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Is your puppy zooming around like crazy and seemingly never gets tired? Well, the contrary might actually be the case: your puppy is probably overtired! These 10 overtired puppy symptoms can help you find out if your puppy actually needs a rest.
It’s confusing, right?
Your fur baby seems to be bursting from all that energy. That he might need a rest would probably be the last thing you’re thinking about.
However, it’s very important to understand overtired puppy symptoms. Not only is it annoying to have a dog that isn’t capable of calming down. It can actually also be dangerous for him and the people around him. This might not be super obvious while he’s small. But once your puppy becomes an adult dog, things can get much worse!
But it doesn’t have to come that far! In this article I’ve put together the 10 overtired puppy symptoms, so you can understand your puppy better. Plus, I’m also showing you how you can stop the unwanted puppy behavior, so you’ll be able to enjoy those puppy times to the fullest!
Can puppies be overtired?
Let’s start with a very important question: can puppies be overtired?
Looking at zooming puppies, you would instinctively say: no, puppies never get tired!
To many people’s surprise, the opposite is the case: Puppies have a whole lot of energy for about 15 minutes (depending on their age) and then they need to rest for a long long time!
Similarly to children, puppies don’t like resting all that much, though.
Have you ever seen a toddler trying everything in order to avoid going to bed? He seems full of energy. However, you know that he should actually be really tired.
Well, puppies are baby dogs. So, they’re pretty similar to children.
Why it’s important for your puppy to rest
Now, you might think: ok, but what’s the problem? If my puppy gets overtired, then he can just sleep, right?
Well, not exactly.
Overtired puppies often get into a state of uncontrolled over excitement. It’s not only annoying when your dog is hyper all the time, it can actually also be dangerous for his health.
Here are 3 points that make it particularly important that your puppy learns to rest:
Learning to calm down
Dogs learn things best when they’re young.
Since you don’t want a dog that’s zooming around 24/7, it’s best to start teaching your puppy to calm down as soon as possible.
While an over excited puppy is still fairly easy to handle and maybe even cute, a 60 lb fully grown dog won’t be that much fun anymore!
Enough sleep is not only important for your own mental health, but also for your dog’s mental and physical health.
Humans and dogs process things when they sleep. This helps to learn and pick up new things. A lack of sleep can also weaken your dog’s immune system. Plus, a dog that doesn’t sleep enough is more prone to suffer from joint or back issues because their body doesn’t have enough time to regenerate.
Speaking of vet: have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!
Overtired puppy biting
The most common annoying overtired puppy habit is overtired puppy biting.
And it’s very important that you address it as quickly as possible!
Puppy biting might only be a little annoying or even cute. But once your puppy becomes an adult dog, biting is a real problem.
So, stop it right when it occurs, and you’ll be fine! I’ll tell you what to do about it in a minute.
Btw, another common issue with puppies is excited or submissive peeing. If your puppy has that problem too, check out these 13 tips how to stop excited or submissive dog peeing.
How much sleep does a puppy need?
Dogs sleep a lot! And puppies even more so.
Puppies sleep an average of 18 to 20 hours per day. Sleeping doesn’t necessarily mean deep sleep. For part of the time, they’re just relaxing. But 20+ hours of sleeping, relaxing and doing nothing are completely normal for puppies.
This means that a puppy should only be active for 4 to 6 hours per day! This includes potty breaks, playtime, feeding time, walks etc.
The younger your puppy is, the more sleep he needs. However, not all dogs realize when it’s time for a nap. This is why it’s very important that you keep that in mind and force him to rest if necessary.
If you feel like your puppy should definitely get some more rest, make sure to check out my article on how to make your puppy sleep longer. If your puppy is around 10 weeks old, also check out my article on the question “can a 10-week-old puppy sleep through the night?“
Do puppies get tired easily?
Yes and no.
The younger the puppy, the quicker he gets tired and the more he has to sleep.
At a certain age, puppies prefer action to sleeping, though.
So, they try to stay awake and tend to become hyperactive. This means that it’s often hard to tell if a puppy is tired or not.
I recommend to just stick to the rule of thumb listed under the next title to be on the safe side.
How long should I play with my puppy?
As a rule of thumb, puppies should only walk for 5 minutes per month of age. The same applies to play time.
This means that a 3-month old puppy gets tired after 15 minutes of activity and should rest again.
However, puppies are like toddlers: very few feel the need to take a nap in the middle of playtime. They’re having a blast and are all hyped up. The last thing they’re thinking about is sleep!
Some puppies literally have to be forced to rest. This is where a crate comes in handy.
If you’re interested in being active with your puppy, make sure to read these 10 things you need to know before hiking with a puppy.
How long should I crate my puppy?
Once your puppy is crate trained, you can put him in in there for about 80% of his sleeping time. However, it isn’t recommended to leave a puppy under 6 months in a crate for more than 3 or 4 hours. Most puppies can’t control their bladder for much longer, anyway. Every 3 or 4 hours you can take him out, do some activities and then let him rest again. If he can calm himself down, you can also let him relax outside his crate.
If he’s like my Miniature Poodle Baloo used to be, then you’ll probably have to put him in his crate for 100% of the sleeping hours for the first few months. Baloo couldn’t calm down by himself. So being in the crate was the only way to help him relax. Once he’s calming down quickly in the crate, you can slowly try to have one sleeping session in a dog bed outside his crate.
