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Is Your Puppy Sleeping Enough?

Four signs your puppy is ready for a nap.

by Karen B. London, PhD
November 4, 2014
a puppy sprawled out on the couch sleeping
Photo: Marta Locklear / Stocksy

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I’m not a jealous person by nature, but I felt such envy recently when a client told me that both of her (unrelated) young adolescent dogs take two to three-hour naps each afternoon, and at the same time, no less. One of the dogs sleeps so soundly that you could vacuum right outside their crate and not wake them up, though the other is likely to awaken in response to loud noises. This type of long and scheduled nap, in addition to a long nighttime sleep, isn’t that common in older dogs. 

Most adult dogs nap on and off during the day and seemingly relish a little extra rest. Though dogs sleep more than people, they are often more flexible about how that sleep is allocated through the day. 

How long should dogs nap?

Dogs need more sleep than people, and some napping is typical. It’s not unusual for adult dogs to sleep 14 hours a day. Puppies often sleep closer to 18 hours each day, although sometimes all this sleep happens in a lot of little nap sessions rather than a few bigger ones.

Signs your puppy needs a nap.

Some of the signs that a puppy needs a nap are obvious—yawning, lying down, struggling to keep their eyes open—but other signals may be more confusing. Sometimes a puppy is all wound up and acting crazy, and it seems that what they need is more activity and stimulation. In fact, what they really need is a nap

Though it’s counterintuitive, those bursts of loopy behavior can be a sign of fatigue. Many puppies become very mouthy when they are tired, and though this looks like a puppy with extra energy, it’s often a puppy in desperate need of rest.

Too many naps?

If you notice changes in sleep patterns or the need for excessive sleep, it may indicate health issues. Concerns can range from something manageable like requiring higher-quality nutrition to as serious as life-threatening cancer. As always, reach out to your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.

karen london

Karen B. London, PhD

Karen B. London, Ph.D., is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression, and has also trained other animals including cats, birds, snakes, and insects. She writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life.