Honestly, who doesn’t think puppies are adorable? Here at Zigzag, we just love ‘em all! But I bet you didn’t sign up for all these sleepless nights, did you? Definitely not. But no worries, with our help you’ll learn how to get a puppy to sleep through the night. Help is at hand.

It’s really common for puppies to have unsettled nights; especially when you first bring your puppy home. Can’t blame them – leaving their Mother and siblings is kind of a stressful thing we don’t talk about much, is it? Here’s a sad picture – they easily get homesick and can cry out of loneliness or fear until they settle in. Ugh, it just makes your heart melt.

Another reason why puppies cry at night is because they need a toilet break. You definitely want to come to the rescue for a toilet mission. Our article on house training your pup will guide you through stinky time.

Alright, let’s get started with a few tips for how to get a puppy to sleep through the night. You know you want ‘em.

young puppy asleep on towel
Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash

How much sleep do puppies need?

The short answer to this is absolutely loads. In 24 hours, don’t get surprised if they doze off around 16 to 18 hours. In fact, it is ideal. In between naps, a couple of meals, a bit of play and time outside will do the trick so that outside of that there isn’t time for anything other than snoozing.

Sleep training your puppy is so important not only for your own sanity but also for your puppy’s development.

The time puppies spend sleeping is important for a few reasons. It allows their tiny bodies to recharge from all the energy they exert when they’re awake. Puppies also grow like weeds…they really do go from 0 to 100, and all that growth takes loads of energy and rest. Sleeping is also like a magnet for memories. When all the great stuff pups have learnt gets stored as memories.

Sleep is a fantastic thing. You want them to sleep. Otherwise, puppies who don’t get enough sleep often struggle with the following:

  • Biting and mouthing: we really want to stay away from those sharp teeth; it is so common in overtired puppies!
  • Irritability: just like us, puppies get cranky if they don’t sleep enough.
  • Hyperactivity: This is often a stress-related behaviour…maybe we should take that into account for ourselves too.
  • A weakened immune system: sleep is so underrated, and it works like magic for bodies to heal and stay healthy. Including yours.

How to get a puppy to sleep through the night in less than 10 steps

Wondering how to get a puppy to sleep through the night? It’s the million-dollar question. Here are our top tips and tricks to help your puppy sleep through the night so the whole household can catch some Zs:

1)     Get them into a puppy sleep routine

Puppies love routine! It helps them know what’s coming, so having a fairly regular nighttime routine can help with puppy sleep training and putting to bed a settled pup.

2)     Well-timed meals

Let’s not feed a pup’s last meal either too early or too late. Too early and they may wake up hungry, wanting a snack to munch on. Too late and they will more than likely need the toilet in the night.

3)     Stick to short naps in the evening

Don’t be tempted to have your pup sleep all evening! You may want to catch up on the soaps in peace, but it could mean they are up and ready to go at 4 am. Now that’s a real drama.

4)     Keep cool

Don’t get your puppy worked up before bed with exciting vigorous play; it will wind them up like one of those silly little toys. Just a gentle game or stroll around the garden is enough to help them wind down.

5)     One last wee

Always take your pup to the toilet before it’s time for bed to avoid smelly surprises. 

6)     Keep the crate close

Have the crate close to you at bedtime; ideally in your room where your pup can smell you and hear you breathing. The ultimate source of comfort for them!

7)    Make it cosy

A cosy crate will take them from a simple doze to cloud nine in dreamland. Make your puppy’s crate super warm and snug with plenty of soft bedding, you can even cover it over at night time to make it extra dark.

8)     Well-liked crate

Make sure your pup sees their crate as a great safe place to be – not like a small prison. Feed them their meals in their crate, throw Kongs and treats and gently place them there for naps even if they fall asleep on you – they’ll wake up in paradise.

9)    Soothe, soothe, soothe

If your pup wakes in the night and you have ruled out them needing the toilet, you can gently soothe them by comforting them with your voice or resting your hand in the crate. An item of your clothing inside the crate can also help get your puppy to sleep through the night.

So as you can see, there are plenty of things you can try to get your puppy to sleep through the night. But of course, it can always be the case that you still feel like nothing works, and your pup still feels unsettled. This doesn’t mean they’ll stay like this forever – especially when you download the Zigzag app! You’ll get a personalised puppy sleep training journey and input from our friendly team of puppy experts.

dog asleep on carpet
Photo by Adam Grabek on Unsplash

Puppy Sleep Training Tips

  • Tip 1: sleep breeds sleep! Getting those naps in during the day will help your pup settle better at night.
  • Tip 2: when your pup naps in the day, transfer them to their crate while they’re asleep as this gets them into the habit of waking up there and knowing it’s their sleeping place.
  • Tip 3: If your pup needs reassurance and comfort during the night, that’s no issue. It’s honestly ok to comfort them; there’s no need to leave them crying for hours in the hope they’ll stop. Let’s be real, this never works and it’s unnecessarily stressful for everybody.   

Should you use a crate for your puppy?

Yes! In our humble opinion, obviously. Using a crate with your puppy can be useful since it can have several benefits for house training. We go all out about crate training in another article if you want to take a look.  

Crates are especially useful for sleep training your puppy. They sort of act like a cot for babies; don’t let the bars fool you. Crates help teach them that it’s time to switch off and rest.  Life is just too darn distracting when you’re a busy pup, so we need every tool we can get our hands on to help with the settling down process. Luckily, there aren’t that many tools you’ll need – a crate and some patience should do the trick. And the Zigzag app, of course.

Dogs and puppies have a natural denning instinct, did you know that? Some people might hate the idea of a crate; thinking that the poor pup can’t get out, but from a pup’s perspective it’s more like ‘Ooh, I’m safe nothing can get in”…of course, as long as you don’t trap them in there for long hours of course. Crates will help them settle into a deep sleep.. which is exactly what every puppy owner wants, a puppy in a deep sleep.. bliss!

dog asleep in dog bed
Photo by Ramiro Pianarosa on Unsplash

We hope you haven’t fallen asleep after reading this article yourself! Soon enough, your pup will embark on a night boat for dreamy nights. If you’ve found this article useful, you might also like to read our article on puppy barking at night – another pup-ular thing new puppy owners are excited to tackle. 

Don’t forget you can get your personalised puppy training journey on the Zigzag app! Trust us…at some point, you’ll find you’ll need the extra help. Our team of Puppy Experts will be ready to catch you!