Are you woken up early by your little canine alarm clock and struggling to stay awake during the day? I remember that feeling. You’ll be wondering how to get your dog to sleep later in the morning so you can enjoy a bit more shut-eye.
The good news is that it’s actually not as difficult as it seems to encourage your pups to have a lie-in. The trick is to identify why your dog is waking as this will determine what measures you need to take to help you and your dog rest more thoroughly, and more effectively.
Make sure your dog has a comfortable, warm place of his own to sleep. The first and most obvious thing you can do for your dog. They like their own secure ‘little nook’ or special place they feel cozy and secure. Check out our recommendations for a great dog bed.
2. Rule out medical problems
Some common canine medical problems don’t always show obvious symptoms that are easy to recognise. Instead, they disguise themselves, very subtly, such as early waking. One of the first things to check is whether your dog is waking because of an underlying medical condition.
Research indicates that urinary tract infections affect roughly 14% of the dog population, and this is a very common reason for dogs waking early in the morning. A urinary tract infection in dogs is very similar to the condition in humans, and it causes suprapubic pressure. This pressure around the pelvis presses on the bladder and makes your dog feel like he needs to urinate, even if he has an empty bladder. It can make your dog very uncomfortable and he may start waking early thinking he needs to urinate. If you’ve ever suffered from a urinary tract infection yourself, you’ll understand just how uncomfortable this is.
Fortunately, urinary tract infections in dogs are very easy to treat, although they may recur sporadically. For very severe cases, your vet may prescribe antibiotics. The conditions can usually be treated by increasing your dog’s water intake and giving natural treatments such as cranberry which encourages the kidneys to flush out toxins.
Rule out underlying medical conditions as the first step towards discovering why your dog wakes so early in the morning.
3. Increase exercise & daytime activity
Media source report that approximately 1 in 5 dog owners don’t exercise their dogs enough, which is resulting in a significant rise in canine obesity. Around the world, obesity levels in dogs are hovering between 20% and 40%. While this can have detrimental effects on your dog’s overall health and wellbeing, it can also be associated with another problem – your dog’s early waking.
If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, chances are he’s simply not tiring himself out enough to enable him to sleep much past dawn. Depending on the size and age of your dog, he most likely requires between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise each and every day to ensure he’s tired by the end of the day.
Dogs often take their cues from light levels and will begin to stir once the sun begins to rise. If you’re not tiring your dog out you can generally expect him to wake whenever it becomes light outside.
Sadly, many dog owners don’t realize that they’re not exercising their pups enough. If you’re wondering how to get your dog to sleep later in the morning, it’s worth thinking about your walking schedule and routine, and seeing if it needs tweeking.
4. Is your dog really awake?
If you tend to get up out of bed the first time your ‘canine alarm clock’ sounds, here’s something that may surprise you. Although he’s barking, your dog may not actually be awake. You may not have to wonder how to get your dog to sleep later in the morning, he might simply do it all by himself if he’s given the chance to do so.
Just like humans, dogs have sleep/wake cycles during the night, which means that they drift in and out of consciousness. They also go through many different stages of sleep within the sleep/wake cycle itself. Studies on canine sleep have discovered that the average dog spends roughly 12% of the night in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when he dreams. Around 23% of the night is spent in slow-wave sleep (also known as deep sleep), and 21% of the night is spent in a drowsy state of wakefulness. However, the majority of the night, roughly 44%, is spent in what’s known as ‘alert wakefulness’. This is when your dog is still within the sleep/wake cycle but is aware of what’s going on around him.
During alert wakefulness, some dogs may bark. This can be misinterpreted as being fully awake, especially if the timing coincides with the early morning. Barking doesn’t necessarily mean your dog is ready to get out of bed. It could just be a part of their sleep/wake cycle. Although it’s difficult to ignore a barking dog, try leaving him for just a few minutes and see if he shows signs of settling and going back to sleep. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to drift back off to sleep too!
The key to ‘how to get your dog to sleep later’
The reason for your dog waking will ultimately determine the methods and techniques you use when it comes to figuring out how to get your dog to sleep later in the morning, so identification really is key.