Does your puppy seem to be sleeping a lot? Good! They’re supposed to. If you have a healthy young puppy, they’re more likely to be sleeping than awake right now. You’ll find some eye-opening specifics below.
How much do puppies sleep?
Until they reach 16 weeks of age, puppies have been known to sleep up to 20 hours a day. They’ll sleep less after that, but even adult dogs get much more sack time than typical humans. Estimates vary, but most experts say they sleep between 10 and 16 hours a day.
When should puppies sleep?
Dogs are adaptable, so there’s not a particular time when you have to put your puppy to bed. But it is important that you give them opportunities to rest when they want to and don’t cram their days too full of activities. Considering that young puppies spend the vast majority of the day asleep, this means mostly letting them hang around without any special obligations.
It is also in your best interests, and your dog’s, to establish a sleep and bathroom schedule if you can. You’re probably house-training them, and you have a better chance of success if you bring them out at steady intervals. And, while anyone raising a puppy is likely to face some sleepless nights, the more predictable you keep their bedtime the more likely it is that the grown-up version of your dog will let you get a solid eight hours.
Where should puppies sleep?
You should make sure your puppy has a nice, comfortable, inviting spot of their own where they can rest and fall asleep if they want to. At a minimum, this means their own bed. You may also want to crate-train your puppy; if you do this, make sure that the crate is an inviting place. It should be a sanctuary where your dog wants to go, and never a “jail” to be used for punishment. Start by feeding your puppy in the crate, with the door open, letting them come and go freely, so that they know good things happen in there. For more details, read our article about crate training.
Many surveys have found that a majority of dog-loving humans let their dogs sleep in their bed. However, many trainers say it’s best to teach your puppy to sleep on their own, at least in the beginning while they’re potty training and learning the rules of their house. And make sure you think through your decision of whether to let your dog sleep in your bed or not—if you change your mind, it will take some time to help them get comfortable sleeping somewhere else.
But, overall, don’t worry that letting your dog sleep in your bed when the time is right will “send the wrong message” or teach them that they’re “in charge.” It’s unlikely that dogs think your bed has any special symbolic significance, and humans all over the world successfully train their pups to follow a whole suite of rules while also welcoming them to sleep alongside their favorite people. If you and your dog can get a good night’s sleep together, and are happier doing so, feel free to save them a spot on the mattress.
Why do some puppies move and bark in their sleep?
Dogs go through REM sleep, and they seem to dream. The pons—a part of the brain—prevents most normal adult dogs from moving and vocalizing while they’re asleep. But puppies’ brains aren’t yet fully developed, so you’re more likely to see them act out chasing squirrels, begging for treats, or whatever else they’re imagining while they slumber. It’s no cause for alarm, and it’s adorable. Enjoy the show, and send us some videos.
“I want more information about dogs and sleep, and I want it now!”
This article was vetted by a vet.
Reviewed by Alex Schechter, DVM, founding veterinarian at Burrwood Veterinary.