You finally get a day to sleep in a little, and you’re just hoping to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, you and your dog have different ideas about sleeping in. Instead of waking up at 8:00 AM, your companion is telling you to wake up at 6:30 AM.
If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. Many dog owners have to deal with frustration when their dogs wake up too early, especially new dog parents.
It could be from anxiety, health problems, a messy routine, or a full bladder. It could also be due to hunger or even the environment they’re sleeping in.
Whatever it is, dogs have various reasons for not letting you sleep in. They could have too much energy, they may just need training, or you may need to change something about the room. It’s best to figure out the reason rather than getting upset and punishing your dog.
Stress and anxiety can interfere with our sleep. Dogs, like humans, may have trouble sleeping if something is stressing them out or scaring them.
If it’s in the morning in particular, there may be some environmental factor happening specifically in the early morning to wake them up early. It could be the garbage truck, another animal walking through, or maybe they just wake up and realize you aren’t there.
If a specific noise or trigger is causing your pup’s distress, it may help to play calming music to help them sleep through it. Do not lash out and yell at them, as that may just make their anxieties worse.
Anxiety can interrupt your pup’s sleep and keep them from going back to sleep. If something scares them or they have separation anxiety, they may have trouble sleeping in.
Separation anxiety can be especially disruptive to a dog’s sleep pattern, especially if you just brought them home. If they aren’t already sleeping with you, it may be best to at least let them sleep in the same room as you. Just being near can help them feel more at ease and sleep more. If you’re both comfortable with it, it may even be beneficial to have them in the bed with you.
If anxiety is a consistent problem for your companion, you may need to look into methods to manage it.
Like humans, dogs may have trouble sleeping if they aren’t feeling well. This may cause them to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. There are a lot of potential health problems your pup could be dealing with, ranging from minor to major.
If you notice that your pup is sick or injured, call the vet. If you think an illness is causing their sleep issues, observe them during the day for any other problems.
Urinary Tract Infections
A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a well-known disease in dogs that occurs when bacteria or fungus infects the urinary tract. They can cause a lot of trouble and pain for your companion if left alone, so make sure you call the vet if you suspect your pup has it.
A dog suffering from a UTI may have dark, cloudy urine or blood in their urine. They may drink more water, need to pee more, and may have more accidents indoors. They may also lick their private areas more than usual and strain to pee.
As your companion ages, they may eventually suffer from dementia. This condition can affect your senior’s sleep cycle, causing them to wake up earlier than usual.
A senior dealing with dementia may also seem disoriented, wandering around aimlessly, forgetting people and places, and not responding to their name the way they used to.
Older dogs may suffer from dementia, which may affect their sleep schedule.
As your companion ages, make sure you’re taking them to the vet for regular check-ups and keeping track of any symptoms of dementia.
Stomach issues can keep anyone up. Between the pain, diarrhea, or potential vomiting, sleeping is impossible. If your pup is waking up early with any of these symptoms, they’re probably waking up too early because their stomach is bothering them too much.
If your pup is suddenly waking up early with an upset stomach, make sure they aren’t eating anything too rich right before bedtime. If you suspect they’re picking something up after bedtime and making themselves sick, you may have to restrict them to a kennel and clean up the room.
Observe them during the day for any other signs of a problem. Make sure they’re drinking lots of water. If their stomach problems persist for more than a day, call the vet. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
If your pup sounds congested when they’re sleeping or they’re waking up with an itching problem, they may be suffering from allergies. Your pup may be waking up because their allergies are making them too uncomfortable to sleep any longer.
Allergies can be caused by the environment outside, their diet, or an allergic reaction to a certain substance. Make sure to learn your pup’s allergic triggers and go to the vet if you can’t get them under control.
Pain or Injury
If your dog is whimpering or limping in the morning, they may be hurt. Whether they hurt themselves in the morning or they’re just now showing it, injuries can be serious. Make sure you know the signs that your friend is in pain.
If you suspect your pup is injured, call the vet right away. Once their injury is dealt with, they should be able to sleep in again.
Make sure your companion is sleeping in a quiet, dark environment. If they’re sleeping out of a crate and in a room, make sure the room is kept dark at bedtime, with curtains blocking the sun out in the morning. If they are in a crate, put a blanket over it at night to keep it dark.
Make sure your companion has a comfy place to sleep that won’t get too bright or uncomfortable in the morning.
Let your companion sleep where they’re most comfortable. If they’re most comfortable in a crate, let them sleep in a crate. If they prefer a nice bed out in a room with you, let them sleep there. Your best bet for a full night’s sleep is to make it easy for your companion to get a comfortable sleep too.
