Tips to Help Your Dog Sleep Through the Night

Updated on January 15, 2018
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Tips to help your puppy sleep through the night.
Tips to help your puppy sleep through the night. | Source

Almost everyone who has raised a puppy has dealt with this issue. Puppies sleep a lot during the day, but when it is time for you to hit the hay, your little friend is wide awake and ready to play.

This problem is a lot less common with older dogs but I still hear clients complain about it occasionally. I have seen it most often with seniors suffering from CCD (Canine Cognitive Disorder, a form of senility).

What are some things you can do to make sure that your puppy or senior dog sleeps through the night?

Dogs are social animals and will sleep better if close to their family.
Dogs are social animals and will sleep better if close to their family. | Source

Tips to Help a Puppy Sleep Through the Night

Prepare things for bedtime earlier in the evening:

  1. Make sure your friend is tired: Every dog needs to be taken for a walk in the early evening. I cannot tell you exactly how far, since dogs are different based on their breed type and individual personality, but I can tell you that your puppy needs to be tired by the time he drags himself through the door. If he is still bouncing around, you need to spend more time walking. If you have a large breed puppy and you just can't seem to walk enough to tire him out, how about a bicycle?
  2. Feed the dinner meal in the early evening: His last meal should be in the early evening so that he does not need to wake up to “do his business” in the middle of the night. Some experts will recommend that you feed the dog a late meal so that he will sleep better with a full stomach. That is correct—dogs do sleep better on a full stomach, but puppies will also have to get up and relieve themselves in the middle of the night if they eat a late meal.
  3. Arrange his area: I am not a fan of crates, but most puppies need to be confined in some way for at least a week or two to learn housetraining. I let my puppies sleep next to me in a box or an end table, and many times the dog will want to sleep next to me as he grows older.
  4. Use appropriate bedding: This will depend on the breed and how warm you keep your room, so you will need to use some common sense when making up his bed. Dogs often like to lie on a dirty t-shirt, so providing a freshly washed towel or clean and fresh comforter may actually make it more difficult for your puppy to sleep.
  • Let the activity and play wind down as bedtime approaches: This is not a problem for a lot of dogs, but puppies that are left alone most of the day need some activity at night and want to use this time to play. If you want to wrestle with your puppy or take him out to the yard to play fetch, do so early, and when it is later, rest. Your puppy will do so too, and thus be calm and much more likely to sleep through the night when bedtime arrives.
  • Take him for another walk outside just before going to bed. This can be a lot shorter than the earlier walk, and the dog needs to have time to sniff around and urinate and defecate without being rushed. (If your puppy does wake up in the middle of the night and needs to urinate again, do not make this into a play session. Take her out, let her do her business, and then return her immediately to the sleeping area.)
  • Take him to a quiet room/special sleeping area: Since dogs are social animals, I think it is vital that you allow your pet to sleep in the same room as you. For the first few days, I drape my hand over the side of the bed until my puppy has fallen asleep.
  • Turn off all of the lights: Your puppy is more likely to sleep through the night if his environment is dark. No TVs, computer monitors, etc..
  • Make sure he does not have fleas or any other medical problem: A puppy with fleas crawling all over him is going to be uncomfortable when he is bitten and will wake up scratching himself. If your puppy has mites, he will also not be able to sleep without waking up to scratch.

What If My Senior Dog Won't Sleep Through the Night?

For adult dogs, especially those suffering from CCD, some things are a little different.

If your senior dog stops sleeping through the night, do something about it. The problem is not going to go away.
If your senior dog stops sleeping through the night, do something about it. The problem is not going to go away. | Source

Tips for Helping Senior Dogs Sleep

Let your dog have access to your room.
Even if you did not allow this before, many CCD dogs need more social time.
Give your dog a comfortable place to sleep.
If your dog is developing arthritis an orthopedic dog bed will help a lot. If he will not use it try throwing a dirty t-shirt that has your smell on it on top of the bed.
Take your dog for a short walk before bedtime.
He must be on a leash, and since he may have arthritis this must be a “sniff” walk, and should not really go anywhere.
Allow him to sleep with a full stomach.
Some senior dogs stop eating much so go to bed hungry and wake up just to see if there is anything in the bowl, so you should provide a good meal before bedtime. (Unless he is having accidents in the house.) If he is not willing to eat, consider warming his food a few seconds in the microwave.
Treat his pain.
If your dog is in pain he will find it difficult to sleep, so look into pain relievers and other alternatives.
Supplement your CCD dogs diet with coconut oil and omega-3 fatty acids.
There are no exact doses available yet for these natural supplements but this is the best thing to try for your dog. (Leave a comment or talk to your vet if you need more help with this information.)
Consider consulting your veterinarian for a prescription.
Seligiline (Anipryl) is a drug available to treat Parkinsons in humans, and may help your dog. There may be other drugs available where you live, and if your dog is in pain from arthritis this is your best option.

If you are the proud new owner of one of those puppies that will not sleep through the night no matter what you do, please do not worry too much. All puppies will eventually learn to sleep longer hours during your bedtime, so in a few months, things will be a lot better.

The best way that I have learned to allow my puppy to sleep all night is:

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Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Dr Mark


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      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 8 weeks ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        Hi Ginny, yes, almost every puppy at that age is going to wake up in the middle of the night. Kind of like having a little baby in the house, right? It is just something to put up with for a week or two.

        The problem with training with pee pads is that the dog gets used to going on that surface and is hard to break later on. I do not like to use them since I want my dogs to always go outside too.

      • profile image

        Ginny bo binny 8 weeks ago

        Does everyone get up in the middle of the night to walk an 8 week old puppy? I don't mind pads as back-ups but I want her to almost always go outside.

      • Bob Bamberg profile image

        Bob Bamberg 2 months ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

        Wow, what an incredible achievement! Congratulations! I'm not even half way to a million and wondering if I'll live long enough to get there. I see you re-wrote your bio, too, revealing a bit more about the mysterious DrMark :) Keep those interesting articles coming!

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 2 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        Those cats sound like my tamandua. She wakes up at 2 or 3 in the morning, climbs into my bed and wants to wake me up to play. She sleeps about 20 hours a day, too, but when she is awake I want to be sleeping!

        Fortunately Nicki likes to sleep when I do. There has been an ocelot making a lot of noise in my back yard the last few days and I think he is afraid to come out at night.

        The dogs are ready to go to sleep. Good to hear from you!

        (Check my profile page--I got my 10M accolade today!!!)

      • Bob Bamberg profile image

        Bob Bamberg 2 months ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

        Great tips, Doc. I will find them useful as I talk to pet owners routinely during work. The most common complaint I hear about dogs interfering with family sleep is the scratching of dogs with skin issues. When they scratch, the tags make noise. We're in the middle of winter now, so our air, both inside and outside, is very dry, compounding the problem.

        Now you should write a similar hub pertaining to cats. I hear more complaints about cats. I guess some people just don't realize that cats are mainly nocturnal and/or crepuscular. They sleep about 16 hours a day, we sleep 8, but we can never get those schedules coordinated. It seems the 8 hours they choose to stay awake are the 8 hours we choose to sleep! I'll bet Nicki is on a schedule closer to your own.

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 2 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        I think exercise is great too, and all of us need to get out and walk our puppies even more. Thanks for stopping by!

      • srai01 profile image

        ARADHYA 2 months ago

        I think the "Exercise" should be the best way to help puppy to sleep all night. But A great spot to sleep is also important. :)