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How to stop puppy crying at night: 8 steps to stop it

Written by Napo HQ
Reviewed by Rachel Rodgers
26th Jun 2023
6 mins read
Summary
Having a puppy can feel like having a baby, especially with the broken sleep. However, it's normal for a puppy to cry a bit when you bring them home. They've had a lot of change! You can and should comfort them, but do it calmly and quietly. Here's 7 tips to help stop puppy crying in the night. 
Even once your puppy is settled in, you can still expect to get up through the night as you'll need to take them outside regularly as part of their toilet training.
While a lot of people expect sleepless nights with a human baby, few people seem to realise they’ll have some disturbed nights and midnight whimpers from a puppy too. It’s perfectly normal for a puppy to cry at night when you first bring them home. They’ve gone through a big change, and you’re suddenly expecting them to sleep alone in a new house, when up to now they’ve been snuggling mum and their siblings to snooze.
Letting your puppy cry at night isn’t a good idea for you or your pup. It causes you both stress, less sleep, and can damage the bond between you and your furry friend. So how do you stop a puppy crying at night? Ultimately, it’s a bit like settling a human baby down. Make sure they don’t need the toilet, make sure they’re comfy, and offer a reassuring presence until they doze off. Here’s 8 tips to try to help stop puppy crying at night.
  1. Make sure they’re comfy.
  2. Offer a comforting presence.
  3. Keep up a bedtime routine.
  4. Keep their mealtime routine.
  5. Schedule bathroom breaks.
  6. Comfort them calmly.
  7. Provide plenty of daytime exercise.
  8. Rule out pain.

How to stop a puppy crying at night

Make sure they’re comfy

It’s important that your pup has their own space and loves it. That way they have somewhere to settle. Create a cosy sleeping area for your puppy with a bed, vet fleece, or blanket and their favourite toy. 
A heat pad can help in the first few days, as it can simulate the warmth of their mother and littermates. If you don’t have a heat pad, warm your pup’s bedding with a hot water bottle, or a quick tumble dry, then put it in their cage. Don’t put the hot water bottle in the cage though, as a hot water bottle and a puppy’s needle-sharp teeth are a recipe for disaster!
Meanwhile, a ticking clock or a heartbeat toy can mimic the sound of a heartbeat and help create a calming environment for your pup. You could also include a toy or piece of bedding with the scent of their mum or littermates on it, if you have one. Or something with your own scent on it, so they don’t feel alone.

Offer a comforting presence

For the first few nights, you might consider sleeping near your puppy's crate, pen, or bed to provide a comforting presence. Or keeping their crate or bed in your room. Gradually, you can move your pup to where you’d like them to sleep as your puppy gets used to sleeping alone. Sometimes, warm bedding and a ticking clock, or a toy that mimics a heartbeat, is enough to offer a presence to settle your pup.

Keep up a bedtime routine

Just like human babies, a consistent bedtime routine can help puppies sleep through the night too. A consistent routine helps signal your puppy that it's time to sleep. This could include a calm play session, a bathroom break, and a quiet cuddle before bed.

Keep their mealtime routine

Maintaining a mealtime routine can also help. Feed your puppy their last meal a few hours before bedtime, so they have time to digest and go to the toilet before sleep. This can help avoid night-time bathroom runs, or discomfort from a full tummy.

Schedule bathroom breaks 

Young puppies only have little bladders, and for the first few weeks you will have to get up in the night to take them outside. If you’re following regular bathroom breaks every few hours, keep that routine. When you take your puppy outside, keep quiet and calm. Don’t get into a play session, as this can build energy and excitement, and won’t help your pup get back to sleep!

Comfort them calmly

If your puppy is crying, wait a little while to see if they stop. Don’t leave them long though, as it can cause stress. It's important to comfort your puppy when they cry at night, to help reassure them. So if you do't think they will settle, or they might get worked up, go to them.

Provide plenty of daytime exercise

A tired puppy is a sleepy puppy! Ensure your puppy gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation during the day (appropriate to their age and size) to help them sleep through the night. Training is a great combination of physical and mental exercise.

Rule out any pain

It’s rare for pain to cause a puppy to cry at night. But, regular vet check-ups can ensure there are no underlying health issues causing your puppy discomfort at night.
 

How to stop puppy from crying in crate

To stop a puppy from crying in a crate, follow all the steps above on how to stop your puppy from crying at night. You should also work on positive crate training so your pup learns that their crate is their own safe, relaxing space. For more tips on crate training, check out this guide to crate training from veterinary behaviourist Dr Sophie White.

Why is my puppy crying at night?

Like human babies, a puppy crying is trying to communicate with you. Usually it’s because they want something. It’s important to think about why your puppy might be crying, so you can make some changes to satisfy their needs and settle them down. 
Most of the time, a puppy crying at night is because they want somewhere there with them, and they’re still adjusting to their new home. They’ve slept with their mum and littermates every night until coming home with you, so suddenly sleeping on their own can be scary!

Should I leave my puppy to cry at night?

No, you shouldn’t leave your pup to cry at night. “Crying it out” doesn’t work for puppies, and can ultimately do more harm than good.
Although advice online can be conflicting, comforting your puppy when they’ve been crying shouldn’t “teach” them to cry. Leaving your puppy to cry at night can lead to anxiety, and build negative associations with their night time routine and sleeping area, making the problem worse. It can also damage your bond with your puppy. If your puppy is left to cry for a few minutes, their stress can escalate and cause physical symptoms like diarrhoea.
When your puppy cries, wait a little while to see if they settle. (A few seconds to a minute). But if they don’t stop, or seem distressed, go to them and comfort them. Speak to them calmly, and give them a few gentle strokes. Once they're settled, you can pop back to bed.
If your puppy starts crying again, pause to see if they’re going to stop. If they don’t, go back and comfort them again.

Should I ignore my puppy crying at night

No, don’t ignore your puppy crying at night. As above, it could make the problem worse. Ignoring your puppy won’t teach them to self soothe. It’ll just teach them that you aren’t coming to help or comfort them, even if they need it. It can cause anxiety, and damage your bond.

How long do puppies cry at night?

It’s normal for puppies to cry for the first few nights when you bring them home. Many puppies will soon settle, and stop crying once they’re used to their new home and routine.

Conclusion

To stop your puppy crying at night, make sure they don’t need the toilet, and set their sleeping space up to be as cosy and reassuring as possible. If you can, stay near your pup until they’re asleep, but don’t speak to them. A reassuring presence is often all they need!
Finally, don’t leave your puppy to cry it out, it can cause stress and neither of you will get any sleep. Comfort them quietly and calmly, then try to settle them back down. Ultimately, it’s a bit like settling a human baby!

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