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Why is my puppy crying at night?

February 12, 2020

Puppies generally go through a period of anxiety as they settle into their new home and often cry at night. Read on to find out the reasons for your puppy crying at night, what you can do to settle your puppy and how long this period will last. 

Why do puppies cry at night? 

“My puppy cries even if I go upstairs – I feel like I’m constantly rushing to get back to him”

Have you noticed that your new puppy doesn’t want to leave your side – even for a second. This is because dogs are social animals and are used to having company. During a puppy’s first year they really don’t like to be left alone for long – even popping into the next room in the early weeks can leave them anxiously wondering where you’ve gone. 

This means that puppies can feel vulnerable at night if they are left on their own. They cry because they need company and comfort. Puppies may also cry if they want to go to the toilet. It’s important to keep up with your puppy’s toilet training routine at night, even if it means setting the alarm 2 or 3 times in the early hours of the morning and dragging yourself out of bed and into the garden. 

Should I leave my puppy to cry at night? 

“He doesn’t seem to like being left alone and cries every time I leave the room.” 

Whilst there are different schools of thought about whether to respond to or leave a puppy to cry at night, the advice from dog experts is that they shouldn’t be left to cry. Leaving a puppy to cry at night is likely to increase your puppy’s anxiety and may lead to other behaviour problems developing, such as separation anxiety

How to settle a puppy at night

“The only way our puppy would sleep was with us upstairs and then she slept through fine. After a couple of weeks we moved her downstairs without any problems.”

When you first get your puppy, you may find it helpful to let them sleep in your bedroom. Some people worry that their puppy will get used to sleeping in their bedroom and won’t want to sleep elsewhere. However, the reverse is true. You can start off with your puppy in your bedroom. As they become settled, you can gradually move their bed out of your bedroom and to the place where you would like them to sleep at night. 

The alternative, if you don’t want your puppy to sleep in your bedroom, is to set up a bed for yourself in the room where your puppy sleeps. This will only be temporary move, just until your puppy is settled and sleeping comfortably at night.

How to stop a puppy from crying in crate

“When she woke and needed the toilet I took her out, settled her and put her back in the crate.” 

For the first couple of weeks, you can have your puppy in their crate in your bedroom overnight. That way your puppy will know that you are nearby and this will help them to feel less anxious. You can also respond quickly if your puppy is crying to go to the toilet. It will be stressful for your puppy if they have to go to the toilet in their crate. This is because dogs are very clean animals and don’t like to go to the toilet where they are sleeping. In the early weeks, your puppy will need to go to the toilet often, day and night. 

How long will puppy cry at night?

“I am so tired and sleep deprived. I can barely keep my eyes open.”

Some people find that if they leave a puppy to cry it out, they do eventually stop. This may well be the case, but it won’t necessarily be in the best interests of your puppy. 

What’s best for your puppy is for them to know that you are close by. This initial period of your puppy crying at night will soon pass once they are settled and feeling more secure in their new home. 

What to do when your puppy cries at night?

“I’ve found that if I take her outside and give her a bit of a fuss, she goes straight back to sleep.”

The best way to stop a puppy crying at night is to respond to their needs. If they are crying because they are feeling anxious, then some gentle reassurance from you that you are close by may be all that is needed to settle them back to sleep. 

Does your puppy need to go to the toilet? Take them outside to go and them back to bed again with as little fuss as possible. 

However, your puppy may just whine sometimes for attention. You will soon learn what the different cries mean, when you should respond and what you need to ignore. 

Just like a human baby your puppy will need to learn to sleep through the night. It can take a while before they are settled into a regular sleep pattern. This in turn will mean that your own sleep pattern will be disrupted. Sleep deprivation is unfortunately one of the downsides of having a young puppy. But it is a phase and it will pass. 

Main image photocredit: iStock