If you’ve just brought your new furry family member home, you might be wondering how to get a puppy to sleep through the night. Having a puppy can be very fun yet exhausting! If you are having trouble getting your puppy to sleep through the night, you are not alone. One of the most challenging parts of owning a puppy is developing healthy bedtime habits. In this article, I will discuss some tips and techniques to help you and your puppy sleep soundly through the night.
Obviously one big issue related to sleeping is having a comfortable bed. We created a series of guides that you might find useful here, where we outline the best waterproof dog bed, the best outdoor dog bed, the best elevated dog bed, and the best sofa dog bed.
8 Vet Tips on How To Get a Puppy To Sleep Through the Night
1. Develop a Routine
The first step to getting your puppy to sleep through the night is to develop clear and consistent bedtime routines. Try to go to bed at the same time every night so your puppy understands when it is time for sleep. At the start, your puppy will likely be waking you up pretty early in the morning to go outside to potty. This is very normal for the first 4 to 6 months of age.
2. Bathroom Break Before Bed
It can help to take your puppy outside just before bedtime. Puppies have extremely small bladders so by taking them out to the bathroom right at bedtime, you will likely get more hours of whine-free sleep. You may even try taking them on a quick bedtime walk to make sure they pee and poop.
3. Lots of Exercise!
If your puppy just wants to play at bedtime, then they are likely not getting enough exercise during the day. Be sure that you are exercising your puppy for at least 20 to 30 minutes around 3 times per day. 1Some high-energy dog breeds may need even more exercise than that! For exercise, you could play fetch in the yard, take your puppy for a walk, or just play with toys inside. Any kind of physical activity can help your puppy sleep better at night.
4. Mental Stimulation
A bored puppy will not sleep well at night. During the day, make sure you are giving your puppy mentally stimulating tasks. I recommend trying out interactive puzzle toys to keep their brain active. You could also try filling a Kong with their meals, or you could try another treat-dispensing toy.
5. Try Crate Training
You might be wondering “should a puppy be crated at night?” Some puppies will do better in a crate at night, but only if they have been properly crate trained. You should choose a heavy-duty crate that is easy to clean in case your puppy has an accident. Make the crate comfortable by adding a soft puppy bed or comfy blanket.
6. Give Them Something To Chew On
Right as you put your puppy to sleep, consider giving them a chew toy that will keep them occupied for a while. Puppies that are teething may appreciate having something to chew on during the night. Opt for safe chew toys that your puppy won’t be able to destroy. For puppies, I usually recommend soft Nylabones for puppies or Kong chew toys.
7. Midnight Potty Break
Puppies under 4 to 6 months of age will likely not be able to sleep fully through the night without having accidents. Most puppies can’t hold it for more than 3 to 4 hours, which means you will likely have to let your puppy out once in the middle of the night. If you know what time your puppy usually starts whining to go outside in the middle of the night, try setting an alarm 15 minutes before that time so you can let your puppy out before they start whining.
8. Consult With a Veterinarian and Dog Trainer
If you are still having trouble getting your puppy to sleep through the night, it may be time to speak with your veterinarian. There may be an underlying medical reason why your puppy can’t sleep through the night such as a urinary tract infection. A certified dog trainer may also be able to give you additional training tips. Some dog trainers may recommend training collars to train dogs. I usually do not recommend using training collars for puppies under 6 months of age, and in general, positive reinforcement is more effective for training a puppy.2
How long does it take for a puppy to sleep through the night?
Most puppies will not be able to sleep for a full 8 hours at night without needing to go to the bathroom. Puppies that are under 4 to 6 months of age usually have to go to the bathroom every 3 to 4 hours, so you will probably need to let your puppy out once in the middle of the night. Once your puppy is around 6 months of age, they should be able to sleep through the night without having an accident.
What do I do if my puppy wakes up at night?
If your puppy wakes you up at night about 3 to 4 hours after you go to bed, this means that they probably need to go to the bathroom. If they are waking you up more than 1 to 2 times per night, then they are probably just bored or want attention. If they are whining even after you take them out to the bathroom, try to ignore the whining. Don’t scold your puppy for whining because usually, this will make it worse.
How do you get a puppy to stop whining at night?
Puppies that whine at night usually want one of two things—a bathroom break or attention. Your puppy will likely need to go to the bathroom once or twice in the middle of the night. I typically recommend ignoring the whining if you know that your puppy doesn’t need to go outside to the bathroom. Usually, if you ignore the whining and don’t scold them for whining, eventually they will stop whining.
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- Academy Animal Hospital. Does My Dog Need Longer Walks? Academyanimal.com. Published March 1, 2020. Accessed February 28, 2021.
- Todd Z. Positive Reinforcement is More Effective at Training Dogs than an Electronic Collar, Study Shows. Avsab.org. Published August 17, 2020. Accessed March 1, 2021.