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My Dog Keeps Waking Up in the Middle of the Night: 5 Ways to Stop It

Hanh Duong

By Hanh Duong

dog waking up its sleeping owner

Dogs, like people, need sleep. However, there may be times when your pup wakes up in the middle of the night and then disturbs your sleep. Naturally, this is not great for you or your dog.

You might be asking why and what you can do if your dog continues waking up in the middle of the night. This article will talk about common reasons for their behavior as well as what you can do to stop it.

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The 5 Ways to Stop Your Dog from Waking Up in the Middle of the Night

1. Rule Out Potential Medical Conditions

Take your dog to the vet first whenever a new behavior occurs that seems abnormal. It may be a sign of a medical issue if they’re waking you up more frequently than usual. If a medical condition, such as nighttime dementia or a urinary tract infection, is the root of the undesirable habit, it’s best to treat them soon.

a smiling male vet with a basset hound in his clinic
Image Credit: sirtravelalot, Shutterstock

2. Change Your Dog’s Feeding Schedule

By altering your dog’s feeding schedule, you can also reduce the likelihood of them waking you up. Your dog may be rousing you from sleep because they are hungry or because they ate very late and are still energetic. Move dinner time forward by 1 or 2 hours if you believe your dog is waking up because they are hungry. Their belly will stay fuller for a longer period as a result.

Alternatively, move dinner up if you believe your dog is waking up because they are overly excited after eating.

3. Commands

Your dog may occasionally wake you up simply because they want to play or are bored. In this situation, you should give them a command of some kind to lie down and continue sleeping.

Here are some things to remember:
  • Use a trained phrase like “lay down.” Train this command during the day until your pooch understands it well.
  • Say the command you’ve chosen in a firm tone.
  • When commanded, you can point to the ground.

Using commands to train your dog could take several weeks. Keep trying; they will eventually pick it up.

woman scolding puppy
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

4. Consider Changing Where Your Dog Sleeps

Have you ever locked your pet out of your bedroom only to be startled awake by their barking, scratching, or whining? They might be experiencing separation anxiety, and a simple way might be to let them sleep in their own bed in your bedroom (or on the bed if you want them to be there).

If they are sleeping in your room and waking you up, consider having your dog sleep in a different room. When you put them in another room, you’ll be able to sleep peacefully and know that you won’t be disturbed. However, be sure to give them a cozy bed.

In addition, be aware that leaving them in another room could cause crying, barking, or an upset dog, especially if they are familiar with sleeping with people. It may take some time and training to get them accustomed to it.

5. Use a Crate at Night

Some dogs may have trouble falling asleep without disturbing their owner. It’s particularly true for energetic canines who can walk freely in the house. You can solve this issue by putting them in an appropriate crate. By confining them in there, you will prevent your dog from running around or disturbing you while you sleep at night while also sending the message to them that it is time to sleep.

In addition, your dog won’t jump up on you in the morning or lick you awake! Again, this will take time and patience, but your dog will eventually associate the crate with sleep and rest.

a miniature dachshund puppy sitting in a crate with the door open
Image By: Jaclyn Vernace, Shutterstock

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Possible Causes of Your Dog’s Nighttime Waking

  • Needing to go potty
  • Lack of mental stimulation
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Hunger or thirst
  • Separation anxiety
  • Discomfort due to a medical condition
  • Nightmares
  • Overstimulation before bed
  • Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in senior canines
  • Discomfort due to bedding
  • Loud or unfamiliar noises
  • Temperature is too cold or too hot
  • A change in routine

Why Does My Dog Wake Up When I Move?

Sleep progresses through four stages. Instead of going to sleep deeply throughout the first and second stages, it’s more of a light sleep. Dogs spend more time in these lighter stages of sleep than people, so they are more susceptible to being startled by small movements and noises. This may be a genetic trait from their wolf origins, as it is crucial to keep alert in the wild, even while sleeping.

Some pets are also keenly aware of the position of their owners. They’ll become attentive right away to see whether you’re leaving the room as soon as they hear you move around.

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Final Thoughts

Your dog waking up in the middle of the night might be frustrating. It may take some time to figure out what’s causing them to do that and find a solution, but you should never punish them for doing so.

Any behavior change should be checked by a professional. In the absence of illness, some of the most common reasons for waking up in the middle of the night are overstimulation, needing the toilet, hunger, or a lack of exercise.


Featured Image Credit: Albina Gavrilovic, Shutterstock

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