Out of the blue. Your puppy has started crying during the night.
And you’ve noticed, this is a pattern. A very new pattern.
Why were they okay before? Why may they not be now? And perhaps more importantly, what do you need to do about it?
Well, let’s delve into every possible reason, and explore the potential solutions!
Besides, anything that can help you both get more shut eye would be hugely appreciated.
I would know – I’ve been there and been through this with several puppies.
Trust me it gets better!
Why Is My Puppy Suddenly Crying At Night?
They Are In Physical Discomfort
Physical discomfort can frequently cause a puppy to cry during the night, and growth spurts or changes in exercise levels are often behind it.
Growing pains are a common phenomenon in puppies, especially in larger breeds.
Adjusting to exercise can also cause physical discomfort in puppies.
Just as humans can experience aches and pains when starting a new workout routine, puppies can too.
Overexertion, or simply adjusting to new types of physical activity, can result in muscle soreness.
This could cause your puppy to cry out, particularly when settling down for the night when their body starts to relax and they become more aware of the discomfort.
Alternatively your puppy might be troubled by parasites such as fleas or ticks.
They Have Temperature Discomfort
Have the seasons changed?
Have you changed the internal temperature of your home – either the heating or cooling?
These could be to blame.
And it could be in either season too.
Puppies, especially smaller or short-haired breeds, can struggle to keep warm during colder months.
On the flip side, brachycephalic breeds (dogs with flat faces like Bulldogs or Pugs), puppies with thick coats, or larger breeds can overheat in hot weather.
Remember, the goal is to keep your puppy comfortable throughout the year, and a good rule of thumb is that if it’s too hot or cold for you, it’s likely too hot or cold for your pup.
They Are Getting More Hungry
It could be that as your puppy is growing, or undertaking more activity, they are getting hungrier.
What used to satisfy them before no longer does.
And as such, you may need to now readjust their feeding frequencies, or schedule.
They Are Teething
Similar to human babies, puppies go through a teething phase as they lose their baby teeth and their adult teeth start to come in.
This process can be uncomfortable and even painful, causing your puppy to cry, especially at night when there are fewer distractions.
During the teething phase, which typically occurs between 3 and 7 months of age, you may notice your puppy chewing more on toys, furniture, or even their own crate.
Some puppies may also drool more than usual or have slight bleeding from the gums.
However, it’s crucial to monitor your puppy during this period to ensure they’re not in severe pain or experiencing complications such as difficulty eating or an infection.
Their Toileting Behavior Is Changing
Additionally, eating more food/ drinking or water or just development in general may be causing a change to their toileting behavior.
They may now need to go to the bathroom during the middle of the night.
It may be that you need to change your routine to resolve this!
New Changes in the External Environment
Sudden changes in a puppy’s environment, such as a move to a new house, can cause stress leading to nighttime crying.
Even minor changes, like rearranging furniture or a family member leaving, can upset your pup, resulting in new crying that wasn’t experienced before.
Dogs thrive on routine, and a sudden change can lead to anxiety and crying.
So if there has been a change to feeding, playtime, or bedtime, it may result in awakenings during the night.
Development Of Medical Issues
The development of new medical issues, such as urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal problems, or other health conditions could cause your pup to start to cry out at night.
They Have Outgrown Their Crate
If your pup has outgrown their crate, it could become uncomfortable for them, leading to crying.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure your pup’s crate is big enough for them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
You’ve Recently Changed the Crate
Puppies, much like humans, are creatures of habit and find comfort in familiarity.
A new crate, whether it’s a different size, shape, or location, may feel strange and unfamiliar, and this can cause anxiety.
This is especially true at night when your puppy is alone in their crate.
There Are Night Disturbances
Noises like traffic, sirens, or a noisy neighbor might be disturbing your puppy’s sleep.
Even wildlife like raccoons or squirrels could be causing your pup anxiety.
Now chances are if your pup is now awakening and crying more frequently, it could be a new noise that you need to detect.
Changing Sleep Patterns
As puppies mature, their sleep patterns change, much like human babies.
This could mean they need less sleep or their sleep becomes more spread out.
This natural change could disrupt their sleep and result in crying.
Should I Ignore My Puppy Crying At Night?
You should not ignore your puppy when crying at night. Instead, it is best to soothe, comfort and reassure them; letting them know that there is nothing to worry about and that you are there for them.
Puppies, like human babies, are not capable of self-soothing and rely on us for comfort, reassurance, and to meet their basic needs.
If your puppy is crying at night, it’s their way of communicating that they need something.
Ignoring a crying puppy can lead to increased anxiety and stress for both you and your pup.
Instead, we should aim to understand and address the underlying cause of the crying, whether it’s physical discomfort, hunger, a need to go to the bathroom, or simply the need for reassurance.