With lots of patience, you’ll eventually be able to leave the crate away all together. At some point even hyper dogs like Baloo will learn to calm down even outside their crate.
10 Overtired puppy symptoms
Aside from the obvious overtired puppy symptoms, like yawning and lying down, here are 10 sings and symptoms that show you when your puppy needs a rest.
If you have an adult dog and you’re not sure if he’s overtired, then check out my article about the 10 signs and symptoms your dog is overtired or exhausted.
1. Biting and nibbling
As I’ve mentioned before, overtired puppy biting is one of the most frequent and most annoying signs that your puppy is overdue for a rest.
Puppies tend to be quite rough when playing with their siblings. This is why it’s very important to teach a puppy very early on that biting is not okay!
I’ve got a complete article teaching you how to stop overtired puppy biting.
Baloo still has his zoomies regularly. And it happens mostly when I have to dry him (guess that just feels icky) or when he’s overtired.
Now, puppies can’t really control their energy level. So, once they’re overtired, zoomies are almost inevitable.
In case you don’t know what zoomies are, here you go:
3. Excessive thirst
When dogs are overtired, they’re stressed. And stressed dogs are very, very thirsty.
Whenever Baloo and I are visiting friends and family, he gets quite excited, which means stressed, too. He then drinks so much that he has to go potty after 1 or 2 hours.
I only got it after he peed inside a couple of times…
4. He forgets his manners
Similar to biting, an overtired puppy will likely forget all manners ever taught. Is your puppy unable to perform the simplest commands and jumping up on you like crazy? Then he’s most likely overly tired.
5. Excessive panting
Excessive panting is another stress sign. It can also mean that your puppy is overstimulated or excited for some other reason. In any case it means he suffers from some kind of stress. A rest is a good idea, regardless the reason.
6. Excessive lip licking
The same goes for excessive lip licking.
Keep in mind that puppies can easily get overstimulated, get excited and be overtired at the same time.
This is why I recommend to force your puppy to rest whenever he’s excessively panting or lip licking.
7. Following you everywhere
An overtired or over excited puppy is afraid to miss something. This is why he might be following you everywhere.
Some puppies do that all the time, though. So, it’s only a sign he’s overtired if he usually doesn’t do it.
8. Racing through your house
Similar to zoomies, overtired puppies usually race up and down your house as well.
In order to stay awake, when actually overtired, a puppy’s body produces a lot of adrenaline. This leads to excess energy, which he tries to get rid of by racing around.
However, this isn’t a healthy state for a puppy. It’s best not to let it get that far.
9. He’s becoming vocal
Is your puppy all of a sudden crying or barking at seemingly nothing? Then he’s probably overtired.
10. Crazy eyes
Have you ever seen a dog or puppy that’s out of control?
That’s when they get the crazy eyes!
Whenever I see a little of the white showing in Baloo’s eyes, I know he’s over stimulated, over excited or overtired and the zoomies will kick in shortly.
Tips to stop overtired puppy behavior
How do you calm an overtired puppy?
An overtired puppy needs rest but is pumped up with adrenaline.
That’s not gonna work!
The thing that is gonna work, is to stop the adrenaline production. Once all the excitement is gone, your puppy will feel that he’s actually tired and will fall asleep very easily.
There are a few ways to do this:
By far the fastest is to hold him by his shoulders until he’s calmed down. The other very efficient way is to put him in his crate or in a room where there’s no distraction. Only when he can’t run around like crazy and when there’s nothing to do, he’ll be able to calm down and relax.
For more information on how to calm down an over excited (adult) dog, click here.
My overtired puppy won’t sleep
If your puppy just can’t calm down no matter what, I highly recommend using a crate!
This is the easiest and most efficient way to force a puppy to rest.
For the first few times, he’s probably not gonna like it. But if you train it properly, he’ll soon be happy to go to his sleeping cave.
Here’s a good guide to crate training:
And if he’s crying in the beginning, don’t give up. He’ll get tired eventually. Once he slept for a little while, you can reward him by taking him out for a snuggle session on the couch.
How to stop overtired puppy biting
Last but not least, here’s how to stop overtired puppy biting:
As soon as he starts biting, turn around and ignore him.
If he keeps nibbling at your leg, go into a different room and close the door. Wait for him to calm down. Then you can come back but still ignore him. Once he’s fully calmed down, you can start to pet him in a very calm manner.
Repeat this a few times and your dog should get it pretty quickly.
Another tip I got from my puppy trainer that works very well with puppies is to squeak when your puppy bites you. It doesn’t matter if it hurts. Just squeak, make an upset face and stop playing. Puppies squeak when the play is getting too rough. So, your puppy will understand that this was too much.
You can also try giving him a chewy as soon as he’s not going for your hands, sleeves etc. anymore. This can help your puppy or dog to get rid of some excess energy as well.
Here’s a good video overview of the things you can do to stop excited puppy biting:
Related topic: For dog training in general I highly recommend you get a program that walks you through step by step, such as Braintrainingfordogs. Certified dog trainer Adrienne Farricelli teaches you to train your dog to be the best dog he can by be using mental stimulation!
Overall, puppies who act like crazy usually need a rest!
With these 10 overtired puppy symptoms you now know when it’s time for bed for your little fur baby.
And even more important, you now know how to deal with that annoying overtired puppy behavior. If you follow the tips listed above, I’m sure you’ll have a lovely puppy in no time!