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The first night with a puppy

Bringing a puppy home for the first time can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming for your new pup. Read on to find out how to look after puppies, surviving the first few nights with a puppy and more.

Planning for a puppy’s arrival 

Before you bring your four-legged friend home, it’s important to get all the key supplies in order. These include:

  • A puppy crate and/or bed 
  • Food and water bowls
  • Puppy pads for toilet training
  • Toys and dog chews
  • Dog poo bags
  • A brush or comb for grooming
  • Blankets

This list isn’t exhaustive, but these items are a great place to start when bringing a puppy home. Don’t forget to also set some ground rules (such as not letting the pup on the sofa) and making sure your home is puppy-proofed.

Tips for the first night with a puppy 

Your puppy’s first night home can be a challenge. They’re used to sleeping with their mum and siblings, so not having them around is a big change and can be upsetting for them at first.

For your puppy’s first night, it’s important to:

Establish a bedtime routine 

Your pup is likely to wake up and sometimes cry throughout the night as they settle into their new surroundings. Establishing a bedtime routine on the first day with a puppy can help them to understand what’s expected when the household goes to sleep.

Choose a sleeping area

You might want your precious pooch at the foot of your bed at night, but having a crate for them to retreat to is invaluable. Crate training your puppy on the first night can help them get into a routine. 

Make their space warm and comforting

Whether your new pup is going to sleep in a crate or a bed you’ll need to make sure it’s as cosy as possible for them. Be sure to give them blankets and something soft to sleep on. It can also be a good idea to pop a hot water bottle in there with them as they will be used to the warmth of sleeping next to all their littermates. Just make sure it’s not too hot and is wrapped in a towel or a cover. 

Stay close to them

Your new puppy will need time to adjust to life without their mum. It’s important to spend the first few nights in the same room as them so they don’t wake up in a panic because no one is there. 

Remind them of mum

Puppies can find it hard to settle when mum isn’t around. Breeders will usually give you something that smells of the pup’s mum to comfort them, like a blanket. Pop this where they sleep every night to help keep them calm.

Remember night-time toilet breaks

Your puppy’s first night home can be filled with toilet breaks, so be prepared to let them go throughout the night. Every puppy is different and will need to go varying amounts of time until they’re comfortable sleeping alone. 

Comfort them

Your puppy might cry or bark throughout the night if they’re feeling restless or panicked. Ignoring them can make them feel isolated and even more frightened. It’s important to comfort them and show that you’re there for them.

How long does a puppy sleep for?

When you first come home with a new pup don’t be surprised if they’re sleeping most of the time. Puppies can sleep for between 18 and 20 hours a day while they’re growing. They’ll spread this out throughout the day in the form of naps. 

New puppy tips for establishing a routine

Whilst puppies aren’t the same as babies, it can be a good idea to get into a good routine from the get-go to encourage them sleeping at the right times. 

Stick to a schedule 

Routine is important for any new puppy. Try to stick to their normal food times and don’t feed them too close to bedtime, as they will need to get up in the night to go to the toilet.  The breeder will have all the information on when, what and how much your pup usually eats.

Give regular toilet breaks

Your puppy will need to go to the toilet often and likely in the night at first. You might want to set an alarm to take them out every four hours or so to avoid any accidents while they’re learning the ropes of toilet training. 

Playtime before bedtime

Puppies have energy (when they’re not snoozing) so it can be a good idea to play with them about an hour before bedtime so they’re worn out and ready for a good sleep. This also gives them enough time to calm down before bed. 

Encourage naps

Growing can be tiring, and puppies do lots of it so it’s a good idea to encourage them to take regular naps throughout the day. Just don’t schedule them too close to bedtime. 

Avoid walks outside

Until your pup has had their full course of vaccinations, it’s important to avoid walks outside. That means supervising their playtime in a secure outdoor space and making sure they get plenty of mental stimulation inside to help tire them out. 

Does pet insurance cover puppies?

Puppies are curious pets and are always eager to explore, which can sometimes lead to accidents. Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance, provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc, helps to keep them protected from the moment you bring them home. 

You can take out a policy with us as soon as your dog is eight weeks old – whether it’s time limited, maximum benefit or lifetime cover. For more information, see our puppy insurance policy.

Frequently asked questions 

Where should a puppy sleep the first night?

It’s a good idea for your new puppy to sleep in a crate beside your bed. Staying in the same room as them will help them to feel secure. It also means you will hear them if they wake up in the night for a toilet visit.  

Is the first night with a puppy the hardest?

Your puppy’s first night can be tricky as they adjust to their new surroundings. To help them settle in, it’s important to stick to a bedtime routine. Try to stay in the same room with them, incorporate nighttime toilet breaks and comfort them if they’re feeling restless. 


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