Skip to content

7 Signs of an Overtired Puppy | Pupford

October 5th, 2023

Filed under Pet Parenting

Featured Image

Have you ever seen a toddler after they’ve missed their nap? Rather than being so tired that they calmly fall asleep the moment they lay down, they unlock a hyper, cranky, and/or defiant side of themselves that you wouldn’t otherwise see.

Puppies can be the same way when they're overtired!

It’s easy to assume the more you tire out a puppy, the better behaved they will be. After all, a tired puppy is a happy puppy, right?

Well, to a point.

While yes, it’s important that your dog gets enough exercise and stimulation, too much without proper rest can lead to them being overtired.

So what happens when your dog is overtired? A lot.

Today we’re going to take a look at the seven signs of an overtired puppy and what you can do to prevent it.


overtired puppy not able to calm itself down
  1. Nipping and biting – Puppies explore the world and express themselves with their mouths. When they are too tired to focus on other ways to express themselves, they turn to nipping and biting.
  2. No longer listening – Just as kids get defiant when they are too tired, so do puppies. So if your dog suddenly ignores cues that they usually master, it may mean they’re overtired.
  3. Hyperactivity/inability to settle – After a certain amount of time without sleep, the hormone cortisol kicks in. Cortisol provides a “second wind” of energy, but also makes it difficult to calm down.
  4. Chewing – Similar to dogs who don’t get enough activity and stimulation, dogs that don’t get enough rest can engage in destructive behaviors like chewing. If your new shoes look like you went for a run on a cheese grater and your dog is the culprit, they may need more rest.
  5. Excessive barking – Since overtired puppies can’t settle down, they will look to you (or other people/animals) to continue interacting with them. They may bark excessively to get the attention of someone who will keep the playtime going.
  6. Panting and/or lip licking – When cortisol takes over and puppies lose their sense of control, they can start to compulsively pant or lick their lips. These are both signs of stress and overstimulation, which often go hand in hand with being overtired.
  7. Excessive thirst – Being overtired = being stressed. Being stressed = being thirsty. Of course, some water breaks are to be expected during playtime or training, but constantly visiting their water bowl could be a sign of being overtired.

Related Reading: How Much Water Should My Dog Drink a Day?

🐶 Improve your puppy's gut health, immunity, and calmness + focus with our full line of supplements. Shop puppy supplements here! 🐶


why you shouldnt let your dog get overtired

Dogs need a lot of sleep, especially puppies. You can expect your young dog to sleep 15-20 hours a day in the early days, and 12-14 hours per day as they reach adulthood.

When puppies don’t get enough rest between active periods, they get into a state of overexcitement. This not only can make it extremely difficult for you to interact with and manage your dog, but it can have adverse effects on their health and wellbeing, including:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Joint or back issues
  • Dangerous destructive behaviors
  • Lowered ability to learn and retain
  • Aggression

So just because it seems like your pup can run wild for hours on end, doesn’t mean you should let them.


how to calm down an overtired puppy in a crate

While the ultimate goal is to prevent your dog from getting into an overtired state, it’s important to know how to calm them down if they happen to get there.

🐶 Improve your puppy's gut health, immunity, and calmness + focus with our full line of supplements. Shop puppy supplements here! 🐶

Since getting your overtired puppy to sleep can be difficult (basically impossible), you’re going to want to focus on calming your puppy down before attempting to get them to sleep. Here are some ways to calm that hyper pup:

  • Remove stimulation like toys or other animals
  • Take your dog into a quiet or dark room
  • Have your dog sit or lie down while you gently pet them or place them in their bed or crate
  • Keep a calm demeanor when handling your dog

Also, many of the tactics that calm your dog in the moment can be used proactively to prevent getting overtired in the first place.

Here are some:


create a routine for your puppy

A schedule is your best friend when it comes to raising a puppy. Not only do they ensure your dog has their feeding and potty needs taken care of regularly, they instill a sense of predictability into your dog’s day.

When your dog knows that nap time and rest time are part of their daily routine, they’ll be less likely to skip them.

Make sure your routine includes downtime, strategically placed after periods of high activity like walks or training sessions.

For best results, make sure your dog has a designated place to settle down to use as a cue, which brings us to our next tip…


A crate gives your dog a safe, dedicated place of their own. Crate training teaches your dog to use their crate to settle down, rest, and recharge – and avoid getting overtired.

But it’s important to take the right approach to crate training, creating positive associations and keeping your pup safe and happy.

For more on crate training, here’s Everything You Need to Know About Crate Training Your Dog. If you’re ready to crate train, check out the Crate Training Course in the Pupford Academy.

🐶 Improve your puppy's gut health, immunity, and calmness + focus with our full line of supplements. Shop puppy supplements here! 🐶


give your puppy short bursts of activities

Another component of your routine should be short bursts of activity. So instead of taking your dog for a walk, then playing fetch, then doing a training session, then mental enrichment, structure your schedule to include downtime (maybe in the crate) between each (and potty breaks too, of course!).

That way, your dog can have proper energy and focus for each activity – and they will have plenty of opportunities to rest and prevent overtiredness.


While puppies can be unpredictable balls of energy, it’s important to prioritize rest so they can grow and develop into happy, healthy dogs.

Again, here are some common signs of an overtired puppy (or adult dog):

  1. Nipping and biting
  2. No longer listening
  3. Hyperactivity/inability to settle
  4. Chewing
  5. Excessive barking
  6. Panting and/or lip licking
  7. Excessive thirst: Being overtired = being stressed. Being stressed = being thirsty.

While those are just some reasons, be sure to allow your dog plenty of time to rest to avoid any injury or illness.

Do you have any other tips for preventing your dog from getting overtired? Share them in the comments below!

🐶 Improve your puppy's gut health, immunity, and calmness + focus with our full line of supplements. Shop puppy supplements here! 🐶


Your Cart

Shipping & taxes calculated at checkout