Hank Blog

Why Do Dogs Cry at Night and What You Can Do to Help?

Why Do Dogs Cry at Night and What You Can Do About It
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Dogs are known for their loyalty, companionship, and their often quirky behaviors. One such behavior that can perplex and sometimes frustrate dog owners is nighttime crying. This can be particularly concerning when it disrupts the household’s sleep. Understanding why dogs cry at night and learning how to address this issue can lead to more peaceful nights for both you and your furry friend. In this blog, we’ll explore the various reasons why dogs cry at night and offer practical solutions to help mitigate this behavior.

Why Do Dogs Cry at Night?

Why Do Dogs Cry at Night?

1) Seeking Attention or Companionship

Dogs are social creatures that thrive on interaction and companionship. When left alone at night, especially in a new environment or after a change in routine, dogs may cry out of loneliness. This is particularly common in puppies and newly adopted dogs who are adjusting to their new homes.

Attention-seeking behavior often stems from a dog’s instinctual need to be close to their pack, which, in a domestic setting, translates to their human family. When they are separated, particularly during the quiet and dark hours of the night, they may cry to get attention and be reunited with their family.

Solution: Spend quality time with your dog during the day to strengthen your bond. Ensure their sleeping area is comfortable and close to the family, if possible. Gradually acclimate your dog to being alone by using positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewarding them when they remain calm during periods of separation.

2) Anxiety or Fear

Dogs can experience anxiety or fear, which can be heightened at night. This could be due to separation anxiety, fear of the dark, loud noises (like thunderstorms or fireworks), or unfamiliar environments. Dogs that have experienced trauma or have not been properly socialized may be more prone to nighttime anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a common issue where dogs become distressed when their owners leave them alone. This can result in crying, destructive behavior, and other signs of stress.

Solution: Create a safe and secure sleeping environment for your dog. Consider using calming aids such as white noise machines, anxiety wraps, or pheromone diffusers designed to reduce stress. Establish a calming bedtime routine that includes gentle play, a walk, and some quiet time. For dogs with severe anxiety, consulting a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer might be necessary to develop a tailored behavior modification plan.

3) Health Issues

Health problems can cause discomfort or pain, leading dogs to cry at night. Conditions such as arthritis, dental problems, digestive issues, or urinary tract infections can make it difficult for dogs to rest comfortably.

Older dogs, in particular, may suffer from arthritis or other age-related conditions that cause pain and discomfort. Puppies, on the other hand, might experience growing pains or digestive upset as their bodies develop.

Solution: If your dog’s crying is persistent and you suspect it might be due to a health issue, it’s important to visit the vet for a thorough examination. Addressing any underlying medical conditions can alleviate discomfort and reduce nighttime crying. Ensure your dog has a comfortable bed that supports their joints, especially for older dogs with arthritis.

4) Boredom

Dogs need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. A lack of exercise or engaging activities during the day can leave a dog restless and bored at night, leading to crying.

Dogs are naturally active animals, and when their physical and mental needs are not met, they can become frustrated and vocalize their discontent. This is particularly common in high-energy breeds that require more exercise and stimulation.

Solution: Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise and playtime during the day. Engage in activities that challenge them both physically and mentally, such as fetch, agility training, or puzzle toys. Interactive toys and puzzles can keep their minds occupied and tire them out, making them more likely to sleep soundly through the night.

5) Needs or Wants Something

Sometimes, dogs cry at night because they need something, such as a bathroom break, food, or water. Puppies, in particular, have smaller bladders and may need to go out more frequently than adult dogs.

Older dogs might also need more frequent bathroom breaks due to age-related changes in their bladder control. Additionally, if your dog’s feeding schedule is inconsistent, they might wake up hungry in the middle of the night.

Solution: Establish a consistent routine for feeding and bathroom breaks. Make sure your dog has access to fresh water and has had a chance to relieve themselves before bedtime. Adjust their feeding schedule to ensure they are not going to bed hungry. For puppies, consider setting an alarm for a middle-of-the-night bathroom break until they are able to hold it through the night.

6) Environmental Changes

Changes in the household, such as moving to a new home, new family members (including pets), or even rearranging furniture, can cause stress and lead to nighttime crying. Dogs are creatures of habit, and disruptions to their familiar environment can make them feel insecure.

Environmental stressors can be particularly challenging for dogs that are sensitive to change or have not been properly socialized to adapt to new situations.

Solution: Be patient and provide extra comfort and reassurance during periods of change. Maintain a consistent routine to help your dog feel more secure. Gradually introduce any changes to their environment, and provide them with familiar objects, such as their bed or favorite toys, to help them adjust.

7) Instinctual Behaviors

Some dogs cry at night due to instinctual behaviors inherited from their wild ancestors. In the wild, canines might howl or cry to communicate with their pack members. This behavior can sometimes manifest in domestic dogs, particularly in breeds known for their vocalization, such as Huskies or Beagles.

