There is a new puppy in your home, and he is full of energy and love during the day. However, night comes, and you don’t know whether he should be sleeping with you or not. He is like a baby, and you might be scared that something could happen if you leave him alone and unsupervised.
Once a puppy is 12 weeks old, he can withstand being alone at night. Not all dogs are the same, and your puppy might not be comfortable sleeping alone. But don’t worry, you can help him feel safer and train him to sleep where you want.
In today’s guide, I’ll take a look at whether you should leave your puppy alone at night or not. I will also discuss the best options if you think your puppy is ready to sleep alone overnight.
Why Don’t Puppies Like Being Alone at Night?
Many puppies love having attention every moment of their lives. They have so much energy and need to burn it with different activities. However, they also need to rest a lot as they are experiencing constant growth.
Some puppies won’t mind sleeping by themselves, but others will hate it. Here are some of the reasons why puppies dislike sleeping alone at night.
Puppies are very similar to newborn babies. They need constant attention because they want to feel safe. If you don’t give them attention, they might feel scared. In their minds, they might think you won’t come back for them every time you go to sleep, leaving them downstairs or in their rooms.
For puppies, being scared of abandonment is an instinct. This instinct is even more significant when adapting to a new situation like a new home or new people.
Here are the things puppies will do if they feel anxious:
- Behave destructively
- Whimper or cry
- Bark or howl
- Have potty accidents
- Behave compulsively
If your new puppy suffers from separation anxiety and gets destructive, you might need to invest in a chew-proof dog bed. Some beds can even reduce separation anxiety, helping your puppy sleep better at night.
Fear of Darkness
Another reason a young puppy might hate being alone at night is that he is afraid of the darkness. If this is the case, he will bark, howl, and cry whenever left alone at night.
Here are some things a young puppy might do if he is scared of the dark:
- Potty accidents
- Restless pacing
Adult dogs have better night vision than humans, so an adult dog being afraid of the dark is not something common. As a dog owner, you first need to check if your puppy crying at night is because of fear of darkness or something else.
Should You Leave a Puppy Alone Overnight?
The ideal time to start training your puppy to sleep alone at night is once he is 12 weeks of age. Before the 12th week, some problems will make your puppy unable to sleep alone.
Here’s why very young puppies shouldn’t sleep alone at night:
- They won’t have enough bladder or bowel control. It can be distressing for puppies to sleep close to their pee or poo. If an accident happens, they won’t want to sleep, and they might even start crying. That’s why you should consider getting a waterproof bed for your dog.
- They might not feel safe in the house yet. A new environment is often distressing for puppies. They are just adjusting to the new home and you, so leaving them alone can be stressful for them.
- They might feel afraid of the dark. Just like kids, some puppies and dogs are scared of being alone in the darkness. If that’s the case, leaving them alone at night will only increase their fear.
However, by the 12th week, your puppy should have enough control to sleep through the night without having to pee. It will also be when you can start successfully potty training/house training your puppy.
Sleeping alone will also need training. So, you can teach your puppy that it doesn’t matter if you leave at night. You will always come back for him the following day. This way, you will help him reduce his fear and anxiety.
Should You Leave a Puppy Crying at Night in a Crate?
It is okay to leave your puppy crying in his crate if it is only a little cry. If you notice he has been crying for more than ten or twenty minutes, you should go and fetch him. It is a big shock for puppies to be away from their mothers and littermates, especially during the first night at home.
Note: Constant crying will disturb your puppy’s sleep pattern and make him very destructive during the mornings. If your puppy is already highly energetic, lack of sleep can make him even more difficult to handle.
How Can You Help Your Puppy Sleep Through the Night?
If your puppy is older than twelve weeks and doesn’t want to be alone at night, there are some things you can try to make it easier for him. Always remember that the more comfortable and safe your puppy feels, the easier it will be to adapt to a new situation.
Leave a Light On
If your puppy is scared of the darkness or you think he might be, you can try leaving a light on during the night. That way, there will be no reason for him to be afraid, and he will be able to sleep safely.
You can also try leaving the TV on without any volume or buy a lamp just for him. Whatever you try, it needs to be enough light to make him feel confident nothing bad will happen while he rests.
However, leaving a light on at night should be your last resource, as it can make it harder for your puppy to fall asleep:
- Leaving a night light on for your puppy will disturb his internal clock. So, he might want to play and be around you, thinking it is not time to sleep yet. Even if he is tired and ready to go to bed, the light might confuse him.
