A familiar sound interrupts the quiet as you drift asleep, sending a shiver down your spine. It’s not a monster or a thief, but the soft whine of your sleeping puppies. As a new pet owner, you may wonder what causes this behavior – is it a health issue, separation anxiety, or just a dream? This article explores the top seven reasons why puppies whine in their sleep. But before we dive in, let’s clarify a few things. Yes, puppies dream, much like humans. They may twitch or make sounds during REM sleep. However, not all whining in sleep is due to dreaming. It’s important to distinguish between different vocalizations to understand any underlying issues. According to the American Kennel Club, 40% of dog owners have noticed their pets whining or crying in their sleep. While some find it cute, others worry about their puppies’ well-being. This behavior has various reasons, from harmless to more serious concerns. Let’s explore these reasons and how to address them. In this complex world, armed with knowledge and love, we’ll help you and your pup get a peaceful night’s sleep. Stay tuned as we unravel the mysteries of puppies’ sleep patterns.

7 Reasons Why Puppies Whine In Their Sleep

The sound of a puppy howling in its sleep – it’s enough to melt your heart. But as cute as it may be, have you ever wondered why your furry little friend is howling in their dreams? 

Reason 1: Puppies Whine in Their Sleep at Dreaming

Ah, the sweet sounds of a sleeping puppy. Soft breaths, gentle snores, and… wait, what’s that? Is your little furball whining, whimpering, or even barking in its sleep? Don’t worry; it’s probably just a dream!

Just like humans, puppies dream during sleep. Researchers have found that the brain activity patterns of dreaming dogs are remarkably similar to those of dreaming humans. That’s right; your pup might be chasing rabbits, playing with their favorite toy, or even reenacting that time they stole a piece of bacon from the kitchen counter.

So why do puppies whine in their sleep when they’re dreaming? Well, just like how you might talk or even yell in your sleep during an intense dream, your pup’s vocalizations are likely a result of their dream content. They might try to catch a squirrel or warn off an imaginary intruder. Or they may be whimpering in response to a perceived threat or challenge.

So what should you do when your puppy whines because it is dreaming? The answer is… nothing! That’s right; there’s no need to wake them up or comfort them (unless they seem to be having a nightmare, in which case a gentle touch or soothing voice might help). Let them dream on and enjoy the show.

Of course, if your puppy’s dream whining is especially loud or frequent, it’s always a good idea to check in with your vet to ensure there’s no underlying health issue causing the disturbance. But in general, dreaming is a perfectly normal and harmless reason why puppies might whine in their sleep. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your dream pup’s sweet (and sometimes silly) sounds.

Reason 2: Discomfort or Pain

Your little puppy may be small, but it has big feelings. Just like humans, physical discomfort or pain can cause puppy whimpering in sleep, even in their sleep. If your pup is whining more frequently or intensely than usual, it’s worth checking to see if it’s experiencing discomfort or pain.

One common cause of puppy whining is an uncomfortable sleeping position. Puppies might twist, turn, and squirm in their sleep, sometimes leading to a position that puts pressure on a joint or muscle. If your pup is whining, try adjusting its sleeping position or adding a soft, supportive bed to help alleviate any discomfort.

An underlying health issue is another potential cause of whining related to discomfort or pain. Like adult dogs, puppies can experience various health problems that might lead to whining, such as arthritis, ear infections, or gastrointestinal issues. If your puppy’s whining persists even after adjusting its sleeping position or adding a comfy bed, it’s worth taking it to the vet to rule out any underlying medical issues.

Of course, not all whining related to discomfort or pain is physical. Puppies can also experience emotional discomfort, such as separation anxiety, which can cause them to whine in their sleep. If you suspect your pup might be experiencing emotional distress, try implementing some behavior modification techniques or working with a professional dog trainer to help ease their anxiety.

The bottom line is that if your puppy is whining in their sleep due to discomfort or pain, it’s important to address the underlying cause. Not only will it help your pup sleep more soundly, but it can also prevent any long-term health issues from developing. So, ensure your puppy is comfortable, healthy, and happy, and they’ll sleep peacefully in no time.

Reason 3: Separation Anxiety

Oh no, your puppy is whining in their sleep again. But this time, it might not be so innocent. It could be a sign of a serious condition known as separation anxiety or puppies do sleep outside.

Separation anxiety is a common behavioral issue among dogs, especially puppies. It occurs when a dog becomes distressed or anxious when separated from their owner or caretaker. This can lead to various unwanted behaviors, including destructive chewing, excessive barking, and whining in their sleep.

So how can you tell if your puppy is suffering from separation anxiety? Some common signs include destructive behavior when left alone, excessive barking or whining, house soiling, and physical symptoms like drooling or panting. Suppose you suspect your pup might be experiencing separation anxiety. In that case, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian or certified animal behaviorist to develop a plan to help them feel more secure and comfortable when you’re not around.

