Puppies have two speeds: Run and sleep. When a puppy is awake, he's usually going full speed. When he stops, it's nap time -- and there are a lot of naps in his first months of life. It's normal for a puppy to sleep more than he's awake during his first year and spend much of the day napping. You'll find he has short bursts of energy during the day, following by long naps. A healthy adult dog won't sleep nearly as much as a puppy does.
Young puppies can sleep 20 hours each day. Their growing bodies are developing much faster than a human baby's does. Depending on his breed, a puppy is considered fully grown by age 1 or 2, so his body undergoes a lot of changes during his first 24 months of life. When he's awake, he's exploring and learning about his world, and using more energy than his adult counterparts -- and he requires more sleep.
Allow your puppy to sleep as much as he wants. His growing body will dictate his sleep needs. Avoid waking him to play or walk during nap times. Once you've established his routine, he will wake naturally at feeding, potty and play times. Consult your vet if the puppy seems lethargic during his normal waking hours, isn't interested in food or interested in playing at his usual times. A healthy puppy will sleep most of the day but will be alert, bright-eyed and curious about his surroundings when he's awake.
Help regulate your puppy's system during the day by teaching him early to sleep through the night. Give your puppy his own space for sleeping. Puppies will avoid eliminating where they sleep, so place a soft bed or towel in a crate or pen for him, preferably in your bedroom. Puppies feel more secure when they're close to their humans, and you'll be able to hear him if he needs to go out. By the time he's 4 months old, a puppy can usually sleep through the night, but a younger pup may cry to go out occasionally.
Adult dogs don't sleep as much as puppies do. A healthy adult dog will take frequent naps but won't sleep for long stretches. Although he may be lying down much of the time, you'll notice he's awake and watchful. Some large breeds tend to sleep more than smaller active breeds. Dogs who are sick or older will sleep away more daytime hours, napping for up to 12 hours. If your adult dog sleeps a great deal, consult your vet to see if an underlying medical issue exists.
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images