Why Does My Dog Wake Up So Early

If your dog wakes up early in the morning, and you don’t understand why, then you need to keep reading this article till the end. I am sure that you will get some answers from this post.

Here are the top 7 reasons why your dog wakes up so early.

He Is Feeling Hungry

The first and most common reason for your dog to wake up early is that he is hungry.

Would you be able to sleep well with an empty stomach? Certainly not possible, right?

This applies to your dog as well.

If your dog had his dinner early in the evening, followed by some late physical exercise, that is going to make him feel hungry early in the next morning, and he is likely going to wait up due to hunger.

What you can do is to cut down the physical games or activities for your dog in the night and replace them with some mental simulation games such as solving puzzles and obedience training programs.  

These mental activities will keep your dog occupied and make him ready for a good night’s sleep as he will be mentally exhausted after these games.

Also, make sure that you are feeding your dog a well-balanced meal that consists of protein, carbohydrates and fats. This will prevent your dog from waking up due to hunger in the early morning.

He Needs To Go For Potty

Dogs, especially the younger and smaller breeds such as Maltese, Shih Tzu, Pug and Chihuahua will need to go for their potty between 3 -5 times daily.

This is because they have a smaller bladder which will not be able to hold their urine for a longer period of time.

If your dog belongs to one of these smaller breeds, or he is less than 1 year old, he will need to do his potty at least 3 times daily.

What you should do is to cut down the water intake for your dog before he sleeps at night.

Bring him out for a leisure stroll after his meal and make him do his potty before bringing him back home for his sleep. Avoid giving him any more water after the stroll.

This would ensure that he had emptied his bladder and would not be awake by the urge to do his potty in the early morning.

Also, make sure that he had access outside for his potty and would not need to stay awake waiting for you to take him out for his pee or poo.

This will help him to develop the habit of going to his designated potty spot at regular intervals and would not have to wait for you. 

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He Is Feeling Unwell

Are you able to get a good sleep with your body’s discomfort? I bet you couldn’t. 

This goes for your dog as well.

If he is suffering from health discomfort such as diarrhea, skin itchiness or irritation, do not expect him to have a nice sleep over the night.

He is going to wake up early as he just couldn’t get a decent sleep without his discomfort being addressed.

The following are some ways to check if your dog is feeling unwell:

1. Pay close attention to his behavior and body conditions. If your dog has itchy, dry, flaky, red, irritated and painful skin, he is probably suffering from dermatitis.

Dermatitis is a very common skin condition among dogs that causes them to itch. When your dog is suffering from this disorder, he is likely to persistently scratch and lick his paws and coat.  

Do not let your dog lick the affected area of his body as the licking could make his condition worse.

Instead, you can apply an anti-inflammatory ointment or cream to heal the inflammation or take him to see a vet for treatment.

2. A dog with an ear infection will often whine, scratch his ears, shake his head from side to side, or even drool excessively.

To ease the ear discomfort, he may try to rub his ears against anything that he can find. If your dog exhibits these signs, it is an indication that he may have some form of ear infection.

You may need to get your dog’s ears cleaned and check if there are any signs of discharge in the ear canal. Bring him to seek veterinary care right away if you see any signs of bleeding or discharge.

3. Your dog may have a dental disease. This could be an infection of his gums or the tooth root or an infection of the mouth.

This leads to great pain in his mouth that can interfere with his sleep. Bring your dog to see a veterinarian for an examination on your pet’s teeth if you notice any signs of bleeding or bad breath in his mouth.

4. If he passes loose stools frequently, the problem could be a digestive tract disorder (result of eating spoiled food) that is causing him to have diarrhea.

A vet can examine your dog and give you advice on how to deal with this problem. Keep a close eye on the amount of water that your dog is drinking, because if he is having diarrhea, he may not be getting enough water.

5. Dementia can cause dogs to lose sleep. Dogs with dementia are more likely to get up at night and pace around. When dogs do not get sufficient sleep, they will exhibit signs of restlessness, anxiety, and even aggression.

Fortunately, there are some ways you can help your dog with dementia to sleep better.

The first thing you need to do is to get a good quality dog bed for him. Your dog will be more comfortable if he is sleeping in a bed that fits his body shape.

You should also make sure that he has enough space to stretch out. If he is sleeping in a crate, make sure that it is specious for him to be able to turn around easily. A crate that is too small will force your dog to sleep in uncomfortable positions.

Your dog should also get plenty of exercise. A dog who gets regular exercise is less likely to have problems with sleep. 

Of course, it is best to consult with your veterinarian to come up with a treatment plan that works for your dog.

