How to Get Your Dog to Sleep Through the Night

Have you spent several sleepless nights with your pet, praying that they will finally stop jumping around and making a mess?

Welcome to the club!

Every owner of a four-legged furry ball of happiness has considered sleeping on the street at least once, due to their dog not being able to remain in bed during the night.

If you think you’re going to go crazy and you’re desperate for answers, don’t worry! We’ve been there, and we have the best advice for you on how to get your dog to sleep through the night.

Let’s begin!

Understanding Sleeping Pattern of Dogs

Before we get into specific things you can do to get your dog to sleep during the night, we first need to cover some basic things you should know about a dog’s sleeping schedule.

This is necessary so you can set realistic expectations and don’t become even more frustrated and disappointed.

Most of us (humans) follow a monophasic sleep cycle, meaning we sleep one time during the night between 7 and 9 hours. You’re probably already noticing that dogs don’t sleep like this.

And you are right! They sleep multiple times during the day and night, and this sleep cycle is called polyphasic.

Dogs sleep between 12-14 hours in total, multiple times a day. Which means that the more naps they have during the day, the less sleep they will need during the night.

You’re already guessing what we’re hinting at, right? Exactly. You need to keep your dog busy during the day to get them to sleep during the night. But more on that later. 

What Does “through the Night” Mean Actually?

This question is important when setting expectations as well. You need to know that most likely you won’t be able to get your dog to sleep 10 hours at a time during the night.

We explained how their sleep cycle looks and by definition they don’t sleep like that.

But you can expect a dog to stay calm even when they wake up during the night, or even longer increments of sleep if you manage to follow our tips below.

However, you should be aware that the “night” can end at 6 am if your dog’s schedule is such.

Don’t expect to be able to sleep in much after you get a dog, unless you have a backyard to let them out so they can do what they need to do. 

When Do Puppies Start Sleeping Through the Night?

dog-cone-neck

One last thing to cover if you’re here because you just got a new puppy, is when can you expect to have a good night’s sleep again?

You’ll need to get through the first 4 months and then you’ll start to get your good night’s sleep back. You may even be able to get them to this point earlier by following our advice, so let’s get into it.

7 Tips on How to Get Your Dog to Sleep Through the Night

The next 7 tips are everything we’ve learned during many years of dealing with both puppies and adult dogs having trouble sleeping through the entire night without barking, running around, whining etc.

With that being said, you can apply this advice to both young and old dogs, and various things will work depending on what the cause of the issue is.

If you have a puppy, you don’t really have an issue yet. They are young and need time to adapt and learn.

With the right training, you can speed up this process a bit.

But if you have an older dog who suddenly changed its sleeping behavior, or was never able to sleep during the night, then this is an issue to work on.

In any case, let’s start with the most obvious one – tiring your dog out during the day! 

#1 Plan for Exercise Time

Dog exercising with a ball in a pool

As you can imagine, in order for anyone to sleep well, they need to get tired first. The same goes for your dog.

But they don’t have any work or school-related events during the day. They don’t do groceries or take care of children.

Therefore, it’s our responsibility to figure out how to tire them out during the day.

The best way to do that is to provide enough physical and mental stimulation. But how much exercise is enough for your dog? 

Daily exercise amount will depend on several factors such as breed, size, age, and health. In general, 30 minutes to 2 hours per day is an average range.

As you get to know your dog, you’ll become more aware of their needs and their energy, so you’ll adapt.

If you have an energetic and perky Bulldog, you’ll have to exercise them more, despite being considered a low-energy breed.

Guidelines are great, but you should treat every dog as the unique dog they are. 

Activity Ideas

At this point, you’re probably wondering “Ok, I will make sure my dog exercises. But what can I do for 30 minutes to 2 hours with them?”

Here are some examples of various activities you can do indoors or outdoors to get your dog tired.

Bring your dog along when you go out to get your daily exercise in.

Whether you go hiking, biking or you go skating or swimming, you can bring your dog along with some safety gear (depending on the activity) and they can participate.

Other things you can do that are just for dogs are playing fetch, lure coursing, dock diving etc.

If you want to make indoor time more tiring and fun for your dog, you can let them run up and down the stairs, play tug, make an agility course out of furniture, or play hide and seek.

