WHY DOES MY DOG WAKE UP AT 5 AM?
Young dogs and puppies are known to be very energetic. This is one of the things we love about them. They jump around for us, run, roll over, try to be cute and all. We enjoy these things and why not, they are part of the things that make having a dog fun.
But if they choose to engage in some of these activities when we do not feel like it, the act quickly starts turning into a nuisance. It becomes a source of irritation for us and affects our relationship with our dog. One of the ways which your dog can start becoming a nuisance to you is by waking up by 5 am, making noises all around, and trying to get our attention.
This time is usually when our beauty sleep kicks in for most of us and being disturbed so early in the morning is not something most of us look forward to, even if you are the type that likes to wake up early.
So why does my dog wake up at 5 am and what can I do about it?
First, let’s address all the possible reasons why your dog wakes up at 5 am.
Uncomfortable Sleeping Place.
Your dog may be waking up by 5 am because his or her sleep place is uncomfortable. There are different things and scenarios that can make it hard for your dog to sleep well at night. A noisy environment, rough surfaces, bright lights in the sleeping area, the temperature of the sleeping place (how hot or cold is the place), etc.
A sleeping place like this will not only make it hard for your dog to sleep but keep him or her awake most of the night. Some of you might say how is it possible for me to make such a mistake with my dog? But answer this question honestly, how much thought have you put into where your dog sleeps? This question goes for all dog owners even those that have provided crates and beds for their dogs.
This is a very common problem in the dog world and is mostly characterized by a dog not wanting to be apart from its owner even for a moment. A pointer to your dog having this problem is if you are finding it hard to separate yourself from him or her just before sleep time. This would be in addition to other signs of separation anxiety.
A dog suffering from separation anxiety would wake up severally at night to make sure you are still there, this usually culminates in waking you up at 5 am in the morning.
You can learn more about managing this problem by reading this article DEALING WITH SEPARATION ANXIETY IN DOGS
Your Dog is Hungry
This usually has to do with the feeding schedule you have set up with your dog. If you have been feeding your dog early in the morning, then your dog waiting up and being excited in anticipation of his or her meal should not be a surprise to you. In fact, you should expect this.
Those that feed their dogs early during the weekdays would find that their dogs are up early too during the weekend and expect to be fed at the same time. You can deal with this challenge by slowly changing your dog’s feeding schedule but that too is very dependent on your own schedule and resources.
Your Dog Sleeps throughout the day.
Dogs that are not engaged meaningfully during the daytime are more likely to spend their time lazing around and sleeping a lot. These dogs are dogs who because of their owner’s daily schedule do not get to spend quality time with them, worse still, we have dogs that the owners are plain ignorant about basic dog needs and there are the ones that don’t just care about their dogs.
Anyway, dogs in this situation will find themselves sleeping throughout the day and being active at night. Remember that a dog’s natural tendency is towards getting attention to itself so anything that will make him or her the center of attraction is good for them and this includes waking up at 5 am and letting everyone around know they are awake.
Your Dog needs to Potty.
Your dog may have an urgent need to pee or do otherwise. This challenge is more common for dogs who sleep indoors with their pet parents and are being potty trained. In situations like this, the logical thing to do is to oblige your dog and take him or her outside to potty.
You can also manage this challenge by scheduling potty periods such that your pooch won’t need to potty at 5 am early in the morning. We will discuss this in detail when we start talking about things you can do to prevent your dog from waking up so early.
Download our Potty training guide here to learn the proper way to start housebreaking your dog here – HOUSEBREAKING YOUR PUPPY
Sudden change in your daily routine.
Have you moved to a new home? Do you have a new baby in your family? Have you gotten that promotion that means more money and also more time at the office? Do you have your cousins over at your place for the holidays? Simple things like this mean your normal everyday routine changes suddenly.
Since your daily routine affects how you relate or interact with your dog, changes to their regular schedule may occur. This includes their feeding time, potty time, playing time, bonding time and basically trying to figure out what all these new changes mean for them and how they can fit in.
These simple changes can affect their sleep patterns and make them start waking up early in the morning. Putting in a little effort to understand your dog will prove worthwhile not just for their physical health but also for their emotional health.
Your Dog’s age
Puppies and Young dogs are very energetic naturally, if they are not well engaged in the day, they will carry that ball of energy to their bedtime and would not sleep well. Proper dissipation of their excess energy is important if they are expected to have a good night’s sleep.
On the flip side, older dogs are prone to joint problems, this in itself makes sleeping a problem as the need to stretch out every now and then to get some relief.
Your dog might be waking up early in the morning due to medical problems, illness, injury, an infection, digestive problems, etc. Health problems are notorious for keeping a dog up at night not to mention all the pain and discomfort your dog would feel without being able to truly express himself.
A visit to your vet doctor is highly recommended if you suspect your dog waking up at 5 am is due to health problems.
Now we have stated all the possible reasons why your dog wakes up at 5 am, the next question would be “what can I do to stop this behavior?” This question is even more important if this newfound habit is going to be disruptive to your own daily schedule. More so, trying to stop the habit by giving your dog more attention might even reinforce the habit, creating more problems instead of resolving the issue. So below are tips to train your dog to wake up later.