- One light on during the night can overstimulate your dog. An overstimulated puppy can show destructive behavior and won’t sleep.
- Using a lamp or nighttime light can be dangerous if your puppy manages to chew on it. So, to avoid accidents, place any light as far from your pup as possible.
Note: If you are going to leave a light on for your puppy, you need to ensure it is not too strong. If the light is too strong, it can disturb your puppy’s sleeping pattern. It is also better to use an eco-friendly lightbulb so that you can save energy throughout the night.
Give Him a Used Shirt
Puppies are discovering the world all the time. They use their eyes and noses to understand everything that’s going on around them. You can take advantage of this by letting your puppy sleep with one of your used shirts.
He will feel close to you, thanks to the strong smell in the clothing. That way, even if you are in another part of the house, your puppy won’t feel alone.
Note: It doesn’t have to be a shirt. It can be any soft item with your smell on it. It can even be a stuffed animal or a pillow. Just ensure the item is not toxic because your puppy might chew on it.
Create A Cozy and Warm Sleeping Place
One of the best ways to help your puppy sleep alone at night is to create a safe and warm space for him to rest. You can use a dog bed, a blanket, or just let him sleep on the couch.
Dogs, especially puppies, love small spaces where they burrow. If you give your puppy a place like that, he will likely be more than happy to sleep alone. You only need to ensure that there is enough ventilation if you live in a hot area.
Some dog beds, like the dog cave bed models, provide the ideal space for your puppy to sleep. These beds have unique designs to help your dog feel less anxious at night or whenever you leave the house. Overall, you can think of one as a safe space for your puppy.
Let Him Sleep with You
The one other thing you can do to help your puppy sleep better during the night is to allow him to sleep with you. It doesn’t mean he needs to sleep in your bed, but there’s no problem with it if you want that option. You’ll only need to be careful when he wakes up needing to pee, or you might wake up in a wet bed in the morning.
However, if you don’t want him sleeping in bed with you, you can also place his bed or crate next to yours. It doesn’t have to be forever, just until he feels confident living with you. You will still need to be careful whenever he wakes, needing to pee, or you might get a wet surprise in the mornings.
Tip: A puppy can hold his bladder for an hour for every month of life. It means that if your puppy is three months old, he will hold it for around three hours. So, you need to understand that he will wake up at least once during the night to pee. Once he gets older, he will sleep through the night without peeing or pooping.
Create a Sleeping Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit. If they have a routine, they will feel more comfortable and less anxious. That’s why it is essential to create a sleeping schedule for them. This routine can reduce their fear of abandonment and help them sleep better.
Here’s what you can do:
- The last walk of the day. Puppies don’t have the best bladder or bowel control. So, before going to bed, you need to ensure your puppy has had his final walk of the day. Do not return home until he’s peed and pooped.
- Preparing for bed. Now that he’s done his business, you can focus on getting your puppy prepared for bed. It is vital to limit the access to water his their last walk. Your puppy should drink, just not as much as usual. The more he drinks, the more likely he will wake up at night wanting to pee.
- Settling your puppy. Now it is time to put your puppy on his bed or where he will be sleeping. Your puppy might whine or want to keep playing, but you must ignore him if he does.
- Wait until he is asleep. It can take ten or twenty minutes for your puppy to fall asleep, so just stay with him until it happens. You’ll need to be very patient, especially during the first couple of nights.
It is crucial to keep everything quiet while trying to put your puppy to sleep. There’s no problem with you two watching some TV or streaming a show before bedtime. However, he needs to understand that it is time to sleep when the lights and TV go off.
Note: It will take time for your puppy to get used to his new routine. Usually, a puppy needs three nights in a row of something to get used to it. But don’t worry if it takes longer. All puppies are different, so yours might get it right away or not.
You should avoid leaving a puppy alone at night, at least until he turns 12 weeks old. Before that, a puppy needs constant attention and care, just like a newborn baby. Remember that not all dogs are the same. Therefore, your puppy might want his independence before or after the 12 weeks, depending on his personality.
If you want to try leaving your puppy alone at night, you can help him feel secure and safe. All you need to do is create a space where he can sleep without feeling anxious. You can turn on a light, leave the TV on, or give him one of your used shirts.