You can even put them on a treadmill, if they show interest in that while you’re on there.

As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to get your dog moving for at least 30 minutes a day.

If you think your dog is not interested in exercising, you probably haven’t found the right activity yet. Make sure you try everything that looks fun and you’ll find something for your dog.

Mental Exercise

So far, we talked about physical stimulation, but you shouldn’t forget mental stimulation.

This is equally important and has many benefits for your dog and you, including getting tired so they can sleep during the night.

Mental exercise mostly consists of training and obedience work. You can have your dog scent trained and get them to go find stuff you hide.

Teach them new tricks, get them to work for their food, get a puzzle toy...there’s really a lot of options to choose from, so you’ll never run out of ideas!

With the right combination and amount of physical and mental exercises, you’ll be on the right path to get your dog to sleep the entire night.

Whether you have a new puppy, or an adult dog who recently started bugging you during the night, try more exercise during the day to make the situation better.

#2 Introduce a Routine

Couple walking a dog in the park

The next point you need to get in order if you’re wondering how to get your dog to sleep through the night is maintaining a routine.

A routine in a dog's life means that they know when to expect walks, exercise, food and times for naps and rest. The last point is what we’re concerned with.

You want your dog to know when sleep time is. The only way to do this is to create a routine for them and stick to it without exceptions.

If you have a puppy, it will be easy for you to teach them what they should do, and when they should do it. They will naturally accept whatever you teach them.

Older dogs are a bit more difficult.

If your adult dog is currently living a very unstructured life, without designated time for walks, food and sleep, then introducing a routine might be the right solution for your problem.

A routine for good sleep includes exercise several times a day which we’ve talked about, but it also includes meal time and one last potty break and calming time before sleep.

Bathroom breaks right before bed are key to keeping your dog in their bed the entire night. When you have a puppy, expect them to be able to last shorter without bathroom breaks.

You will inevitably need to get up more often during the night for the first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life.

As they grow older, they will be able to last longer and you can expect them to sleep all night. 

#3 Dedicate Some Thought to Time Before Sleeping

Couple resting with a pug

We have already briefly mentioned the next tip above, and that is the calming time before bed. You surely have a ritual you do before bed that helps you fall asleep and sleep well.

For you, it may be your skincare routine, reading a book etc. Similarly, you have to figure something out for your dog.

Start by creating an environment that’s good for sleeping. Dim the lights, get your energy down, and start with your routine.

Your dog will soon realize that this means bedtime and they will keep up with you. Doing this every night is important for it to be effective. It’s a part of the routine we mentioned.

At this point, you can encourage your dog to go to their bed or crate and put something there which they can lick, chew or sniff.

These are self-soothing behaviors for a dog, and they will slowly bring their energy down until they are ready to fall asleep. 

#4 Start Crate Training

Small dog sleeping in a crate

We mentioned crates already, and this is a very important point that can help you get your good night’s sleep, regardless if you have a puppy or an older dog.

Proper crate training means your dog likes to be in the crate, associates it with good feelings such as comfort, safety, and security.

If you crate train your dog properly, they will want to go to their crate for nap times and sleeping during the night. But that’s an ideal case.

You have to work hard with your puppy or a dog to reach that point.

Once you manage to get your dog into a crate and they only have positive associations with it, they will remain calm inside.

This means that during the night, when they’re in their crate, they will know they are safe and all is well.

Another good thing with crates is that you can get a crate cover. This ensures that no light gets to your dog and wakes them up.

You can’t really do this if they roam around the house.

Just remember that if you have a puppy and you crate him during the night, you may need to get up during the night for potty breaks for the first several months. 

#5 Get Them Their Own Bed

Black and white dog sleeping in his bed

Once you crate train your dog properly, they can “graduate” to their own bed if you think that would be better for them or they’d enjoy sleeping there more.

But the key words here are “their own”, meaning not your bed.

It’s inevitable that your dog will move around during the night, go to their water bowl, come back, push you around, lay on you etc.

Almost 62% of cats and 50% of dogs in the US sleep in their owner’s bed.

This means that a lot of people don’t get 7 to 9 hours of consistent sleep because of all the things that are happening when pets move around.

If you want to make sure you don’t have any distractions during the night, then teach your dog to sleep in their own bed.

