Puppy Sleep Regression [No More Sleepless Nights]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

The adorable world of puppies, where cuteness and chaos reign supreme!

I found myself, a self-proclaimed “Puppy Whisperer,” quite bamboozled when my little furball suddenly decided to moonlight as a nocturnal creature.

Is puppy sleep regression a real thing?

Puppy sleep regression is often caused by developmental changes, anxiety, or environmental disruptions. As puppies grow, their sleep patterns can shift, and new experiences or surroundings may trigger stress. Identifying the cause and addressing it with consistency will help your pup snooze soundly once more.

So, grab your coffee (you’ll need it) and join me on this tail-wagging journey as we navigate through the perplexing labyrinth of puppy sleep regression!

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Puppy Sleep Patterns

Puppy Sleep Patterns

Having a puppy at home is like trying to solve a puzzle only to realize you’re missing a piece when you get closer to the end.

Imagine this, you’ve already understood your pup’s long sleeping schedule.

You’ve gotten used to him sleeping for hours and hours.

Then a couple of weeks or months later you’re getting roused from your sleep because of your puppy’s crying and disturbed sleeping schedule.

Now, sleep regression among puppies is quite normal, and most, if not all actually go through it.

If you’ve recently noticed how your fur baby keeps on waking up in the middle of the night with a disrupted sleeping pattern, it’s more likely due to sleep regression.

What’s puppy sleep regression, you ask? It’s just the name itself!

It’s this situation when your puppy, from sleeping through the night, wakes up from time to time with trouble going back to sleep.

Let’s look at the different stages of its puppyhood to understand further.

Learn this: When do puppies start drinking water and eating food?

Puppy sleep regression at 3 months

via GIPHY

At 3 months, a puppy will go home to his new and permanent family.

The change in environment will cause sleep regression as the pup is still unsure whether the new place is safe for him to sleep on.

Puppies at 3 months old also go through a growth spurt.

It’s a very uncomfortable experience for their bodies since they’re literally gaining weight and height.

A 3-month-old puppy is getting more aware of his surroundings as well.

He can now hear and see more than he once did when he was younger.

These heightened senses make him prone to sensitivity. A slight noise can wake him up and can frighten him too. 

Thus, he’d stay more awake than asleep to secure his surroundings.

Puppy sleep regression at 4, 5 & 6 months

Puppy sleep regression at 4, 5 & 6 months

By 4, 5, and 6 months, your puppy has already grown attached to you.

However, if it sleeps far away from you, this might cause anxiety hence it’s experiencing sleep regression.

It’s also around these months when growth spurts intensify.

Have you ever heard about growing pains?

It’s when your pup feels sore in his muscles or joints when he’s rapidly growing.

Such feelings are very painful and unbearable at times, thus he gets an uneasy sleep through the night.

It’s also important to tell you that at 4 to 6 months, your fur-baby steadily loses all his baby teeth.

Then he’ll consequently gain more adult teeth. And I gotta tell you, teething is such an UNPLEASANT feeling for your pup.

He’ll be groaning, crying, howling, and waking up so many times throughout his sleep.

I’m not trying to scare you but be absolutely prepared when your pup hits this milestone of his life.

Puppy sleep regression at 7-18 months old

If your puppy is already 7 to 18 months old, I gotta congratulate you because you now have a young adolescent pup!

But we gotta pause that celebration because the growth spurt is still not over at 7 to 10 months.

And at this point, your pup isn’t just being roused from his sleep due to growing pains but also because of his uncomfortable crate or bed.

He has already grown quite a lot and is still growing, so the crate that he’d been using since he was little can no longer make him feel comfy which can cause sleep regression.

And since it’s already around these months when your dog enters adolescence, he’ll already be experiencing puberty!

Male pups will be more aggressive, especially when he feels uneasy in their sleep. Female fur babies will feel the need to pee more often during their sleep.

On average, female doggies usually go in heat at 7 months old.

That’s also one reason why they might be up more often and sleeping only intermittently.

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Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Over tired puppy

Why is My Puppy Suddenly Not Sleeping Through the Night?

ReasonExplanation
Changes in environmentStress from moving or adjusting to a new place, leading to heightened alertness at night.
Fear and anxietyFear of sudden noises or movements at night, and anxiety about potential danger.
Growth spurtRestlessness and discomfort due to growing pains, resulting in disturbed sleep.
Outgrown its crateDiscomfort from being too big for the crate, causing frequent waking to stretch limbs.
Teething phasePain and irritation from teething, leading to waking up and crying.
Too bonded to the ownerSeparation anxiety and a desire to stay close to the owner, especially if not crate-trained.
Lonely or scaredFeeling alone and scared without the presence of familiar individuals, leading to sleeplessness.
BoredomLack of activity or stimulation, causing the puppy to wake up and look for things to do at night.

Sleep regression is a real thing, and it might be normal but it still causes stress to both dog parents and puppies.

If you’re wondering what might be the reasons why your puppy is suddenly not sleeping through the night, I’ve got some answers for you!

Changes in environment

One of your pup’s nemesis is changes in the environment.

