If you’ve just gotten a young puppy, naturally you may be wondering if you can leave him alone overnight. Can you do so from the outset, or do you need to wait until they get a little and become more familiar with your home? Well, here is everything you are going to want to consider and understand before you even do so.
So, can you leave a puppy alone overnight? You don’t want to leave a new, or young, puppy alone overnight under any circumstances. Once your puppy is around 6 months of age, you can begin to leave him for a few hours provided you make the right arrangements. Still, you should only do so for a few hours, at most.
Leaving a puppy at home alone is generally not a good idea, especially at night.
As they become mature, confident, and well-trained adults, this may be something you can do from time to time.
Although you don’t want to make it a regular occurrence and you’re going to really need to think about how it is all going to work.
For the most part, leaving a dog alone for the minimum amount of time is best.
But you don’t need to worry about that just yet.
Besides, you still have a puppy, and you have time to research that later.
For now, let us look at how to handle this conundrum for your young pup.
At What Age Can You Leave A Puppy Overnight?
Once your puppy is older than 6 months old, you can leave him overnight, but not for longer than 6 to 8 hours at a time. This length of time is the same even into adulthood.
Here is a small chart for you to see at a glance how long you can leave your puppy alone, depending on his age.
|Age of puppy||Length of time you can leave |
your puppy alone for:
|Less than 10 weeks old||1 hour|
|10to 12 weeks old||2 hours|
|3 months old||3 hours|
|4 months old||4 hours|
|5 months old||5 hours|
|6 months old||6 hours|
|Over 6 months old||6 to 8 hours maximum|
How Long Can You Leave a Puppy Alone Overnight?
The length of time you can leave a puppy alone overnight depends on his age. And when we say ‘overnight,’ it would be more accurate to say ‘at nighttime,’ since even adult dogs should not really be left alone for more than 8 hours at most.
Puppies can only be left alone for short periods, whether it’s nighttime or daytime (see chart above.) There are several reasons for this.
A Puppy’s Bladder Isn’t Fully Developed Yet
Their bladders aren’t fully matured for them to be able to go for long without needing the toilet.
The usual rule for how long they can hold their bladders is one hour for every month of age.
Puppies Will Be Missing Their Mom And Littermates
Your puppy will miss his mom and his littermates as he settles into his new home, so it’s best not to leave him alone for too long.
If your puppy is crying, never leave him alone to cry: go and offer him comfort.
He has a lot of things to adjust to when he enters your home – he is doing his best to adapt to your routines and habits, so offer him kindness and love as he gets used to everything.
By going to him when he cries, you are teaching him that he can trust you to look after his needs.
He will then start to understand that he is safe and secure, which will help him sleep for longer periods.
His sleep will also deepen to provide him with the rest that he needs.
He will gradually get used to the sounds and smells of your home, and your presence nearby will offer him reassurance, especially in the early days.
By paying proper attention to your puppy from the start, you can hopefully avoid attachment issues or separation problems.
Eventually, once his bladder matures, your puppy will be able to sleep through the night.
Puppies Can Quickly Get Into Mischief
An unattended puppy will want to entertain himself, which can mean exploring things he shouldn’t.
Puppies learn about the world through using their mouths, and they are known for picking up, chewing on, and eating inedible objects just to see what they’re like.
Puppies have no sense of danger, so you need to look out for his safety.
Where Should You Leave A Puppy Overnight?
If you are going to leave your puppy for a short while at nighttime, the best place to do this is in a puppy crate. You want to keep your puppy safe from nighttime wanderings so that you can get some sleep, too.
Make sure you have taught your puppy that his crate is a safe and comfortable place. Leave his crate close enough to you that you can easily hear your puppy if he cries.
Put the crate (or the puppy bed) in a corner of your home where you can see your puppy and he won’t be disturbed by lots of noise from the rest of the family.
A quiet corner is the best solution so that he can get the sleep he needs.
Some people choose to leave their puppy crate in the corner of a kitchen or another room with tiling on the floor that’s easy to clean if spills happen.
Just make sure you can hear your puppy, no matter which room he’s in.
