If you have recently gotten a new puppy, you might have noticed that they are waking up particularly early. Is this normal? Is there anything that you can do to prevent it so that you can sleep for a bit longer? Well, here is everything you’ll need to know.
So, why does my puppy wake up so early? One common reason puppies wake up early is because of discomfort: being too cold or too hot. Often it’s simply because they need the toilet, and their bladder control hasn’t fully developed yet. Sometimes they wake early because they have painful medical health conditions. Other times, they’re suffering from separation anxiety.
As you can see, there are actually a few different potential reasons going on here.
Sometimes, it could even be a combination of factors!
Nevertheless, let us delve deeper into those reasons and explore exactly how you can and should respond in each context.
Why Is My Puppy Waking Up So Early?
Puppies wake up early for both physical and psychological reasons. It ultimately depends on their age, breed, and the specific context.
Your Puppy Has Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a common cause of puppies waking up early: it stems from your puppy not wanting to be left alone. Puppies miss their siblings and mother when they go to a new home.
Separation anxiety is a fairly common condition in puppies: some vets believe it affects between 20 to 40 percent of dogs.
Your Puppy is Stressed Or Depressed
Stress or depression can disturb your puppy’s sleep and be responsible for him waking up early.
Your Puppy Has A Medical Condition
It could be that your puppy has an undiagnosed medical problem or condition that’s disturbing his sleep or causing him to wake up early.
Some common problems that affect your puppy’s sleep are:
- A urinary tract infection
- A digestive problem
- Pain from an injury
If you notice your puppy showing signs of discomfort when he wakes up, contact your vet for advice so that you can rule out any medical ailments or problems.
Signs to look out for include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Incontinence (having accidents)
- Gastrointestinal upsets
- Behavioral changes
Just consider that medical conditions can result in it going the other way too, and a puppy that sleeps much more than it typically should.
Your Puppy Is Distracted Or Uncomfortable
If there’s something in the environment that is distracting your puppy, he’ll find it difficult to sleep. Or he’ll want to get up and investigate.
Noise, lights, or even an uncomfortable bed can mean your puppy finding it difficult to settle. It might be that your puppy is too cold or too hot.
Sometimes puppies wake up early simply because they’re hungry. They need lots of food while they’re growing!
What Time Does A Puppy Usually Wake Up?
Puppies will typically wake up early in the morning. This could be anywhere from 3 a.m. onward, although 5:30 a.m. seems to be a common and typical time witnessed and observed by owners.
The Most Common Wake-Up Time for Puppies
The most common time for puppies to wake up is around 5:30 in the morning. This includes the times your puppy has woken in the night needing the toilet.
Puppies can usually hold their urine for the same number of hours as their age in months, plus one.
So your four-month-old puppy should be able to hold his urine for five hours at a time.
For very young puppies, they’ll not only wake up around 5:30 am but also several times in the night.
If you need to get 8 hours of sleep, you’ll want to take those nighttime wakings into consideration.
The natural tendency for puppies and older dogs is to go to sleep at night when it’s dark and then wake up with the first rays of light.
The time they wake up will depend on the time you’ve put them to bed and whether they’ve had a good amount of exercise before going to sleep.
Sometimes They Want Your Attention Early
Sometimes puppies wake up earlier than usual because they want your attention. Puppies are very good at watching you and picking up on your signals!
There’s a simple way to tell if your puppy is waking you for attention or if it’s for other reasons.
Watch him to see if he goes after anything other than going straight out to the toilet, such as:
If your puppy is waking you for attention, turn your back on him (or pretend to) and ignore him for a bit. Make sure he doesn’t really need the toilet, though!
What Age Do Puppies Stop Waking Up So Early?
Puppies will stop waking up so early once they are older and have better bladder control, providing they are in good health and in a comfortable environment.
Most puppies will sleep through the night by the time they’re at least 5 or 6 months old. At this stage, puppies should be able to sleep for up to 9 or 10 hours at night.
You can help your puppy sleep a bit later by establishing a set bedtime routine, for example:
- Feed him at 8:30 pm
- Give him some exercise (ideally both mental and physical) and make sure he goes to the toilet
- Put him to bed (or in his puppy crate) at 10 pm and ignore him for the night (unless he is highly distressed or there’s a problem).