HOW TO GET YOUR DOG TO SLEEP LATER IN THE MORNING.
Make their sleeping place comfortable.
This should be a no-brainer. The more comfortable your dog’s sleeping place is, the more likely your dog would relax in such a place and wouldn’t want to disturb all of us at 5 am in the morning. If your dog sleeps outside the house, try encouraging them to sleep in a spot that is dark and void of anything entertaining. The place should be a spot away from noises, if you have anything in the house that can contribute to noise in that area, reduce it. Also, make sure that there is nothing to capture his attention in that area, this includes toys, bones, sticks, etc. Having a blanket with your scent in that spot will also help him or her to relax and sleep more in this place.
The same conditions apply if your dog is going to sleep indoors. Depending on the room, you may consider installing room darkening shades, but more importantly, invest in a dog bed that is very suited for the type of dog you have. A comfortable dog bed goes a very long way in helping your dog to relax and sleep well in their sleeping places.
Get a dog crate.
You can take the first option above a step further by investing in a dog crate specially suited for your dog. A dog crate apart from making your dog feel secured and safe at night will also, when well trained to use it, see the crate as his or her own personal space. You can consider covering the top of the crate with a blanket or sheet. If the blanket or sheet has your scent on it, it goes a long way to help your dog feel comfortable in it. This is of course assuming that you are making a good effort to build a bond with your dog and he or she doesn’t dislike you.
Usually, dogs should not be left in their crates for an extended period of time. We advise a maximum of 4 hours. Moreso, crates should not be used as a form of punishment for your dog. Watch out for any sign of stress and take things slowly when crate training your dog. You can also put in some dog toys in the daytime and feed them around the crate area to make them connect the crate area with good things.
Basically, your dog is likely to be happier with you and more relaxed when the crate training is done well. You can compare it to your dog having his own room, or his own private space in the house.
Learn more about dog crates here – BEST CRATES FOR DOGS
Set a structured routine.
Having structure is important in a dog’s life, a dog that understands when it’s time to go for a walk when it’s time to eat when it’s time to play when it’s time to go to bed, etc. can easily be managed. Such a dog is usually free from anxiety because they know what to expect from you and when.
They fit into the household and the environment like a glove.
Even if you have people over or are expecting a new member to the family, teaching your dog what to expect from these people would also help them more relaxed around the people, you will be surprised when you see them actually being useful to the household in these instances. Note that people also need to be trained on how to behave around dogs to get the best out of the situation.
Back to the point, having a structured routine will help your dog sleep better at night and not become a nuisance even if they wake up early. This is because they already know what to expect from the day and are ok with it.
Housebreak your dog according to his system.
This is important especially if you have a dog that sleeps in the house. A dog that is properly housebroken will not only sleep well at night, but the dog also would not mess up your house. Having said that if your dog waking up at 5 am is linked to him or her wanting an urgent toilet break, then you need to consider the timing at which you allow them to toilet break and maybe shift them to the last minutes just before sleeping time.
If you do this, a naturally healthy dog should be able to hold its bladder long after the early morning and would not be in a hurry to do toilet breaks early in the morning.
Take your dog to a Vet Doctor
As we mentioned earlier, health problems can keep your dog awake at night and also wake them up early in the morning. Urinary tract infections, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, joint pains, dementia, etc. These are some of the health issues that can lead to this problem.
Taking your dog to your vet doctor for a general check-up would be a wise thing to do at this stage. Your vet doctor would probably ask you questions if you have noticed any changes in your dog. Weight loss, fever, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal issues, limping, behavioral changes, etc. All these in addition to waking up early in the morning can be a sign of medical issues that need to be treated.
Exercise your dog well.
This seems to be the case, especially for young dogs. They are usually full of energy and without a good exercise regime, they are likely going to end up being a nuisance around you and that includes waking up early and disturbing everyone.
The good news about exercising your dog is that even with a high-energy dog you don’t have to spend all day with them. An average dog needs only about twenty to thirty minutes of walking. Engaging them in an intense exercise regime just before bedtime is more than enough to tire them out for the day.
High energy dogs need a little more time (an hour or two daily) and you may need to involve more hands to achieve this target. That is if you don’t have that time to spend with them daily.
A good tip would be to incorporate these exercise sessions just before bedtime. This way, your dog gets to associate the period before bedtime with fun.
Make sure your dog gets proper nutrition.
No animal can function properly without proper nutrition, the same thing applies to our dogs. A hungry or malnourished dog is not one that will be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep or keep quiet about it. Discuss with your vet doctor or any professional on how to feed your dog. Should you do it once or twice daily. What kind of food should I give him or her. Does my dog require a special diet due to some allergy he or she might have to some food products?
Feeding your dog with the proper diet does not only give him or her a healthy body advantage, but it also helps in their psychological well-being.
Hi, I am Charles Nwankwo Editor-in-Chief, Mydoggything.com. Gleaning from Professional Dog Trainers, behaviorist, Registered Veterinarians, and Breeders. We are passionate about making dog care easy for you. My job is to make sure that you get the best-updated dog care information to understand and take care of your dog or dogs.