If your pup seems to be waking up early with congestion or breathing issues due to the air quality in the room, you may want to invest in a humidifier to help them breathe.
Some dogs are still getting used to a routine and don’t know when the proper time to wake up is yet. It’s up to you to teach them.
Keeping your daily routine as consistent as possible is the best way to ensure your companion gets on a schedule with you. If you’re both consistently waking up at a certain time, they’ll usually get the hint and start waking up at that time too.
When you’re first in training trying to get them on a schedule, it’s best not to just give in and let them win. If they’re trying to wake you up too early, you may want to ignore them, as hard as that is. If they learn that whining and crying won’t get them what they want, they’ll eventually stop and go back to sleep for a while. If it’s an emergency, don’t ignore them.
Stay as consistent with your companion as possible to help them understand when it’s time to wake up and when it’s not.
If your companion needs to go, they need to go. No matter how early it is, their bladder doesn’t care. They will whine and cry, and if you don’t listen to them they may just go in the house, no matter how well-trained they are.
If these early-morning bathroom emergencies are common, you may need to make some adjustments to their bathroom schedule. You may need to make sure they’re getting a chance to empty their bladder right before bedtime. If you’re taking them out for the final time too early, their bladders may be full by the time the sun rises.
If you have a puppy or a dog with a small bladder, using pads may allow them to go to the bathroom when they need to and go back to bed without disturbing you.
Nobody likes to sleep hungry. It can keep us from falling asleep at night or it can cause us to wake up earlier than we’d like.
If your pup is waking up early and immediately harassing you for food, they may just be too hungry to sleep any later. And since you’re the only one who can feed them, that means you have to wake up too.
If your pup seems consistently starving in the morning, they may not be getting enough in their stomachs before bedtime to get them through the night. You may want to consider feeding them later or letting them have a small snack a little before bedtime.
If they seem consistently hungry no matter how much food they get or when, you may want to consider a health problem or a diet problem.
Make sure your pup has a chance to empty their bladder before bedtime. They can’t sleep if they need to pee.
Too Much Energy
If your pup has so much energy that they can’t sleep through the night, they may not be burning enough energy during the day. A dog will not be able to stay asleep if they have too much energy. And of course, that means they’ll be waking you up too.
Make sure you’re getting your dog lots of exercise and playtime during the day, especially right before bedtime. Whether it’s long walks, games, or playing with toys, it’s important to wear your companion out as much as possible before putting them to bed.
The more worn out your companion is, the more likely they are to let you sleep longer.
Depending on how old your dog is, it may just be harder for them to sleep in. Seniors and puppies are more likely to have problems for various reasons.
As stated earlier, older dogs start to have health problems like dementia that can affect their sleep patterns. They may also suffer from arthritis and joint pains. These painful and annoying health problems may cause your senior to naturally wake up earlier.
Older dogs may have trouble sleeping in due to health issues. On the other hand, puppies may not be able to sleep in because they have too much energy or because they aren’t on a consistent sleep schedule yet.
Puppies on the other hand may have trouble sleeping in because they have so much energy. They haven’t developed a normal sleep schedule yet and usually wake up, run around, eat, and crash again. They also need to pee a lot. Your puppy often does not have the bladder control for an eight-hour sleep.
If you have a puppy especially, you may want to go ahead and give up on sleeping in for a while. They often just can’t sleep the way we do yet. This should naturally resolve itself as your puppy ages and is able to sleep more on your schedule.
If you have an aging dog, be patient with them as they’re probably suffering from old age. They don’t mean to annoy you. Make sure you’re taking them to the vet often, especially if they seem to be in pain.
Help Your Dog Sleep Later
It’s irritating when your dog won’t let you sleep in, but there’s usually a reason. Your best bet is to be patient with them and try to pinpoint the reason. You’ll want to rule out any sicknesses or injuries first and go from there. If you suspect that a health issue is involved, call a vet.
You may need to observe how your pup reacts to the environment they’re sleeping in and make sure it’s a dark, comfortable place for them to sleep in. Consider if anything in the morning is worrying them or causing anxiety. You may also want to make sure that they’re getting enough food and exercise during the day so they’re tired and satisfied before bed.
Keep up a consistent routine, including a consistent wake-up time, and make sure they learn that demanding you wake up sooner won’t work. Make sure there’s room in that schedule for a bathroom break right before bed so their bladder is empty.
Be patient with your pup, especially if they’re a puppy or a senior, and try to keep them happy and healthy so they can sleep in too.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.