It’s always incredibly exciting to bring your new puppy home with you, and your puppy is probably just as excited as you are! “Gotcha” day is usually filled with exploring, playing, and fun for your pup. However, when it comes to bedtime, sleep might be the last thing on your puppy’s mind! If your puppy is up all night, it can exhaust you both and make the first week in a new home stressful. Luckily, we gathered ten tips to help your puppy sleep soundly through the night.
The 10 Tips to Get a Puppy to Sleep Through the Night
1. Decide Where They’re Going to Sleep
The first thing to do when getting your puppy to sleep is to decide where they will sleep. Many owners choose to use a crate to train their puppy, which is a good idea; crates can become your puppy’s favorite place to relax and give them space to retreat when they need quiet time.
They can also ensure your pup doesn’t get into mischief overnight, which is a big plus! Some owners decide to let their puppies sleep in their beds with them, which is okay, but be mindful of your puppy’s eventual size and how you’ll manage the logistics of sleep (especially with a giant breed!). No matter what you decide, make sure you’re consistent and stick to your choice; changing beds when trying to sleep-train your puppy can confuse them and complicate the process.
2. Make a “Den” in Their Crate
If you use a crate, make it dark, warm, and cozy for your puppy to simulate a “den” or a comfortable, safe space. This can change a scary, empty crate into a warm and inviting bed with the right setup, so getting your hands on a comfy dog bed that covers the bottom, some blankets, and a crate cover is a great idea.
Placing the soft furnishings inside the crate makes it seem more “full” and gives your pup a sense of security, and a crate cover provides an enclosed feel while blocking light. Puppies (and dogs) wake up more during their first few nights in a new place, so providing this cover can help relax them back into sleep when they do.
3. Burn Off Some of Their Energy
Puppies have bountiful energy and enthusiasm for the smallest things. This zest for exploration is normal and healthy in young dogs, but it can become problematic if it impacts your sleep. Burning off some of your puppy’s energy and “tiring them out” before bed can help them sleep deeply. Trying new toys or games can sometimes be overstimulating close to bedtime, but a tried-and-tested favorite of theirs (such as a short game of fetch) can help your pup relax. Exercise also releases endorphins, making your puppy feel good and helping them relax.
4. Provide Mental Stimulation
Many toys are available that get your puppy’s brain working and allow them to flex their problem-solving skills. Kong toys or puzzle-treat balls are excellent opportunities for puppies to train their brains, and they can easily sit in the crate with them. Puzzle toys also keep your pup engaged and in one place for a (short) amount of time, so they’re helpful if you have to get something done! You can easily make your own puzzle toys if you can’t buy one. Make sure you’re always supervising your puppy to ensure they don’t choke or pull any parts of the toys off.
5. Set Up a Routine
Setting up a routine is one of the most important things owners can do to ensure their pups settle down for the night. Puppies are very impressionable, and they’ll take in everything you do with them. Setting up a bedtime routine, such as brushing them, playing with a particular toy, or turning on a night light before you put them to bed, can help them learn what to expect and when bedtime is near. This routine allows your puppy to adjust to their new surroundings.
6. Take Them to the Potty
Taking your pup to the potty just before bed will prevent nighttime accidents and can become part of their nightly bedtime routine. Dogs don’t like messing in their bed; if your pup has an accident in the middle of the night, they’ll often call out to you to let you know and ask you to fix it.
Honestly, most puppies will still have accidents if they’re left in their crate for a longer period overnight. However, better bladder and bowel control come with age. Taking them to the potty before bed gives them the best chance of staying clean and comfortable overnight, allowing them to rest.
7. Give Them a Snuggle Item
Puppies often feel scared or insecure when leaving their mothers and siblings. It can be a very stressful transition for them, and comfort items like a blanket or soft toy with their mother’s scent can go a long way in soothing them. Giving them a cuddle item with your scent on it can also help, and there are even special toys that mimic a dog’s heartbeat, which can help puppies feel less lonely at night.
Some of these toys come with a heat pack, but be cautious using any heat in a crate, as any heater carries the risk of burns. A ticking clock outside the crate can also mimic a heartbeat, which is enough to soothe some puppies.
8. Use Calming Scents
Some products on the market help calm dogs down by using pheromones and scents. Plug-in diffusers use a synthetic pheromone that mimics the pheromone given off by mother dogs to calm and soothe their puppies. There are non-pheromone-based sprays and diffusers, too, such as Pet Remedy’s diffuser, which uses natural scents such as valerian to calm pets down.
9. Try Soothing Sounds
Similar to how a ticking clock or heartbeat toy would calm a puppy, other sounds and music can help them settle before sleep. There have been studies conducted on dogs that show classical music can calm them. A piano played slowly and meaningfully was also found to be effective, and you could create your own calming mix tape for your pup! Sound makers that play ocean sounds or other nature-inspired songs (though not bird or animal calls) can also help, and even a low podcast or radio show can convince your puppy that they aren’t alone. This may not work for all pups, but it’s easily accessible and worth a try to help them stay sound asleep.
- Related Read: Best Dog Ear Muffs to Protect Your Pet
10. Give Them Some Love
Lastly, your puppy needs your love, assurance, and affection to help them sleep. Puppies will cry in their crates or when they’re away from you for the first week or so, as they’re frightened or stressed because they feel isolated and alone. While you should always address this, scooping them up the moment they whine can be counter-productive; if your puppy is sleeping in a crate, only give them attention when they stop crying.
You shouldn’t ignore them completely, but don’t speak to them or take them out of their crate while they’re crying; wait for them to stop before giving them some TLC. The goal is to help them realize that quiet time in their crate or other sleeping area is what gets your attention, and this will lead them to a more relaxed, sleepy state.
Why Is It Important That Puppies Get Sleep?
Puppies have a lot of growing to do. By 6 months, most puppies’ brains are at 88% of their adult size. Learning, exploring, and mastering the body’s functions are all part of growing up for a puppy, and restorative sleep is needed to facilitate this. Growth, nervous system development, immune system development, and learning are all boosted by restful sleep, so puppies really do need it! Puppies should sleep for around 18–20 hours a day.
Puppies can be challenging at the best of times, let alone when you’ve both had little sleep! Helping your little pup relax and fall into slumber can help them become more comfortable in their new home, and there are several methods you can try to ease them into sleeping all night. Some puppies need more time to sleep overnight without waking, but using our ten tips can help them get restorative, peaceful rest.