One of the most common recommendations for good health is consistently getting good sleep at night. Sometimes one of the biggest factors for NOT getting a good night of sleep is having a new puppy!
Is there anything you can do to help your puppy sleep through the night? Why, yes, there is!
In part you need to keep in mind the age of your puppy. Some puppies literally cannot sleep through the night without having to get up to potty. How long does that take? Well, as with everything else, it depends!
I have seen some puppies who can sleep through the night by the time they are eight or nine weeks old. Others might not do so until four months or so. Typically, they can go longer at night than they can during the day because they are sleeping.
If your pup is carrying on during the night, the tricky part is figuring out what they are carrying on about.
They might have to potty. They might be anxious without their littermates. They might not be tired and just want to get up and do something. They might be frustrated at being confined.
If they really do need to potty, you have to take them out. But don't make it a big deal.
Interaction should be very limited. Get up. Take them out. Return them to bed. Very little talking. Very little handling.
If they are having trouble settling down to bed, consider if you need to make some changes with your evening activities.
Generally, if they have enough activity during the day, they should sleep fairly well at night.
What time do you feed them? Too close to bedtime, and they might have to potty more during the night.
If you feed too early, they might be hungry. Remember, especially if you are feeding dry kibble, that blood glucose levels are harder to keep even if meals are not spread evenly through the day.
With our Zuzu, when she was a puppy, we found she slept better through the night early on if we gave her a small snack before bed. That only lasted for a bit, then we were able to wean her off that late evening snack.
What time did they last drink water? Too close to bedtime, and they might have to pee more during the night.
If there is too much activity right before bed, your pup might be having a hard time settling down.
If there is no activity in the evening, your pup might not have had a chance to wear off that daily puppy energy.
Most puppies have that evening time when they are wild with energy. The zoomies. The witching hour. Whatever you want to call it, there is a time in the evening when most puppies NEED to burn off some puppy energy!
But they also need some wind down time after that before they are ready for bed in some cases. For others, when that time passes, they will pass right out.
Wind down time might include something to chew on or some other activity that is not quite as wild and active.
For sleeping, WHERE does your pup sleep? In a crate? In some type of pen? In your bed?
I generally recommend puppies be able to sleep in the bedroom with you. Then you can hear them if they do need to go out during the night. You can hear them if they get sick during the night. Yes, the sound of vomit or diarrhea during the middle of the night is NOT a pleasant way to wake up. But it happens!
Sleeping in the same room also allows the pup to bond with you. Yes, hopefully you are all sleeping. But you are in the same room. They can hear you breathing and moving around. Puppies don't like being isolated.
Is the space they are sleeping in comfortable for them? If they like to sprawl out, do they have plenty of room? Do not put them in too small of a space!
Is the space comfortable in regard to temperature? Does your puppy run hot or cold? Some like soft fluffy beds with lots of padding and lots of blankets to cuddle up in.
Some puppies love cool tile or other surfaces to lie on. Doesn't sound very comfy to most of us, but if they are too hot, they won't sleep well.
Does their sleeping space have good air circulation? Especially important if it's hot or if they run hot.
If they are close to an air vent, a fan or an open window, are they getting too cold or too hot?
If they were accustomed to snuggling with littermates, do they have something to snuggle with in their new bed that helps simulate that?
If they are attached to you, do they have an old t-shirt with your scent on it they can sleep with?
If they are frightened of noises during the night, can you put on a white noise machine or some soft music to help calm them? Music such as Through a Dog's Ear work well for some dogs.
Have you set up the ideal sleeping arrangements for them? If you can find the ideal comfort for them, it will go a long way toward helping them sleep through the night once their bladders are able to handle it.