Dogs LOATHE it to the point that they can lose sleep because of it.

If you’ve recently moved, trust me when I say you aren’t the only one stressed out because of it.

Adjusting to a new environment is quite distressing for your pup who’s surely overwhelmed with everything he’s newly encountering.

At night, when the surroundings is darker and quieter, your pup will be more alert.

It might stand on guard instead of sleeping for the fear of danger coming to him and his family.

This, of course, leads to sleep regression as he’d choose to stay up to protect you and himself.

But if the case is different and you just recently adopted your pup, the new environment and new people will stress him.

He doesn’t know you or the place you’ve taken him to and would have more trouble trusting you too since he’d feel like you took him from his mother.

The stress of unfamiliarity not only makes your pup anxious but also hesitant to sleep!

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Feeling fear and anxiety

Dogs protect their fur parents, but they too can get scared.

At night, when the house is dark and quiet, your dog might feel scared by a sudden noise or movement.

That feeling of fear can affect his sleep as he’d be more focused on finding the source of noise or movement instead of sleeping.

The feeling of fear can also be intensified by the anxiety of being in danger, hence your dog will stay up all alert.

Going through a growth spurt

A growth spurt, as I’ve mentioned earlier, can cause restless behavior due to growing pains.

Muscles and joints become sore, and crates or beds become uncomfortable for your pup.

When your puppy goes through a growth spurt, he’d most likely not sleep through the night because of the uneasy and sore feeling he’s experiencing.

Even worse, he’ll be howling or crying from time to time.

Outgrown its crate

When your puppy is already too big for his crate, the tendency is he’d curl up just to fit in.

And that could be so uncomfy!

Hence, he’ll wake up from time to time through the night to walk around and stretch his limbs.

Teething phase

The teething phase is by far the worst and most painful reason why your puppy is having trouble getting a good night’s sleep.

Your pup will salivate more and will lose appetite. Such feelings can be so irritating to your pup that he won’t be comfortable sleeping.

He’ll wake up from time to time to cry as his way of telling you he is in pain.

This is a normal case with puppies since teething is part of growing into adulthood, but indeed it can be very painful.

Too bonded to the owner

Separation anxiety can also be a cause of why your dog doesn’t sleep through the night especially if he isn’t crate-trained.

He’ll be wanting to stay close to you since he’s anxious about whether you would leave or get in danger. 

It will even be worse if he is so used to your scent that being away from you without getting a whiff of your scent can keep him up all night.

Lonely or scared

Dogs naturally want to be around their pack, and your puppy certainly wants to be around its mother while it sleeps.

If it is sleeping in a crate alone without sensing anyone it knows nearby, it’ll feel lonely and scared.

It’ll spend the night night being all sad and scared instead of sleeping since it can’t cuddle up with anyone it’s familiar with.

Dogs are clingy, especially the younger ones. They require more attention especially at night when they feel alone.

Boredom

Dogs are very active creatures. They love playing either with your toes or their favorite toys.

Hence, at night when no one’s playing with your puppy, he can feel boredom that gnaws at his mind.

He’ll be wanting to play, or get your attention. That’s why you’ll notice your puppy waking up in the middle of the night and walking around your home.

He’s probably looking for something to keep himself busy. Perhaps a lone toy or insect hopping around?

How to Help Your Puppy Overcome Sleep Regression?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XslPKRA91Yc

Plenty of exercises during the day or before bedtime helps your puppy burn his excess energy so he can overcome sleep regression.

The tiring activities during the day will surely keep him calm and in need of a goodnight’s sleep. 

Engaging him in a fun and long exercise is one of the easiest solutions for puppy sleep regression.

Giving your pup a comfortable crate with cool sheets over it can also encourage a comfy and peaceful sleep. 

If you’ve noticed that your puppy loves soothing music, it’s also best to play some of it at night to help your pup calm down.

How Long Does Puppy Regression Last?

Puppy regression may last for up to 2 to 18 months until they’ve fully developed into adulthood.

Around this time, growth spurts and teething have stopped, and a puppy may already feel well-adjusted to his environment, and comfortable enough to sleep through the night.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do puppies regress at 6 months old?

Puppies regress at 6 months old. They’ll be spending much of their time playing, and running around than sleeping. Some pups also have their first in-heat experience during this month, which adds to the reasons why their sleep regresses.

Do puppies regress at 1 year old?

Typically, puppies cease to regress at 1 year old. They’ve mostly developed already, and have no reason to stay up all night. But certain factors like anxiety and fear may cause a 1 year old puppy to regress.

How long should a 3-month-old puppy sleep at night?

A 3-month-old puppy should at least have a minimum of 15 hours of sleep. This is enough time for the puppy to have some rest and have more energy to engage in activities later.

In Conclusion: Puppy Sleep Regression

As we wrap up our sleep-savvy adventure, remember that patience, understanding, and consistency are key to overcoming puppy sleep regression.

With these tips and a sprinkle of humor, you’ll soon be cruising through dreamland alongside your well-rested furball.

May you both enjoy many nights of peaceful, uninterrupted slumber!

Don’t miss out on these puppy care articles too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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