How do you know if your puppy is sleeping too much or not enough? How can you tell if something’s wrong? Will they sleep through the night?
If you have a new puppy, you’ve probably taken tons of pics already of them looking cute while they snooze. You thought you could watch them sleep forever, but then you realized that puppies sleep A LOT.
It makes sense. Human babies sleep a lot; puppies are baby dogs; puppies sleep as much as (or more than!) babies. They both need the time for growth, brain development, processing all the new things they’ve experienced, and building up their brand new immune systems.
So just how long do puppies sleep? How do you know if your puppy is sleeping too much or not enough? How can you tell if something’s wrong? Will they sleep through the night?
We’ll answer all these questions about puppy sleep, plus some that you haven’t even thought to ask yet.
How much do puppies sleep?
The simple answer is that puppies sleep a lot, but in general, most young puppies sleep around 18-20 hours. Exactly how much a puppy sleeps depends on how old they are. Here’s a more precise answer based on age:
- First 2 months: 22 hours
- 3 to 4 months: 18-20 hours
- 5 to 6 months: 15-18 hours
- 7 months to 1 year: 10-15 hours
- 1-2 years: 10-12 hours
This could be good news or disappointing depending on what you were expecting. You will have plenty of time to get things done or even get some cuddles in while your puppy sleeps. If you were hoping for more playtime, you’ll just have to wait until your pup is a bit older and can stay awake longer.
Will puppies sleep through the night?
You might be thinking if puppies sleep so much, of course they will sleep through the night! But you have to take into account that puppies have tiny bladders and bowels, which means they will wake up and have to go potty. Which means you will need to wake up and take them.
If you want to get ahead of this, you could set an alarm every 2 hours for 2-month-old puppies, 3 hours for 3-month-olds, and so on. Yes, it sounds terrible, but it won’t last forever. You’ll soon get to a point where they can sleep longer and then through the night without having to go. Just make sure to take them out right after they wake up.
If your puppy just went potty but they still can’t sleep, make sure they have a comfy sleep spot, preferably in their own crate, that is not too hot or too cold. Put their bed or crate next to your bed so they don’t feel lonely. If your puppy seems hungry at night, make sure you are feeding them enough during the day and have a regular schedule.
If something doesn’t seem right, and you’ve tried all these things, it’s best to get your vet’s advice on whether something might be wrong.
How can I make sure my puppy is sleeping enough?
What if you’re worried that your puppy is not getting enough sleep that their cute little bodies need?
There’s Option 1: Watch your puppy 24 hours a day, keeping a sleep journal of all the times they slept, and adding it up to make sure it’s enough. Option 2 is way more doable: Get a fitness tracker that you use with an app to track your puppy’s activities and also their sleep.
If your puppy isn’t sleeping as much as you think they should, the first question is if they are getting enough playtime and stimulation during the day. Do they have plenty of attention and age-appropriate toys during their awake times to tire them out?
On the other hand, your puppy could be overstimulated and overtired. With puppies, this translates to being hyperactive, barking, or even being snappy. Remove any stimulation and help your pup calm down in a dark, quiet room.
Why is my puppy breathing fast while sleeping?
Lots of new pet parents worry about this. It can be scary to see your puppy panting or breathing really fast when they sleep.
To put your mind at ease, you should know that the average breathing rate for puppies is higher than adult dogs. Puppies take 15-40 breaths per minute, while older dogs take 10-30.
If the fast breathing only lasts about 10 minutes when they first fall asleep, they might have spent a lot of energy that their body is trying to recoup. If it happens for a few minutes at a time while they sleep, your puppy is most likely in the middle of a dream.
Here are some things to watch for that might mean your puppy’s fast breathing isn’t normal:
- They have tacky gums, or their gums are blue, white, or brick-red
- Their skin feels hot (could be overheated from exercise or hot weather)
- You see swelling anywhere or your pup was limping
- They are lethargic or seem confused
- You notice eye discharge, drooling, or a lack of appetite
If you have any concerns about your puppy’s breathing, you can always call your vet or if it’s after hours, use an online vet chat service or call the emergency vet to ask. Just like all new parents, you’re going to have plenty of trips to the doctor because you’re not sure if something is an emergency. It’s all part of the experience.
Is it normal for puppies to twitch or shake while they sleep?
Here’s another question that people ask a lot. Dogs at any age can twitch, shake, move their paws, or even bark in their sleep when they are dreaming. Your puppy might be on the squirrel chase of their lives or dreaming that you’ve just come home and they are running to their favorite person. They could also be having a nightmare. If they seem distressed, you can try calling their name softly.
Be on the lookout for twitching or shaking when your puppy is awake, especially if they have any other symptoms with it. If they are drooling, foaming at the mouth, growling, or losing control of their bladder or bowels, call your vet.