Sleep. What a beautiful thing…
But with a new puppy, getting a good night’s sleep seems like a distant memory. Bet you didn’t think it was going to be this much of an uphill trek.
The good news is that it does get better – a whole lot! But while you get to the good part, we’ve written down some tips and advice for helping your puppy drift off to a full night of sleep.
What’s the best puppy bedtime routine that will get them to sleep through the night?
It’s important to remember that your puppy has just left their mother and littermates; where they would sleep all curled up and warm, on top of each other. Moving from that to sleeping on their own can be quite a change, and a challenge!
Let the puppy sleep near you until they’re settled in the new home
Our first golden recommendation is that until they’re feeling more confident and settled in your home, you have them sleep next to your bed either in a crate, or in a soft bed on the floor. If you’re keen, you can have them in your bed, we won’t tell, just watch out they don’t pee on the bed during the night!
Establish a routine that helps them wind down before bedtime
Second, is to establish a routine during the day. This is key for making sure your puppy gets nice and tired for bed – so they can sleep as many hours in a row as possible. You can read more about what a puppy’s daily schedule might look like with our article.
Don’t forget to let them go to the toilet before bedtime…
Make sure you take your puppy to the toilet right before bedtime. Wouldn’t want to wake up through the night if possible!
…and several time during the night
Wake up to take them to the toilet every 3 – 4 hours at first. Yep, that means at unruly hours. The puppy night time routine can be a bit challenging at the beginning.
Talk to the puppy in a soft voice to help them get back to sleep
Once you’re heading back to bed after a midnight wee, gently talk to them and let them know you’re there to settle them down – not a great idea to hype them up for a game of fetch at 3 am!
Should I wake my puppy up to pee at night?
Yes. You’ll quickly find that it’s not unusual for your puppy to need the loo in the middle of the night, which means you’ll have to wake up and take them – probably even more than once!
And yes, waking up in the middle of the night for this will always be better than waking up to a pile of poo next to you.
PRO TIP: Hearing them awake and moving around is your sign to take them outside! Some puppies will often sleep through, so take it case by case.
How long can a puppy hold its bladder at night?
Waking your pet up to pee is part of a puppy’s bedtime routine, but you might be wondering how often to do so. Here’s an easy way to answer this question:
- 3 months old – 3 hours
- 4 months old – 4 hours
- 5 months old – 5+ hours
In short, how many months old your puppy is tells you the number of hours they can hold their bladder for….and once they get better bladder control, there will be less and less need for toilet breaks. Yay!
However, it really does vary between puppies. Some puppies will sleep happily through the night, while others will have you up a couple of times because they’re bursting for a wee. They’re just like humans, can’t get two of the same! One thing’s for sure though – smaller breed puppies will have less bladder control than larger breeds.
Why is my puppy so hyper at night?
Aaah, so you’ve had an encounter with the zoomies. Zoomies are slang for “Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAP)”, and are very common among puppies. Don’t worry, they’re not possessed! They’re simply a way for them to let off some excess energy or as a stress release.
Zoomies are quite entertaining to see, but the sad part is that puppies will usually grow out of them…enjoy them while you can! Every dog is different though, so you might still be able to see them happen later on. My dog, for example, likes to do them when she comes in from a wet walk or is particularly fired up in the park.
PRO TIP: If your puppy is experiencing zoomies, they may also be biting or grabbing at you. This is just a phase though, you won’t be getting nipped forever. What you can do in the meantime though, is have plenty of toys around so you can teach them to bite those instead of your ankles.
Should I leave my puppy to cry at night?
Nope. Let’s not be mean.
Gone are the days of letting puppies ‘cry it out’. In fact, studies show that an increase in maternal care in new dog parents will make for a more confident and braver puppy.
PRO TIP: Crying is a sign that your puppy is distressed. They either need comfort – nothing like getting one of your good hugs – or the toilet – in which case you don’t want them to have an accident indoors.
How long should my puppy sleep at night?
Puppies need a lot of sleep. A good puppy bedtime routine involves, besides naps during the day, a good night sleep lasting between 6 -10 hours.
Also, here’s some good news about the mid-night toilet trips. Once they’ve been to the toilet, they should go back off to sleep after quite quickly (phew)… as long as they’re not hyped up!
Should I leave a light on for my puppy at night?
Hm, it’s a good question. But actually, studies show that blocking outside stimuli such as light can help a puppy sleep for longer as light affects melatonin production (that thing in our bodies that makes us want to go to sleep). Some puppies may do better with a nightlight though – yes, it can be a thing for your puppy to be afraid of the dark! So again, puppies are different from each other so it’s probably best for you to try it out as you go.
PRO TIP: Shutting a puppy anywhere where it’s completely blacked out is likely going to distress them – so having a small amount of natural daylight is ideal. Just be aware they will be up with the larks if it’s very bright outside!
Why is my dog coughing at night?
Strange question, gotta be honest.
If your dog is coughing at night, then the best thing would be for them to see a vet. It could be something as relatively harmless as:
- Reverse or Backward Sneezing
- Dry throat due to lack of water
- Kennel Cough
…but can’t be too careful. Better call the vet to make sure!
Why does my puppy have diarrhea at night? (Only at night)
If your puppy is experiencing diarrhea at night and only at night, then this can be an indicator of stress and should not be part of your puppy’s night time routine.
It could be one of many things that are making them feel unease; they are scared to be alone or even if your washing machine or dishwasher goes off on a timer.
PRO TIP: We recommend bringing their crate or bed into your bedroom at night to see what’s causing the diarrhea. It could be that they need the toilet in the middle of the night, and if you are there you can at least get them up and out to the toilet rather than leaving them to do in their bed.
Also worth checking:
- They’ve been treated for parasites like worms – read our full article on worms puppies and worms.
- Their regular dog food isn’t disagreeing with them
- Whether they’re anxious about noises or something else in the night
And yes. Prepare to possibly have a diarrhoea puddle somewhere next to you. It’s all part of the journey though, one day you’ll miss the poops!
Why is my puppy dry-heaving at night?
There can be a few reasons such as:
- Lack of access to water
- Dust or Mite Allergies
- The air is too dry where they sleep
- Something stuck in their throat
But in my experience, the most common cause for dry-heaving (or even being sick) is hunger. The reason for this is that we often feed them their last meal quite early, so their tummies stay empty overnight – causing a build up in stomach acid. To solve this, a small carby light meal such as a Bonio (or large dog biscuit) is all that’s needed to have something in their tummy before bedtime
Why does my puppy wake up so early in the morning?
It’s not to annoy you, believe me! Puppies often wake up because they need something – the toilet or company usually, or if something outside has distrubed them like the birds tweeting or the sun shining through.
One thing you should know when it comes to your puppy’s night-time routine is that dogs are polyphasic sleepers – which means they don’t do all their sleeping at one time. But dogs are also able to pick up on our social cues, so it will just take them a few weeks to realise that night time is time for sleeping.
…But once your puppy is awake they usually expect everyone else to be too!
Let’s keep it real though – a lot of puppies will struggle sleeping at night, especially in those first few days. You will be quite tired and you will need some coffee (…or a lot), but soon enough your puppy will love a sleep in.
If you’d like more information and tips for your puppy, take a look at our articles – where the answers to all your questions are, such as when can your new puppy go outside safely and how to toilet train a puppy the easy way. Our experts in Zigzag Puppy Training app are also happy to talk and share advice about anything too!
Well, almost anything. Not so much advice to give on dating, unfortunately.