poorly affecting how they learn and grow. 

Quirky (and often cute) Sleeping Habits in Puppies

  • Sleep Position. Studies on sleep habits have shown that the majority of dogs prefer to sleep stretched out while laying on their sides or curled up; however, a large number of dogs also prefer sleeping on their backs (i.e. with their legs splayed out or curled up on their tummies) or with their heads propped up (e.g. on a pillow).

  • Dreaming. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in people also happens in dogs. REM is the phase of sleep in which dreaming occurs. In dogs, REM sleep looks more like twitching or running in place. Very intense movement can even look similar to seizures! What kind of rabbits is Fluffy chasing in these dreams?

  • Snoring. Yep. Some dogs snore. Breeds most commonly reported to snore when sleeping are the pug, bulldog breeds, Clumber spaniel, Labrador retriever, English cocker spaniel, border collie, and Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Usually snoring is not a big deal. Sleep apnea is, fortunately, not very common in dogs.

The Importance of Monitoring Sleep Patterns 

Improper sleep patterns in puppies can sometimes be a sign of a bigger problem, such as health or behavioral issues. If you notice your puppy consistently struggling to sleep, excessively lethargic despite getting enough rest, or experiencing significant changes in their sleep habits, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian. They can help identify any underlying health concerns and recommend appropriate interventions. 

 Purchasing pet insurance while your puppy is still young is an excellent way to avoid the financial strain of potential future health issues. Insuring your puppy early ensures that they don’t have preexisting conditions, which could limit coverage later on. Many pet insurance plans, including Embrace Pet Insurance, offer customizable plans that can cater to your pet’s specific needs, providing peace of mind and financial security. 

 Pet wellness plans are another valuable investment in your puppy’s health. These plans can help cover the costs of essential preventive care, such as vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and routine check-ups. By prioritizing your puppy’s well-being through insurance and wellness plans, you’re fostering a lifetime of care, protection, and a healthy, happy relationship with your furry family member. 


Conclusion: Prioritizing Your Puppy’s Sleep for Optimal Health 

Understanding how much sleep puppies need and how their sleep requirements change as they grow is essential for every pet parent. Monitoring your puppy’s sleep habits and patterns, and ensuring they receive adequate rest, promotes their development, learning, and overall well-being. Always consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about your puppy’s sleep patterns or health. 

By prioritizing your puppy’s sleep and overall health from the beginning, you are laying the foundation for a lifetime of love, protection, and happiness with your furry companion.