Over Tired Puppy [Recharge Correctly]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Did you know that like toddlers, pups too, can become cranky when they’re overtired, making them hard to handle?

Trust me, I’ve been there!

With my adorable but insomniac Yorkie, Molly, I’ve done my fair share of 3 a.m. puppy lullabies.

That’s why I’m here today to dish out the lowdown on understanding and handling your over tired puppy.

From identifying the signs of puppy fatigue to quick fixes and long-term solutions, I’ll cover it all.

So, grab that lukewarm coffee, sneak in a bit of ‘you’ time while your furbaby naps, and let’s jump right in!

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What is an Overtired Puppy?

What is an Overtired Puppy

It is not uncommon to have our puppies zoom around the house all day. They’re just full of energy!

But come nighttime, you expect them to lose some steam and start winding down.

Instead, they’re bouncing off the walls, growling at everything in sight. 

You might find yourself wondering, aren’t they tired yet?

Well, it’s possible that your little pup has gone from regular tiredness to overtiredness. 

While tired puppies simply need rest after their playful adventures, overtired puppies exhibit extreme hyperactivity and irritability. 

What Causes a Puppy to Be Overtired?

What Causes a Puppy to Be Overtired

While frolicking around can tire out a puppy, there are other factors that can absolutely exhaust them, especially when they occur frequently. 

Here are some causes that can push your puppy’s energy levels to the brink: 


When puppies are exposed to too many stimuli, whether it’s loud noises, intense play sessions, or too much social interaction, their energy can reach overwhelming levels. 

This constant bombardment of excitement can leave them drained and overtired.

Lack of sleep

Just like humans, puppies need plenty of sleep to recharge. However, a lack of sufficient sleep can accumulate over time, resulting in fatigue and overtiredness. 

It’s important to ensure your puppy has a comfortable and quiet sleeping area to promote quality rest.

Don’t let them skip naps too. 

Inadequate rest periods

Puppies have bursts of energy followed by periods of rest.

If they don’t have enough opportunities to relax and unwind, their energy levels can become depleted, leading to overtiredness. 

Providing designated rest periods throughout the day is essential for maintaining their well-being.

Emotional or mental stress

Puppies can experience emotional and mental stress, which can be taxing on their energy levels. 

Moving to a new home, meeting a strange dog, or getting startled by loud noises can create feelings of uncertainty and stress. 

Being exposed to these stressors without relief can be very draining and can leave your poor pup overtired.

Signs of an Overtired Puppy

When your puppy reaches the point of overtiredness, their behavior can start to exhibit subtle yet noticeable changes. 

We should be aware of what to watch out for, so we’d know when our furry friend needs a break and some quality rest. 

Increased irritability or crankiness

An overtired puppy may become easily agitated or cranky, showing signs of annoyance even in situations that usually wouldn’t bother them. 

They might growl or snap at other dogs or family members when they typically wouldn’t.

Their patience wears thin, and they react more strongly to normal interactions.

Difficulty settling down or resting

When one feels tired, the normal reaction is to easily fall asleep. The opposite happens when your pup is overtired.

They may struggle to calm down and find it hard to settle for rest or sleep. 

Instead of winding down, they may continue to pace, whine, or engage in restless behaviors like digging or scratching.

Your poor pup may be unable to relax and constantly seek stimulation.

Nipping or biting

Your pup may exhibit an increase in nipping or biting behaviors.

This can be a result of their decreased impulse control and a way to release their pent-up energy or frustration.

For instance, they might start nipping at your hands or clothes during playtime, but as they continue to burn energy, it can escalate and become more frequent.

Hyperactive behavior or excessive playfulness

While puppies are naturally energetic, an overtired puppy takes their playfulness to the extreme. 

They may exhibit hyperactive behavior, bouncing around, and engaging in relentless play without being able to self-regulate or calm down. 

Your tiny furry pal may chase their tail, jump on furniture, or zoom around the house non-stop.

Unable to follow commands

As exhaustion sets in, an overtired puppy may struggle to concentrate or respond to commands they would typically understand. 

Their ability to focus and follow instructions diminishes, making training sessions less effective during this time. 

Your tired pet might no longer be able to satisfactorily respond to simple commands like “sit” or “stay” as they usually would.

Excessive thirst

Overly exhausted puppies may become extra thirsty, seeking water more frequently than usual. This can be due to the physical and mental exertion they’ve endured.

You might notice them drinking from their water bowl more often or showing eagerness to drink from any available source to quench their thirst.

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Tired Vs Overtired Puppy

It’s important to differentiate between a tired puppy and an overtired one to ensure their well-being. While both states indicate fatigue, there are notable distinctions.