Solution: Recognize that some level of vocalization is natural for certain breeds. Training and positive reinforcement can help manage excessive crying. Provide your dog with activities that fulfill their instinctual needs, such as scent games or tracking exercises.

What Can You Do to Help?

Why Do Dogs Cry at Night and What You Can Do?

Addressing nighttime crying requires understanding the root cause and implementing appropriate solutions. Here are some general tips to help your dog and ensure a restful night for both of you:

  1. Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
    • Ensure your dog has a cozy, quiet place to sleep.
    • Use comfortable bedding and consider a crate if your dog feels secure in it.
    • Place their bed in a location where they feel safe and close to family members if possible.
  2. Establish a Routine
    • Dogs thrive on routine. Establish consistent feeding, exercise, and bathroom schedules.
    • Create a calming bedtime routine that helps your dog wind down, such as a short walk followed by some quiet time.
  3. Provide Adequate Exercise and Mental Stimulation
    • Engage your dog in regular physical activities to tire them out.
    • Use puzzle toys, training sessions, and interactive play to keep their minds engaged.
  4. Use Calming Aids
    • Consider using white noise machines, calming pheromone diffusers, or anxiety wraps.
    • Natural supplements or medications prescribed by a vet can also help reduce anxiety.
  5. Positive Reinforcement
    • Reward your dog for calm behavior and gradually increase the time they spend alone.
    • Avoid reinforcing crying by not immediately responding to it. Wait for a moment of quiet before giving attention.
  6. Consult Professionals
    • If your dog’s crying is due to health issues or severe anxiety, consult a veterinarian or a professional dog behaviorist for tailored advice and treatment options.

What If a Street Dog Is Crying at Night?

Why Do Dogs Cry at Night and What You Can Do?

Street dogs, also known as stray dogs, might cry at night for many of the same reasons as domestic dogs. However, they face additional challenges due to their environment.

1) Hunger and Thirst

Street dogs often struggle to find enough food and clean water, which can lead to crying at night due to hunger or thirst.

Solution: If you encounter a crying street dog, consider providing food and water. This small act of kindness can significantly improve the dog’s well-being.

2) Health Issues

Street dogs are more susceptible to untreated health issues, injuries, and diseases, which can cause pain and discomfort, leading to nighttime crying.

Solution: Contact local animal welfare organizations or shelters that can provide medical care and support for the dog. If possible, you can temporarily take the dog to a veterinarian for an examination.

3) Fear and Insecurity

Street dogs often live in harsh conditions with constant threats from other animals, humans, and environmental factors, which can make them anxious and fearful, resulting in crying.

Solution: Approach the dog calmly and try to create a safe space for them. Providing a temporary shelter, such as a cardboard box with some bedding, can help them feel more secure.

4) Loneliness and Lack of Companionship

Street dogs may also cry due to loneliness and the absence of a pack or human companionship.

Solution: Spend some time with the dog if you can. Even a few minutes of attention and affection can make a difference. If the dog is friendly and approachable, consider fostering or adopting them, or helping them find a loving home through a local rescue organization.


Understanding why dogs cry at night and taking steps to address the underlying causes can lead to more peaceful nights for both you and your dog. Whether it’s due to seeking attention, anxiety, health issues, boredom, or environmental changes, each cause has specific solutions that can help. Patience, compassion, and consistency are key in addressing this behavior. If the crying persists despite your best efforts, seeking professional help is always a good step to ensure your dog’s well-being and happiness.

By taking the time to understand and address your dog’s needs, you can help them feel more secure and content, leading to restful nights for everyone in the household.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How long does it take for a new dog to stop crying at night?

The adjustment period for a new dog can vary. Puppies and newly adopted dogs may take a few days to a few weeks to settle into a new environment. Consistency in routine and providing comfort can help speed up this process.

Q2: Should I let my dog cry it out at night?

It’s generally not advisable to let a dog cry it out, especially if they are distressed. This can increase anxiety and worsen the behavior. Instead, try to understand and address the underlying cause of the crying.

Q3: Can I give my dog medication to stop them from crying at night?

Medication should only be used as a last resort and under the guidance of a veterinarian. There are natural calming aids and behavioral techniques that can be tried first.

Q4: Is it normal for puppies to cry at night?

Yes, it is normal for puppies to cry at night as they adjust to their new home and routine. Ensuring they are comfortable, well-exercised, and have a bathroom break before bed can help reduce crying.

Q5: How can I tell if my dog is crying due to pain?

If your dog’s crying is accompanied by other signs of distress, such as limping, difficulty moving, changes in appetite, or unusual behavior, it could be due to pain. A veterinary examination is necessary to diagnose and treat any underlying health issues.

Q6: Can changing my dog’s diet help with nighttime crying?

If your dog’s crying is due to digestive discomfort or hunger, adjusting their diet might help. Ensure they are fed a balanced diet and consult your vet if you suspect food allergies or intolerances.

Pet Supplies Sale