By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 05/10/2019, edited: 12/15/2022
Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS
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Are you a new pup parent wondering how much your puppy should sleep? Afraid your so-called lazy lapdog is spending too much time snoozing?
Contrary to “pawpular” belief, puppies aren’t bursting with energy 24/7. Just like human infants, our fur-children will spend most of their day sleeping.
Below, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about how much puppies should sleep, how to create a sleep schedule for your puppy, and how to balance playtime with naps and potty breaks.
How much should puppies sleep?
Your puppy’s sleep habits will vary based on their age, breed, and activity level. Newborn puppies spend “ruffly” 90% of the day sleeping — about 21 hours.
puppies between the age of 8 and 16 weeks sleep for 15 to 20 hours per
day and can only stay awake for an hour at a time. It’s perfectly normal
for your puppy to take frequent naps lasting as little as 30 minutes or
as long as 2 hours.
Puppies will sleep during the day and the night, but may wake up frequently throughout the night. Just like babies, puppies usually won’t sleep the whole night through until they’re about 16 weeks old.
Once they've passed the age of 16 weeks, your pup's sleep schedule should start to regulate. From this age onward, expect your puppy to sleep "ruffly" 12 to 14 hours per night. By the time they reach adulthood, they should be sleeping between 8 and 13 hours per night.
Is my puppy sleeping too much?
Worried that your puppy is sleeping more than they should? Don’t be. If you think they’re sleeping too much, chances are they’re getting the “pawfect” amount of zzz’s needed for healthy cognitive development.
That said, some health conditions can cause lethargy in puppies and dogs, including:
Here are a few ways you can protect your puppy from diseases that affect their sleep habits:
Get them vaccinated. Ensure your pup has received all the core and non-core vaccines recommended by your veterinarian. Not sure which vaccines your dog needs? Check out Wag!'s guide to vaccinations for dogs.
Stay up to date on parasite preventatives. Parasitic infections can cause lethargy and other symptoms in puppies. To prevent severe infections, administer your puppy's heartworm, intestine worm and flea/tick treatments every 30 days, or according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Feed your puppy a high-quality diet. Growing puppies have specific nutritional needs, and the weaning process can affect your puppy's health in several ways. Be sure to purchase a high-quality food that's made specifically for puppies. Need a helping paw? Check out our guide on how to choose the right food for your dog.
Invest in pet insurance. Treating conditions that affect your puppy's sleep patterns can get expensive fast. Pet insurance can put up to 100% of vet costs back in your pocket within 24 hours. Find the "pawfect" plan with your pup in seconds with Wag!'s pet insurance comparison tool.
How to create a sleep schedule for your puppy
Canines are creatures of habit and need a strict routine to stay happy and healthy. If you don’t want them to wake you at all hours of the night, you’ll need to establish set times for eating, pottying, playing, and sleeping as early as “pawssible”.
Here are Wag!'s top 4 tips for creating a consistent sleep schedule for your puppy.
Give your doggo a comfy place to snooze
Whether you choose to pamper your pup with a big fluffy bed or opt for the classic crate, it’s important that your puppy understands where their sleep spot is.
Puppies are notorious for falling asleep at the drop of a hat. It can be tempting to let sleeping dogs lie, but if you notice your buddy’s eyes drooping, try to direct them to their bed before they conk out on the couch.
Tire them out before naptime — but don’t overdo it
Have you ever experienced the wrath of a tired toddler or exhausted infant? Puppies experience the same sensation when they’re overexhausted.
Avoid the temptation to play with your pal for hours at a time in hopes that they’ll sleep through the night. This will actually have the opposite effect! (Not to mention it’s unhealthy for their developing brains.)
Plan 2–3 sessions of playtime, training, and walks between 30 and 60 minutes long. (Remember, puppies generally can’t stay awake for more than an hour.) Afterward, your pup should fall asleep naturally.
Don’t have the time to walk your puppy 3 times a day? Book a dog walker through the Wag! app to ensure your fur-baby is getting all the stimulation (and sleep) their developing brains need!
Related: How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?
Don’t disturb your furry friend
We know how tempting it is to go for the belly rubs while your precious pup is asleep, but you must resist this urge to create a solid sleep routine. Just as you wouldn’t want anyone to disturb you while you’re sleeping, show your puppy the same courtesy.
Set times for potty breaks
Ideally, you should give your pal a potty break right after they wake up in the morning and just before they fall asleep at night. Puppies will need more frequent bathroom breaks than adult dogs — usually every 1 to 2 hours.
Raising a puppy isn’t exactly a walk in the dog park. Our fur-babies might only stay awake for 4 to 5 hours per day, but many puppy parents will agree they can wreak some serious havoc in that short amount of time!
Need a helping paw with your puppy's health? Download the Wag! app to access Wag! Vet Chat, walking services, drop-ins, and so much more!