A tired puppy may exhibit signs of slowing down, seeking a comfortable spot to rest, and displaying a calm demeanor. They might curl up for a nap after a play session or settle quietly at your feet in the evening.

On the other hand, an overtired puppy will display bouts of restlessness. They’d have a harder time settling down. 

Your exhausted pup might continue running around the house, aggressively biting at their toys, or engaging in hyperactive behavior, despite their obvious exhaustion. 

They may become easily irritated, nipping or growling at their human companions, or displaying frustration during interactions. 

They could also struggle to find comfort or settle for sleep, leading to a state of agitation.

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Is Your Puppy Sick or Just Tired?

Determining whether your puppy is feeling sick or simply tired can be tricky at times.

If they choose to lie in their doggy bed instead of playing catch with you, could that mean that they’re feeling ill?

The first step to telling the difference is to pay attention to any symptoms of illness in your puppy.

Common ones are throwing up, diarrhea, lethargy, or changes in behavior. 

If your puppy is acting lazy but does not have these other symptoms, chances are high that they’ve just run out of juice.

Secondly, think about your puppy’s recent activities. If they have recently engaged in intense play sessions or long walks, it’s possible that they are tired. 

In my experience, a tired pup will quickly bounce back after enough rest.

Consider the duration and persistence of their behavior.

If your puppy shows signs of tiredness, such as slowing down or seeking a quiet space, and these symptoms improve after some rest, it is likely they are simply tired.

Furthermore, observe any changes in your puppy’s eating or drinking habits. If they continue to chow down and drink normally, it suggests that they are just tired. 

However, a significant decrease in appetite or refusal to drink water could indicate an underlying health problem.

Why is Being Overtired Bad for a Puppy?

When a puppy is exhausted, it puts a strain on their physical health.

They may become more susceptible to illnesses.

Even worse, these fur pals may experience muscle fatigue and be at a higher risk of accidents or injuries. 

Overtiredness also affects their behavior, making them more irritable, restless, and unable to focus or follow commands.

An overtired pup tends to get triggered easily and become annoyed at the smallest things.

Finally, being overtired can negatively impact your puppy’s growth and abilities.

It makes it harder for your pet to learn new things and develop important skills. 

Socialization is also negatively affected. It’s a bit hard for them to play with other dogs in that state.

How to Calm an Overtired Puppy?

Got an overtired pet on your hands? It’s no easy feat for them to settle down on their own when they’re all wound up. 

That’s where you come in. With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can help your furry friend find their chill and get the rest they desperately need. 

Encourage rest

One thing that you can do if you have a puppy that gets easily overtired is to create a cozy and inviting space where your puppy can unwind. 

Set up a comfortable bed or blanket in a quiet area of your home. Choose a spot that’s away from excessive noise and distractions. 

When you see your pup getting antsy and hyper from fatigue, gently lead them to their designated rest area. Use gentle, reassuring cues to encourage them to settle down. 

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Implement quiet activities

Engage your puppy in quiet and calming activities to redirect their energy.

Offer them interactive toys, such as puzzles or stuffed animals filled with treats, to keep them mentally stimulated without overstimulating their tired bodies. 

Gentle playtime, such as softly tossing a plush toy or engaging in a quiet game of fetch, can help them release any remaining pent-up energy in a controlled manner.

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Adjust the schedule

Evaluate your puppy’s daily routine and make sure it includes sufficient rest periods. Puppies need regular naps throughout the day to recharge and avoid becoming overtired. 

Consider adjusting the timing and intensity of their play sessions and exercise to prevent them from reaching a state of exhaustion. 

Read this too: Best toys for poodles

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much sleep does a puppy need?

Puppies need plenty of sleep to grow and stay healthy. They should sleep about 16 to 20 hours a day. The number of hours will mostly depend on your pet’s age and breed. The older they become, the less sleep they generally need. 

Why is sleep important for puppies?

Sleep is super important for puppies because It helps their brains develop, boosts their immune system, and helps their bodies grow. Sleep also gives them the energy they need for playtime and learning.

Can lack of sleep lead to health problems in puppies?

Yes, not getting enough sleep can cause health problems for puppies. They can become cranky, have trouble paying attention, and may even have behavior issues. It can also weaken their immune system and affect their growth.

Should I limit playtime if my puppy is showing signs of tiredness?

Yes, it’s a good idea to slow down playtime if your puppy seems tired. When they show signs of being tired, like being less playful or yawning, give them a break and a chance to rest. It’s all about finding a balance between play and rest for a happy and healthy puppy.

In Conclusion: Over Tired Puppy

When they are young, they need a lot more attention from us.

We all wanna play, but overexertion can negatively impact their health and behavior, hindering their overall development.

Remember, a well-rested pup is a happy (and less mischievous) pup!

Hey! If you found this post useful, check out these dog care tips too:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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