One key component of treating separation anxiety is gradual desensitization to being alone. This might involve leaving your puppy alone for short periods and gradually increasing the duration as they become more comfortable. It might also involve providing special toys or treats to keep them occupied while you’re away or using a pheromone spray or diffuser to help them feel calmer.

Of course, treating separation anxiety can be a long and challenging process, and it’s important to be patient and consistent. But with the right approach and plenty of love and support, your puppy can overcome anxiety and sleep peacefully through the night (whining-free).

Reason 4: Fear or Trauma

Let’s face it; the world can be scary, especially for a little puppy still learning the ropes. Even seemingly harmless things like thunderstorms, vacuum cleaners, or strangers can trigger fear and anxiety in your furry friend. And unfortunately, those fears can follow them into their sleep, causing whining and other vocalizations.

If your puppies whine in their sleep due to fear or trauma, it’s important to address the underlying issue. After all, a peaceful and restful sleep is crucial for your pup’s physical and mental health. Here are some common fears and traumas that might be causing your puppy’s sleep disturbances and what you can do to help:

Detachment Anxiety: Many puppies struggle with being alone, and separation anxiety can cause whining, whimpering, and other distress during sleep. To help your puppy feel more comfortable sleeping alone, try gradually increasing the time you spend away from them, using treats and positive reinforcement to create a positive association with alone time.

Loud Noises: Thunderstorms, fireworks, and other loud noises can terrify puppies, causing them to whine, shake, and hide. Try creating a safe and cozy den for your pup to retreat to during noisy events, and consider using calming supplements or pheromone sprays to help them feel more relaxed.

Previous Trauma: If your puppy has experienced a traumatic event in the past, it can haunt them in their sleep. This might include abuse, neglect, or separation from their mother too early. Be patient and gentle with your pup, and consider seeking the help of a professional trainer or behaviorist if the trauma is severe.

Addressing your puppy’s fears and traumas can help them feel more at ease during sleep and reduce their whining and other vocalizations. Remember, a happy and healthy puppy is a well-rested puppy!

Reason 5: Hunger or Thirst

We’ve all been there. You’re cozy in bed, ready to drift off to sleep when suddenly, your stomach starts grumbling. Or worse, you realize you forgot to drink water all day, and now your throat feels like the Sahara. Well, it turns out that puppies can experience similar hunger and thirst pangs during their sleep, and sometimes that can manifest as whining.

If your pup’s whining is high-pitched and persistent, they may be trying to communicate their need for food or water. After all, puppies have tiny stomachs and high metabolisms, so they must eat and drink more frequently than adult dogs. Depending on their age, breed, and activity level, your pup might need to eat every few hours or drink water multiple times daily.

So what should you do if your puppy whines due to hunger or thirst during sleep? The obvious answer is to ensure they’re well-fed and hydrated before bedtime. Offer them a small meal or a drink of water a little while before bed to help stave off any nighttime cravings. Just be careful not to overdo it, as too much water or food can lead to accidents or upset stomachs.

If your puppy’s whining persists despite being well-fed and hydrated, it may have an underlying health issue. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or gastrointestinal problems, can cause increased hunger or thirst in dogs. In that case, it’s best to check in with your vet to rule out any serious issues.

Ultimately, hunger or thirst is a common and easily fixable reason why puppies might whine in their sleep. So go ahead and give your pup a midnight snack or a sip of water, and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep for both you and your furry friend.

Reason 6: Need to Urinate or Defecate

Picture this: your puppy is sound asleep, snuggled up next to you on the couch when suddenly they start whining and shifting around. You think they might be having a bad dream, so you try to soothe them… but then you notice a distinct odor. Uh oh, it looks like your pup needs to go potty!

Yes, sometimes puppies whine in their sleep simply because they need to urinate or defecate. This is especially common in young puppies still learning to control their bladder and bowel movements. According to the American Kennel Club, puppies can generally hold their bladder for about one hour for every month of age (up to a maximum of eight hours for adult dogs).

So if your puppy is whining in their sleep and it’s been a while since their last potty break, it’s possible they can’t hold it any longer. Of course, the tricky part is figuring out whether they’re actually awake or still asleep! One telltale sign is if they start moving around more and seem agitated, trying to find a way out of their bed or crate. Another clue is if they continue whining or vocalizing after you’ve tried to calm them down.

In this case, the best thing to do is to gently wake your puppy up and take them outside to their designated potty spot. Be sure to use a calm, reassuring voice and avoid making a big fuss (even if you’re annoyed by the interruption). After all, accidents happen, and it’s important to help your puppy learn to associate going potty with the appropriate time and place.

As your puppy ages and improves bladder and bowel control, it will likely whine less frequently when it needs to go potty.

Reason 7: Cognitive Dysfunction or Age-Related Changes

We don’t like to think about it, but our beloved puppies won’t be puppies forever. As dogs age, they can experience various physical and cognitive changes impacting their sleep, including whining. But don’t worry; there are ways to help your senior pup rest comfortably and peacefully.