If you have other doggie friends in your home, you may wish to put the puppy crate close to them.
Your puppy will get used to being near his canine companions and may eventually sleep with them.
If other animals don’t take to your puppy, keep sleeping arrangements separate until they’ve had time to adjust to each other.
What Should You Provide For Your Puppy Overnight?
Provide a safe, clean place for your puppy to sleep so that he feels secure and comfortable.
If you have a crate, make sure the bottom of the crate is comfortable, with a washable blanket or bedding.
Put some waterproof pads beneath the crate in case there are messes – you’d be surprised at how easily spills and accidents can escape from a puppy crate.
On the first few nights, you may wish to line the crate with newspaper to soak up any spills in the early days.
Make sure that anything inside the crate can’t be chewed up or swallowed.
You may want to have several crates or beds in your home so that your puppy can lie down and rest when he needs to.
Make sure the crate isn’t too big: puppies feel safe and secure in small spaces (large enough for puppies to stand up and turn around.)
How To Ensure Your Puppy Is Safe Overnight
The best way to ensure your puppy is safe overnight is to have him sleep in a secure and comfortable puppy crate. Make sure it is properly equipped (see above.)
Don’t leave toys or treats with your puppy overnight unsupervised.
Your puppy doesn’t need food at night, and younger puppies shouldn’t have a water bowl in their sleeping area.
You don’t want your puppy to fall asleep in his water bowl (some puppies have done this!)
Likewise, you don’t want your puppy to spill the water and then get wet (and cold) at night.
Give your puppy a snack and a drink with a toilet break just before bedtime. Once he’s in bed, turn out the lights, so he knows it’s time to sleep.
Be sure your puppy isn’t sleeping in a draft or too close to a heat source. Ensure your home is quiet and that your puppy won’t be frightened by odd noises during the night.
If you have other friendly animals at home, it’s best for your puppy to sleep in his crate on his own while he’s little.
Even the most well-meaning dog or cat could cause harm to a puppy without meaning to if they’re left on their own at nighttime.
Once your puppy is at least 6 months of age, he’ll be feeling more secure.
Here are some additional ideas to help your puppy feel safe at night:
- Have a set bedtime every day. Your puppy will benefit from a regular routine, so establish one as soon as you can.
- Decide where your puppy will sleep, and stick to it. Don’t move his bed around once he’s settled into one spot.
- Keep calm when you need to go to your puppy at night – offer comfort, but not attention. Don’t let your puppy think it’s playtime! Give your puppy praise and stroke him gently – that usually is enough to help him relax. Many puppies will bark or cry at some point during the night as they adjust to their new home – this is perfectly normal.
- For nervous puppies, you may wish to sleep in the same room as him for the first few nights. Notice this doesn’t mean moving him into your bedroom if you plan on having him sleep in the kitchen. It’s best that you keep him in the same place and sleep near him if needed.
- Provide nighttime toilet breaks when needed, bearing in mind your puppy’s immature bladder. You won’t be getting much sleep in the first few weeks, so be prepared. Take into consideration that you will be very much ‘on call’ at least once a night until your puppy matures.
- If possible, provide them with a blanket or another item that smells like their mom. Their mother’s scent will help calm them down.
You can’t leave a puppy alone at night.
Especially in the beginning.
Even with age, you should never really leave them ‘overnight’.
Perhaps a few hours during the night, but they should have some human interaction at some point.
Whether that’s you, a dog sitter, a friend, a relative, or a neighbor.
Or there is always dog boarding, of course.
Busy learning about keeping a puppy safe and comfortable at night? Then my following related guides may be of interest:
- Should I Leave A Light On For My Puppy At Night?
- Should I Leave Water Out For My Puppy At Night?
- Can Puppies Sleep Outside?
- Why Is My Puppy Sleeping So Much?
- Why Does My Puppy Breathe So Fast While Sleeping?
- Why Does My Puppy Pee In Her Sleep?
- Why Does My Puppy Have Loose Stools At Night?
- Why Does My Puppy Cry When I Leave The Room?
- How Long To Keep Puppy In Playpen
- How Long To Let Puppy Cry In Crate
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.