How Much Sleep Do Puppies Need?

Read time: 6 mins

09 Apr 2021


Sleep is essential for healthy growth in puppies, it allows the brain and body plenty of time to develop. Your pup can literally go from charging around, to crashing out and falling asleep in the space of a minute. They’ll most likely have a kip after they’ve had a play or a walk and will nap for anything from half an hour to a couple of hours at once.

How Long Do Puppies Sleep?

You may be surprised to learn that your little super charged bundle of energy will sleep for between 18 and 20 hours a day until they are three to four months old.

No one likes to be disturbed when they are asleep, and the same goes for your pup. Their bed is their safe space where they don’t get petted or fussed over, just let sleeping pups lie. (But do keep a close eye on them as they’ll certainly need to be taken outside for a wee as soon as they wake up!)

When Do Puppies Start to Sleep Through the Night?

Typically, you can expect your puppy to sleep through the night once they reach three to four months old.

However, this doesn’t happen effortlessly and will require some training from you. This can take anywhere from two to eight weeks for your pup to understand, so we recommend starting early. Especially if you want your precious eight hours of uninterrupted sleep back. 

How to Get a Puppy to Sleep Through the Night

You will likely hear a lot of barking and a whining when you first try and leave your pup to sleep. This is really hard to ignore and can leave you feeling upset. Similar to babies, a lot of dog professionals recommend engaging in self-soothing. This essentially means letting your dog learn how to comfort themselves, so that they can go to sleep without having you around. 

Your puppy doesn’t need to go to sleep at a particular time, just as long as it’s the same time each night as puppies thrive on structure and routine. This will help them to adjust to their new home and should also help with house training.

Puppies usually wake up during the night due to a number of reasons, they could be hungry, need to go to the toilet or simply just miss you (we’re not crying you are). By making sure that your pup is well-fed and does their business just before bed, you increase their chances of sleeping through till morning.

Alternatively, there are some solutions that have been proven to help dogs go to sleep peacefully and sleep soundly through the night, these include:

• Specialist sleep music / calming sounds

• Sprays / pheromone diffuser

• Using a crate cover to block out light, mimicking nighttime

• Make their crate inviting with bedding and toys

• Play an enrichment game with them shortly before bedtime

Does Puppy Sleep Music Work?

If we had suggested sound therapy as a remedy for restless pups a couple of decades ago, we might have gotten some funny looks. Fast forward and this is one of the most recommended solutions for helping puppies to sleep through the night.

Dogs are extremely sensitive to sounds and the right music can work wonders for helping them to settle down. As long as you pick a playlist that has a slow, steady and calm rhythm. Although you have to be patient, it can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes for the music to transport your dog to snoozeville.

There are plenty of ready-made playlists available on popular music streaming services, such as Spotify and Apple Music.

This is a personal favourite from one of our resident dog sitters at Butternut Box.

Where Should a Puppy Sleep?

During the day, your puppy may crash out anywhere that looks comfy, but at night consistency is key. It’s a good idea to set your pup bed or crate up in a quieter part of the house – but still somewhere where they can see what’s going on and feel part of the family. Make sure that it’s somewhere warm and well ventilated, (not in a draft but equally not right next to the radiator), and preferably near a door for ease of house training.

As life will undoubtedly be very exciting for your new pup with everything to explore and discover in their new home, resting can be tricky. So, if they seem quiet or tired, show your pup to their bed and encourage them to nap.

Bed Vs. Crate - Which Is Best?

This one is really down to trial and error. Whilst some puppies prefer beds, others enjoy the comfort that a crate provides, almost like their own private den. Equally, some pup parents don’t like the idea of using a crate and some think it is an essential part of training. Either way, we would recommend leaving the crate door open once they become used to sleeping in it, so that they are able to come and go as they please. 

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your pup’s first bed or crate as they’ll undoubtedly try and have a chew at it. Beds come in all shapes and sizes, and your pup will probably sleep in all sorts of different positions; on their backs, tummies, with their legs hanging off the edge or all curled up. 

Why not give them a choice of a couple of different beds to start with (a flat pad, one with sides) and put one in the sitting room and one in their main bed area for instance? Line it with a familiar smelling cover or blanket and leave your pups toys nearby.

My Puppy Is Breathing Fast While Sleeping - Is This Normal?

One of the most common worries from new pet parents is that their pup is breathing fast. There are countless anxieties that come with raising a puppy and we understand that this can be particularly scary.

The good news is that this is normal behaviour in sleeping pups.

Puppies naturally take more breaths per minute than the average adult dog. Because of their rapid growth, they need to take in more oxygen to fuel their cell growth.

Quick breathing and panting is also how dogs cool down, so it could just be that your pup is too hot and is trying to regulate their body temperature. Ensure that they are not napping too close to a heat source (fire, radiator) and are in shade when napping outside.

If you’re worried about your pup’s breathing rate, wait until they are truly asleep, set a timer for 60 seconds and count the number of times you see their chest rise and fall. Consult with your vet and if they feel it is necessary, further tests will be carried out. 

Why Is My Puppy Shaking and Twitching In Their Sleep?

Seeing your pup making sudden movements in their sleep can leave you feeling worried that something is wrong with them, understandably. Protective parent mode sets in. 

What’s often happening when your puppy shakes and twitches in their sleep, is that they're deep in the land of a thousand snoozes. Probably dreaming about chasing a cat.

Similarly to us humans, puppies have different sleep cycles. Deep REM sleep is often accompanied by rapid eye movement. So if you see their eyes twitching too, don’t worry. 

Whilst we’re confident that your pup has just descended into snoozeville, we would recommend ruling out any other reasons why they may be shaking. This could be because they’re cold, so make sure to have plenty of warm blankets around them when they go to bed. Despite all that puppy chub, they’re still growing and developing the body fat and muscles needed to keep them warm when they’re big and strong.

If this twitching and shaking is accompanied by other symptoms, such as lethargy, coughing and a runny nose, you should double check with your vet that nothing else is wrong with your pup.