How Do I Stop My Puppy Waking Up Early?
Once you know the cause of your puppy waking up early, you will be able to devise a plan to help him sleep for a bit longer.
If The Cause Is Separation Anxiety
If you think separation anxiety is the problem, you will want to contact your vet to assess your puppy’s overall health.
Some severe cases of separation anxiety require medication while you work on ways to help your puppy cope with your absence.
Here are a few practical things that you can do at home:
- Desensitizing your puppy to your ‘leaving cues’. Pick up your coat and keys at different times of day without leaving the house so that your puppy stops associating these things with your departure.
- Ignoring your puppy when you come back. It might seem counter-intuitive and frustrating, but fussing over your puppy when you come home only reinforces his belief that happy times begin once you’re back.
- Leaving your puppy with toys or treats that are high-value. Keep your puppy occupied by offering him a favorite treat or toy, such as a treat-filled Kong ball, when you leave. Your puppy will then be distracted and have something to keep his mind off you being gone.
- Making sure your puppy gets enough exercise. Try to give your puppy plenty of exercise before you leave. The more worn-out he is, the better he’ll rest and the calmer he’ll be while you’re away.
If The Cause Is Medical
Of course, if your puppy is waking up for medical reasons, the answer is simple: consult your vet for the best treatment.
Speak to your vet about your puppy’s sleep schedule, too, as well as his daily routine.
Your vet might have some additional suggestions to try, bearing in mind your puppy’s medical condition.
If The Cause Is Depression Or Anxiety
If the cause is depression or anxiety, there are several things you can (and should) do:
- Make sure you are giving your puppy adequate stimulation, both physical and mental. A worn-out puppy tends to be a happier puppy, especially if he’s prone to anxiety or depression.
- See your vet. Some symptoms of anxiety or depression can have physical causes that need medical attention urgently. In addition, your vet may need to prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication to help calm your puppy while you address these problems in additional ways at home.
- Ramp up your puppy’s social time. Dogs like to be around people and other animals, so consider taking your puppy to puppy classes, a park, or a doggie daycare for extra socializing.
- Shower your puppy with extra attention and love. You can go a long way towards lifting your puppy’s spirits with your patience and affection.
If The Cause Is The Environment
If the environment is what’s causing your puppy to wake up early, there are several practical things you can do to address this:
- Make the room as dark and unentertaining as you can by turning off the TV, removing stimulating toys, pulling the shades down, etc.
- If your puppy uses a crate, consider putting a blanket over the top. Make sure you have trained him first to be happy and comfortable in his crate.
- Check your puppy enjoys his bed. It might be worth investing in a more suitable bed for him.
Stick To A Routine To Help Your Puppy
Puppies are creatures of habit, so even if your older puppy usually wakes up quite early, you can instill a daily routine.
Once you know your puppy can hold his bladder through the night, aim to get up at the same time every day, regardless of when your puppy wakes up.
By making mornings predictable for your puppy, you are making it easier for him to stay relaxed, and he’ll be more likely to sleep for longer.
If you know your puppy doesn’t need the toilet, don’t give in to him whining, barking, or crying. Teach him the quiet command so that you can use it when necessary.
Make sure you have an evening routine, as well. Your puppy will settle down more easily (and more likely stay in bed for longer) when he knows what to expect.
If your puppy is waking up early, then there will be a reason for it.
And while it is entirely normal and commonly observed by owners, this does not always mean that it can and should be ignored.
It’s worth investigating.
Besides, you need to ensure that your puppy is happy and healthy – and that their sleeping arrangements are sufficient.
Thankfully, regardless of the underlying cause, there are some things you can do to help comfort your pup and prevent them from waking so early.
And you may even find that in time, with a few more months at home under their belt, this tendency ceases all on its own accord.
Have other questions about your puppy’s sleep? Well, my following guides may be of help:
- Why Does My Puppy Breathe So Fast While Sleeping?
- Why Does My Puppy Have Loose Stools At Night?
- Should Puppies Sleep In The Dark?
- Can Puppies Sleep Outside?
- How Long To Keep Puppy In Playpen
- How Long To Let Puppy Cry In Crate
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.