That being said, reassuring your puppy does not necessarily mean picking them up every time they cry or letting them out of their crate if that’s where they sleep.
Instead, reassuring can simply be a gentle touch or a soft spoken word letting them know you are there.
For instance, you could softly say their name, or gently pat their crate.
Soothing a crying puppy may also involve making their environment more comfortable.
This could include checking the temperature of their sleeping area, ensuring they have a comfortable bed, and confirming that they have access to water.
If you suspect they might be hungry or need to relieve themselves, address these needs as well.
Remember that your puppy is in a learning phase.
During this time, they are getting used to their environment, their routine, and their relationship with you. Y
our puppy crying at night can be a key learning opportunity, a moment to establish trust and reassure them that they are safe, cared for, and loved.
That said, while it’s important to soothe and comfort your crying puppy, it’s equally important not to inadvertently reward the crying.
For example, if your puppy cries because they want to play in the middle of the night, it’s crucial to stick to the nighttime routine and not engage in play.
In these situations, reassuring them with your presence and a calming word can help them understand that night time is for sleeping, not playing.
You may want to also read this: How Long To Let Puppy Cry In Crate
How To Stop A Puppy Crying At Night
Move the Crate to Your Room Temporarily
One solution might be to move your puppy’s crate into your bedroom temporarily.
Your presence can provide comfort and reassurance, helping to reduce their anxiety and crying.
It can also make checking on them much easier, along with ruling out if the existing location is causing the issues.
Once your puppy is more settled, you can gradually move the crate back to its original location.
Reintroduce A New Crate
If you’ve recently introduced a new crate, try to make the transition smoother by incorporating elements of the old crate into the new one, if possible.
This could include transferring their favorite blanket or a familiar toy. Also, consider placing the new crate in the same location as the old one to maintain some consistency in their environment.
Start by encouraging your puppy to spend short periods of time in the new crate during the day before expecting them to sleep in it at night.
Reward them for calm behavior in the crate to create positive associations.
Retrain Crate Training
If your puppy has developed new and negative associations with their existing crate, it might be time for some retraining.
Make the crate a positive space by feeding them in there, providing treats, and making it comfortable with bedding and toys.
Be patient and reward your puppy for staying calmly in their crate.
Give Your Pup Toys to Chew On
Providing your puppy with a safe, chewable toy can help distract and soothe them, especially if they’re teething.
Chew toys can also provide a source of entertainment for your puppy if they wake up during the night.
Clean/Make the Crate/Room More Comfortable
Ensuring your puppy’s crate/sleeping area is clean and comfortable is critical.
In fact, it may be time to upgrade their cushions, blankets or other items you use!
Commit to a Routine
A consistent routine can provide security for your puppy, reducing anxiety and helping them understand when it’s time to sleep.
This routine should include regular meal times, bathroom breaks, exercise, and bedtimes.
It may be you need to optimize an existing routine or start a new one altogether.
Remember, this is a process and it will take time. So expect some continuation of the crying in the meantime.
Consider Moving the Crate/Where They Sleep
The location of your puppy’s crate could be contributing to their distress
If the crate is in a high-traffic or noisy area, consider moving it to a quieter location.
Also, ensure that the area is neither too hot nor too cold – ensuring it is kept away from any draughts or not placed under direct heating.
Consider a White Noise Machine
A white noise machine can help to drown out any noises that might be distressing your puppy.
The consistent sound can also be soothing, helping your pup to relax and fall asleep.
Try a Different Setup Altogether
If your current setup isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something different.
This could be a larger crate, a different type of bed, or even a different room.
Each puppy is unique, so it might take a few attempts to find the perfect sleep solution.
Ask a Vet
If you’ve ruled out other causes of nighttime crying and your pup is still upset, it’s worth scheduling a visit with your vet to make sure there aren’t any hidden medical issues.
It’s concerning when your puppy starts any new negative behavior’s. Especially when crying is invovled.
The good news is you are aware of the problem.
And there is a problem.
Or a change.
Your puppy is simply communicating that to you.
Thankfully with a bit of investigation, a few small changes, and a little patience, you should find that crying at night becomes a stage that you both got through.
That being said, there is always the chance that something is more serious is going on.
That’s where consulting with a vet may be necessary.
So, be sure to look out for other negative signs/behavior’s and keep a close watchful eye over your pup.
Just in case.
Related guides you may want to read:
- Puppy Sleeps In Crate At Night But Not During Day
- Can You Leave A Puppy Alone Overnight?
- Should I Leave A Light On For My Puppy At Night?
- Should I Leave Water Out For My Puppy At Night?
- Why Does My Puppy Have Loose Stools At Night?
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.