6. Arthritis and other joint problems could be one of the possible causes of your dog waking up early. This is especially so if your dog is reaching his senior age.

This is often accompanied by signs such as loss of appetite, general lack of energy, dislike of moving around, especially up the stairs, and skipping when walking.

7. Other than the above, dogs could also wake up early because of various other medical conditions such as diabetes, urinary tract infection or hyperthyroidism. These conditions can be easily detected through regular checkups of your dog.

He Had A Stressful Night

Apart from physical discomfort, emotional issues such as fear and anxiety may also cause your dog to lose his sleep.

A change in his sleeping routine or place and fear of being alone during the night can easily upset his sleep pattern and make him anxious.

If you notice that your dog is having trouble sleeping, or if he is anxious at night, he may be suffering from stress.

Try to identify the cause of his stress and work on easing his anxiety.

“Things” that can have an emotional impact on your dog include:

1. Separation anxiety is one of the most common emotional problems in dogs. It occurs when your dog is left alone and is unable to see you.

This creates anxiety, fear, and nervousness in him. It is normal for puppies to be clingy at times, but if your dog continues to act this way, you should work on building his confidence to be alone.

2. Your dog could be in fear of his new sleeping environment or there are some things happening, such as loud noises (thunder and fireworks) or strangers in the house that he is afraid of.

If your dog is afraid of loud noises, you should make sure that he has a safe place where he can hide.

You may want to consider getting a crate for your dog. This will help him sleep through the night without waking up every time someone enters the room.

3. Does your dog have a cozy, spacious and warm sleeping area? Your dog’s quality of sleep will depend on this.

If he has a poor sleeping condition, it can cause anxiety and stress and make him restless.

He Misses You

You have been out on a business trip for quite a while and your dog misses you so much. He is so happy and excited to see you again, and he will wake up early to make sure that you are still around.

In some cases, you might even find him burying his head in you during the night to prevent you from leaving his sight. 

You see, an hour of your day is equivalent to 7 hours for your dog. So, if you are away from him for 3 days, he will find that you are away from him for 504 hours!

That, of course, is going to make him clingy to you when he sees you again.

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Changes In His Biological Clock

Did you observe that old people tend to wait up early in the morning and this happens to your dog as well.

Here’s why:

Dogs, like humans, have an internal clock that helps to regulate their sleep-wake schedule.

It is a 24-hour biological rhythm that is regulated by light and dark cycles. This “clocking” makes your dog alert during the day and sleepy at night.

When his circadian clock is off, it can cause your dog to wake up early in the morning.

Factors that could affect your dog’s circadian rhythm include changes in his sleeping hours or result of aging.

It is inevitable that your dog’s sleeping cycle will change throughout his life. This is a gradual change that usually happens as he gets older.

For instance, as he reaches his senior age (more than 10 years old), his circadian rhythm will start to be affected by the slow production of melatonin

This is because as his body ages, the production of melatonin will decrease.

This melatonin hormone is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It plays a major role in regulating your dog’s circadian rhythm, which in turn, controls his sleep-wake cycle.

Dementia, which happens to many older dogs, can also have an adverse impact on their sleeping patterns, which leads to the reversal of their day to night sleeping routine.

The Early Rising of the Sun Affects Dogs

The early rising of the sun will make your dog wake up early in the morning. This is a natural instinct for dogs. They will wake up when there is light.

What you can do is to make sure that your dog’s sleeping area is free from any windows or to have curtains covering the windows so that the early rise of the sunlight doesn’t catch his attention.

If your dog keeps waking up early in the morning, it can pose a health issue for him in the long run. This is because a dog needs a minimum of 12 hours of sleep to stay healthy and active.

How Do I Stop My Dog Waking Up So Early?

Make sure that your dog’s sleeping area is not too bright and is conducive to sleep.

If he is staying in a crate, you can place a blanket over the crate to block out the light if your family members are waking up early for work.  This will help your dog to stay asleep until you let him out.

If you have a dog that is used to waking up at a certain time every day, then you need to make sure that he has a consistent routine.

A fixed routine will train your dog to know when he should wake up, have his meal and go for his morning walk. This will help him to adjust to the schedule and stick to it.

Lastly, do NOT make it (waking up early) a rewarding experience for your dog. You see, dogs like to do things that please their owners.

So, if you make your dog feel that you are happy to see him at 5.00 am, he will undoubtedly be repeating this behavior consistently.

What you should do is to make him learn that this is an undesirable behavior, and you are not going to reward him for doing it. Show him your unhappiness and ignore him.

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