Why Does My Dog Wake Up So Early?

We’ve all experienced it before! In the wee hours of the morning, your furry friend starts scratching at your door, barking incessantly, and disrupting your precious sleep. You’re not alone in wondering, “Why does my dog wake up too early?” There are various reasons for this behavior, ranging from simple discomfort to more serious health conditions and separation anxiety. Let’s dig deeper to uncover the reasons behind your dog’s early morning wake-up calls.

Why Do Dogs Wake Up Early?

There are several factors that may cause your dog to wake up early. These reasons can be either physical or psychological. Psychological causes often include separation anxiety, which occurs when a dog dislikes being left alone. Dogs with separation anxiety tend to wake up frequently to check if their humans are still nearby. Additionally, stress and depression can also disrupt their sleep patterns.

On the other hand, your dog may be waking up early due to physical discomfort. It’s essential to ensure that there are no underlying medical issues such as urinary tract infections, digestive problems, or pain that make your dog uncomfortable at night. If your dog consistently wakes up early and displays signs of distress, it’s crucial to consult your vet and rule out any physical conditions.

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7 Tips to Change Your Dog’s Habit of Waking Up Too Early

Fortunately, there are several strategies you can try to prevent your furry companion from waking you up in the early hours of the morning. Consider the following aspects: their bedtime environment, routine, health, energy levels, and diet.

1. Ensure a ‘Bedtime’ Environment

After ruling out physical and psychological causes, it’s worth evaluating the environment in which your dog sleeps. Create a dark and unstimulating atmosphere in your room at night. Turn off the TV earlier, remove any stimulating toys, and consider using room-darkening shades to promote better sleep for your pup. If your dog sleeps in a crate, covering it with a blanket can help block out external stimuli. Investing in a comfortable bed is also crucial. Remember, an uncomfortable bed might be the simple reason behind your dog’s early wake-up calls!

2. Set a Sleep Routine

Dogs thrive on routines. Having a consistent schedule for feeding, walking, and bedtime can help your dog anticipate and understand when it’s time to sleep. This not only fosters patience but also reduces anxiety. If your dog spends the evening relaxing with you, they may not sleep well at night because they’ve already caught up on rest. To encourage restful sleep, plan your dog’s playtime and exercise accordingly. Going to bed at the same time each night will establish a reliable bedtime for your dog. With time, they may even start going to bed before you prompt them!

3. Make Sure Your Dog Isn’t Sick

Several medical issues can disrupt your dog’s sleep, causing them to wake up early. Urinary tract infections, joint pain, and even dementia can contribute to this behavior. Keep a close eye on your dog for signs of illness and distress such as weight loss, loss of appetite, fever, accidents, limping, behavioral changes, or gastrointestinal upsets. If you notice these signs, it’s crucial to consult your vet. During the visit, your vet will assess your dog’s behavior, symptoms, and conduct a thorough examination to diagnose any underlying health issues. Following your vet’s advice and care plan will help your pup get a better night’s sleep.

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4. Bathroom Break

If your dog wakes you up early to go to the toilet, consider providing extra bathroom breaks before bedtime. Take your dog for a last-minute break right before both of you go to bed. By allowing your dog to relieve themselves before sleeping, they are more likely to hold their bladder longer. However, remember that frequent urination can also be a sign of illness. If your dog needs to go more often than usual, consult your vet for advice.

dog waking up too early
Try implementing bathroom breaks to help your pup sleep-in longer.

5. Crate Training

Proper crate training can help your dog feel secure at night. It’s important for your dog to view their crate as their personal space, somewhere they can sleep and retreat to when feeling overwhelmed. Never use the crate as a form of punishment, even if your dog wakes up early. Once you have chosen a suitable crate, make it cozy by adding blankets both on top and inside. Consistency and fairness are crucial during crate training. Avoid leaving your dog in the crate for more than four hours, and if they show signs of extreme distress, take a step back in your training.

6. Ensure a Proper Diet

Just like us, dogs don’t sleep well on an empty stomach. If your dog is hungry, they might struggle to ignore this feeling and seek your attention. Therefore, reevaluate their diet if they wake up early. Are you feeding them an appropriate serving size? Do you feed them once or twice a day? Consider feeding your dog a little later in the day and offering a treat right before bedtime. This change in schedule might help reduce their morning hunger and allow both you and your dog to get a few extra hours of rest.

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7. Tire Your Dog Out

If your dog seems to have excess energy at night, it’s essential to review their exercise routine. The level of activity your dog needs varies depending on their breed. Lower-energy breeds like the English Bulldog typically require one 20-30 minute walk per day, whereas high-energy breeds like the Belgian Malinois need multiple walks and over two hours of activity. If your dog wakes up early, they may benefit from additional exercise during the day, such as hiking, swimming, or engaging in dog sports. Giving them some extra playtime before bed can also help burn off excess energy. By associating bedtime with fun, your dog will be more likely to settle down and sleep soundly.

Dogs Waking up Early – FAQs

If you have any further questions or concerns about your dog waking up too early, feel free to refer to our Frequently Asked Questions section for more details. And, as always, if in doubt, consult your vet for advice.

Remember, a dog waking up too early can indicate unmet needs or underlying mental and physical difficulties. To prevent these rude awakenings, it’s crucial to identify the cause behind your dog’s unusual sleeping habits.

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