My Puppy Cries at Night


Everything is new
Just the night before, she was sleeping with her familiar human and canine family with the all the scents, sounds, and sights that had been part of her life for weeks, or even her whole life! Now she is in a new home, with a wonderful, but as yet unknown, new family.

Potty time
She might need to eliminate … again. Although some puppies sleep through the night especially as they get a little older, many can’t hold it all night.

Feeling restless
Your new puppy is still figuring out everything in her new home, including schedule. 


Have your puppy sleep in your bedroom.
Create a comfy sleeping space next to your bed, in a pen or crate, or set up a place for you to sleep near her nighttime space. Your scent and presence will go a long way to help her feel safe. Tuck her in with a toy that has an artificial heartbeat, or one that has an internal heating pad. When possible have a blanket or toy spend a few nights with your puppy’s litter and parents before bringing your puppy, and the special blanket or toy, home. The comforting familiar scent can ease her transition.

Plan on middle of the night potty breaks.
Your puppy has a puppy-sized bladder, and her muscles for controlling elimination are still developing. Although some puppies may sleep for much of the night, others need one or two potty breaks overnight.

Some puppy people prefer potty pads to bathroom trips in the middle of the night. Contained in a very specific “authorized” space potty pads can be helpful. If you choose this approach be sure to reward your puppy generously for outdoor elimination, to keep the motivation to eliminate outdoors very high. (Our preference for indoor elimination solutions are for substrates other than potty pads. For more on this read our recent blog “Where’s the Bathroom, Please?”)

Provide support for relaxation.
Sniffy games and mental exercise in the evening can take the edge off your puppy’s anxiety or arousal, and food toys that your puppy solves by licking are inherently relaxing.

Be sure bedding is comfortable and safe for your puppy. Keep her sleeping place free of drafts, and of the hot or cold blasts from a fan-driven HVAC system.

Dog-appeasing pheromone, marketed as “Adaptil” and “Thunderease”, is a synthetic version of the pheromone that mother dogs emit around their puppies. Its calming properties have been supported by a number of studies, so adding it to your puppy’s environment could provide a layer of support in reducing anxiety.

The sound of a human voice or calm music supports relaxation, and can mask some of the environmental noises that may startle or frighten your puppy. Classical music with a medium to slow tempo and limited volume range is a good choice, and studies of the effects of sound on shelter dogs have suggested that audiobooks and reggae are also particularly effective.

It’s worth it!
It requires patience and consistency, but before you know it your puppy will be older, and all your great work laying a foundation of safety and comfort will pay off. You’ll be well on your way to a lifetime relationship built on connection and trust.

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