How to help your puppy sleep through the night

Becoming a carer to a new puppy is such an exciting time. However, it’s also mega intensive and more challenging than many realise: just like a real baby, puppies need lots of extra love and support. Don’t forget - from a pup’s perspective, this is the biggest change of their life. They’ve just been uprooted from their litter mates, the only home they have known.

Now, more than ever, they need to feel loved and supported. So what can you do to help?

1. Provide a safe place to sleep

Before night one, have a think about where your puppy will sleep. Ideally, they need  draft-free bedding in a quiet place that feels secure. Low radio or a night light can help too, even the sounds from a clock. If inside, having your pup nearby also means you can be more responsive to potty requests to help with toilet training too! Depending on where they are you may need to provide pee pads.

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2. Be calm

Be patient, remember to reward calm behaviour and try not to be frustrated with those middle-of-the-night wakings. They won’t last. Before you know it, you’ll have a happy pup that can sleep right through the night and hold their bladder until morning.

3. Gentle toilet training from day one

Some pups will get it within a few days, while others can take months. The key is to be patient and consistent. Start by following these tips:

Prevent accidents in the house by providing plenty of time outside.

For inside time, have a designated potty spot set up and let your puppy get familiar with it.

Watch your puppy like a hawk: as soon as they start showing you signs they want to pee (i.e. sniffing, restlessness––you’ll get to know them), take them straight to their spot.

Repeat this hourly, especially after eating, drinking or sleeping

Keep potty trips at night calm: speak in low, quiet tones and stand with them for support (don’t let this be playtime).

Reward, reward, reward. Do it straight away too, so they know what they’re being rewarded for

Ignore accidents, even if you see them in the act. Fur kids (like human kids) can’t always prevent going to the loo. It’s all part of growing up. 


4. Help being left alone

It’s really natural for a young puppy to object to being left alone early on. Especially if they’ve been with mum and all their litter mates then suddenly they’re all alone.

It’s important to realise for a new puppy, if they are crying when left alone it is a sign of genuine distress and anxiety. If left, it can be detrimental to your pup’s mental health long-term.

They need your help to learn to be happy and relaxed when they are on their own. So if they need to have one paw touching you to fall asleep, let them. It’ll only be for a little while. The safer and more comfortable you can make them feel now, the more relaxed they’ll be as they grow up.

Get to know Dr Claire Jenkins

Written by Dr Claire Jenkins. Claire is a QLD graduate with over 15 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of Vetchat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.

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