Older dogs might whine in their sleep commonly because of a cognitive dysfunction known as doggy dementia. This condition can affect dogs as they age, just like it can affect humans. Dogs with cognitive dysfunction might experience confusion, memory loss, and behavioral changes, including sleep disturbances. If your senior pup is whining more in their sleep than usual, it is worth consulting with your vet to see if cognitive dysfunction is possible.

Another age-related change that can impact sleep and cause whining is physical discomfort. As dogs age, they can develop arthritis, joint pain, and other conditions that make it harder to get comfortable and stay asleep. They might also need to go to the bathroom more frequently, which can disrupt their sleep and cause vocalizations.

How to solve these problems and ensure good sleep

How can you help your senior pup sleep more soundly and reduce whining? Here are a few tips:

Ensure they have a comfortable and supportive bed, especially if they have arthritis or other joint issues. Provide plenty of potty breaks before bed and throughout the night. Consider using a white noise machine or calming music to help drown out outside noises and create a soothing environment for your pup.

Talk to your vet about possible medication or supplements to help with sleep and cognitive function. And most importantly, show your senior pup plenty of love and attention. They may be getting older, but they’re still the same lovable, loyal companions that they’ve always been. By taking steps to help them sleep better and feel more comfortable, you can make their golden years as enjoyable as possible.


You cannot do much to prevent your pup from dreaming, but you can try to create a comfortable sleep environment for them. Provide a cozy bed and make sure the room is dark and quiet. If your puppy seems especially restless, gently wake them up and offer reassuring pets and cuddles.

Discomfort or Pain

If your pup whines in its sleep due to discomfort or pain, it’s important to address the underlying issue. This might mean a trip to the vet to rule out any medical conditions or injuries. In the meantime, you can provide a warm, cozy bed and use a heated pad to ease sore muscles.


Creating a sense of security and routine is important for puppies with separation anxiety. Consider crate training and establish a consistent bedtime routine. You can also leave a familiar item, such as a blanket or toy, with your pup when you’re not around.

Fear or Trauma

If your pup whines in its sleep due to fear or trauma, it’s important to address the root cause. This might mean desensitization training or working with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. In the meantime, try to create a calm and safe sleep environment and offer plenty of reassurance and affection.

Hunger or Thirst

Establish a consistent feeding and watering schedule to prevent hunger or thirst from waking your puppy in the middle of the night. If your pup is still waking up hungry, try feeding it a small, high-protein snack before bed.

Need to Urinate or Defecate

Establishing a consistent elimination schedule is key to avoiding middle-of-the-night wake-ups. Make sure your pup has plenty of opportunities to eliminate before bed and consider setting the alarm to take them out for a quick potty break in the middle of the night if needed.

Cognitive Dysfunction or Age-Related Changes

Providing a comfortable and safe sleep environment is important if your aging pup is whining. You can use a soft and supportive bed, extra padding for sore joints, and a calming essential oil diffuser to help your pup relax.

Addressing the underlying cause of your pup’s sleep whining and providing a comfortable and secure sleep environment can help your furry friend get the rest they need to grow and thrive. Sweet dreams, puppy parents!


Well, there you have it! Seven reasons your puppy might be whining in their sleep and tips on how to help them get a more restful night’s sleep. From dreaming to discomfort to separation anxiety, nighttime vocalizations have many potential causes. But with a little patience and creative problem-solving, you can help your puppy sleep more soundly and wake up refreshed and ready to play.

Of course, if your puppy’s whining persists despite your best efforts, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a veterinarian. They can help rule out any underlying medical issues and provide additional guidance on how to help your puppy get the rest it needs when it sleeps at night.



Why Do Dogs Whine In Their Sleep?


If whining persists and is potentially linked to discomfort or pain, a visit to the veterinarian is recommended. “Puppies whine for many reasons, but most whining falls into one of three categories: physical discomfort, loneliness, and boredom,” says Lorrie Reynolds, owner of Maximum Fun Dog Sports, in a new tab.

At What Age Do Puppies Stop Whining?

“In general, puppies tend to whine less as they acclimate and feel more secure in their new surroundings and daily routines,” she explains. “You’ll often notice a decrease in whining after the puppy has settled into its new home for approximately a month.”

Is It Normal For Puppies To Cry For No Reason?

Sometimes a puppy crying is normal and understandable, like when a new puppy is separated from its mother and is adjusting to new surroundings. This type of crying is likely to go away over time on its own with the correct management. Sometimes your puppy is crying because they want attention and comfort.

Why Do Puppies Cry In Their Sleep?

Crying, whining, or howling during sleep might suggest your dog is experiencing a nightmare or a dream where such behaviors are typical, like imagining joining a howling coyote pack. If your dog doesn’t display these behaviors while awake, there’s likely no cause for concern.

Why Is My Puppy Crying In His Sleep?

Our four-legged friends share many human-like characteristics with us, and their sleep cycles and noises are just some of those similar traits. If your dog cries in its sleep, it’s likely because it dreams of events from the day and communicates subconsciously.