You can cuddle with them before bed, after you get up, or during the day. But both of you deserve enough room and comfort when sleeping during the night. 

Can Dogs Still Sleep in Your Bed?

We know that our recommendation to crate your dog or get them their own bed maybe scares you.

Maybe your entire life you imagined that one day you’ll have one or more dogs and sleep happily with them in one bed.

And that is the reality for some people. It all depends on the dog you have.

If your dog is a restless sleeper and wakes you up multiple times during the night, it’s better for you to have them out of your bed.

However, if your dog sleeps relatively calmly, you can let them in your bed. Of course, we recommend crate training your dog anyway when they are young.

Once they grow up, you can start letting them in your bed. But you don’t want to make your bed the only happy and safe place during the night.

You want the crate to be that, and later, your dog can have a choice.

If they’re properly crate trained, they will choose their crate most times. But they will still come to you to cuddle.

Don’t worry, your dog knows you love them whether you let them in your bed or not. 

#6 Take Care of the Sleeping Environment

Dog resting under a blue blanket

Let’s move on to another important step to take if you need your dog to sleep through the night.

Now that they are tired, well-fed, took all their potty breaks, and calmed themselves, you need to take care of the sleeping environment.

The location where your dog sleeps should be quiet and dark.

You should try to eliminate anything that would wake them up earlier, such as the sunlight, any streetlights, any annoying and repetitive sounds etc.

Once all potential distractions are out of the picture, you need to focus on the dog’s crate or bed. You should make a comfortable, warm environment.

Get a fuzzy, soft blanket and throw it in the crate or on the bed. If your dog has a favorite toy to cuddle with, add that in the mix.

Make sure you don’t put a toy in there that is more of a “playtime” toy. You can also leave a treat in the bed before sleep so your dog would be happy to go to bed.

If you’re open to going a step further, you can find “music for dogs” or “relaxing dog music” to play for your dog.

Believe it or not, there is really such music which works well in keeping your dog calm and sleepy.

You can also try using DAPs, dog appeasing pheromones, which imitate a dog mom’s pheromones she releases during nursing. 

This has a calming effect and makes your dog feel safe. There are many options on the market, so if you decide to try this, make sure your read the reviews. 

#7 Address Any Medical Conditions

Dog with a cone around its neck

If you tried everything from our list, you need to consider any medical reasons that may be causing sleepless nights.

This is especially the case if you have an adult dog which slept well during the night for years and then suddenly started acting out during the night.

Your dog may be in pain, stressed, and anxious because of that. Or maybe they just feel a bit unwell.

If they are indeed sick, you’ll probably notice other changes in behavior too.

Instead of tiring them out more and going through all the steps above, take them to the vet as soon as possible to tackle the real problem. 

How to Sleep With Multiple Dogs in the House

Finally, let’s talk about the things you can do when you live in a multiple-dog household.

The steps you can take don’t differ much from what we discussed above, you just have double the work to do.

Also, you may have two (or more) completely different dogs, which require different strategies for each dog. So bear that in mind when applying these tips to your dogs.

Don’t force too much exercise on one dog if they don’t need it as much as the other does. Make sure you accommodate individual needs of all dogs.

You may be asking yourself why do that at all, why go through so much trouble? Well, it’s because you love your dogs, and you also want to get some sleep!

So, first and foremost, make sure you have enough dog beds around the house. You don’t want them to fight over that.

We strongly recommend you avoid letting multiple dogs into your bed because your sleep quality will likely suffer.

To go back to your routine, this is probably the most crucial thing to bear in mind when you have multiple dogs.

They all need to be expecting sleep time during the night. If you have just one dog not ready for sleep, you can expect chaos during the night. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t lose hope, even if you’re frustrated and tired right now. With these 7 tips on how to get your dog to sleep through the night, you’ll surely be able to make the situation better.

If you’re currently going through nights without sleeping, try to have a bit of patience. I know that can be easier said than done!

Remember that this maybe just a phase your adult dog is going through. You’re not always sleepy when you go to bed, depending on what is going on in your life.

Maybe your dog is also “going through something” however silly that may sound. If it’s not a phase and it lasts longer, then try the tips from this list.

A routine combined with a bit of effort to make your dog comfortable can do wonders for their sleep, as well as yours.

Good luck and happy sleeping!