Your dog has this habit of looking at you while you’re falling asleep.
Though it’s a little weird.
Do you think there’s a reason why they check on you?
Read on to discover:
- Signs of separation anxiety in dogs.
- 13 cute reasons your dog checks on you while sleeping.
- Whether checking on you while sleeping is a cause for worry.
- And much much more…
Why does my dog check on me when I’m sleeping?
Your dog checks on you when you’re sleeping means they love you and want company. Other reasons are they’re ensuring your safety, restless, bored, loyal, or they want to eat, hear something, have separation anxiety, don’t feel at ease, have a ‘call of nature’, wish to play, or it’s not bedtime yet.
13 reasons why your dog checks on you when you’re sleeping
#1: They’re doing security checks
“Hey hoooman, are you sleeping? Alright, you can rest. I got you covered.”
Your dogs become more alert to the surroundings as you sleep. They make sure that during your bedtime, there are no ‘unwanted visitors’.
Long before domestication, wild dogs used to live in packs. Each dog had a role to play. But they all have to guard and protect one another from danger.
So don’t be surprised if you see them awake in the middle of the night. They’re just making sure nothing bad happens as you sleep.
#2: They love you
“Mom, you know I only have eyes for you, ayt?”
It doesn’t matter if you’re awake or sleeping. Or whether you haven’t taken a bath for the day or even if you don’t look presentable.
Your dog doesn’t totally mind that. What they pay attention to is you.
They don’t like to be separated from you. So even while asleep, they don’t let their guard down as you might suddenly leave.
A humorist writer, more popularly known as Josh Billings, once described that “a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.”
The special bond of dogs to humans and vice versa is incomparable with other pets.
This was seen in a case involving a child who overcame communication problems and had benefited from the company given by dogs.
The same study analyzed the effect of a dog’s gaze on humans through oxytocin levels, a chemical produced in the brain during bonding.
Also known as the ‘love hormone’ it also helps in adapting to stressful situations.
Research revealed that a longer gaze from dogs resulted in increased urinary oxytocin levels in humans.
This suggests how a dog’s gaze serves as a cue for social contact and the reason for dog-human attachment.
You might also like: Why is my dog so affectionate in the morning?
#3: You’re their family
“Daddy, can you not come near me? I don’t want you to catch my cold.”
From the moment they were born or brought home, your dog understands how much you care for them.
They have long-term memories of the humans that have a good impact on them. A one-time good gesture can activate their instincts that you’re a wonderful person.
By feeding, grooming, playing, and taking care of them when they’re sick makes you their family.
They watch over you making sure that you’re okay and not threatened while you sleep.
#4: They have separation anxiety
Oh, how they just love to be near you!
The thought of not seeing you makes them anxious and gives them a headache.
So if you decided to skip work due to those puppy eyes, you’ve been tricked!
They may probably think, “Geezzz. Who would’ve thought I’ll win again?!”
Separation anxiety is one of the most dreaded disorders of fur parents. It happens when dogs become super attached to them.
But why are they like this? You wonder.
Is it common for your dog to show this behavior?
Here are the causes of your dog’s separation anxiety:
- When they’ve lost a family member (can be their owner or other dogs).
- When your dog had a change in environment (ex. from shelter to a home).
- When your dog has been newly adopted or there was a change of ownership.
- Your dog has been left alone for the first time or they’re used to being around people.
- When there’s a change in family routine or schedule (ex. suddenly there are visitors at home and they’re left outside).
But, how are you so sure it’s separation anxiety?
Typical signs of separation anxiety in dogs
Moving in circular patterns or walking back and forth after being left alone.
Urinating and Defecating
Dogs may urinate and defecate after they’ve been left at home.
Some dogs eat their poop if they are left alone as a way to cope with their separation anxiety.
Barking and howling
A dog who has been left by their owner might bark or howl to cope with stress.
An attempt to get out of a confined space. The dog resorts to chewing or digging which may inflict self-injury.
Chewing or Digging
Dogs who chew on window sills or door frames, or dig at doors to escape.
They destroy any object they can place their teeth into. Like escaping, it can injure your dog if the habit is not corrected or treated.
Let’s say, your dog has separation anxiety. Don’t be too worried. Check this out first:
How do you treat separation anxiety in dogs?
Step 1: Talk to your vet for a general health assessment of your pooch
Step 2: If your doggo has mild separation anxiety
- Don’t fuss over leaving and coming home and make it low-key.
- Check with your vet if you can give them calming supplements.
- Let your pooch hold your recently worn clothes for them to smell.
- Offer them treats before you leave and take them back once you arrive.
Step 3: If your doggo has moderate to severe separation anxiety
- Offer them treats. If these are ignored, practice making them slowly adapt to the thought of you leaving.
- Confuse them with your routine; be unpredictable with your actions (Ex. when you get your car keys and they negatively react, sit and watch tv instead).
- If you see them getting calm, disappear shortly. Then reappear in a few seconds (repeat this by increasing the time you’re not around).
- Once they’ve been used to your absence, extend the time you spend outside but continue to monitor their reaction.
Please watch this video if you want to learn more about separation anxiety in dogs:
#5: They’re uncomfortable
“Mom/Dad, are you kidding me? Don’t tell me this is where I should sleep?!”
Your dog checking on you while you sleep is because they’re restless and are uncomfortable with their bed.
Either it’s too hot – they don’t want any blanket, or too cold – that their bed lacks a cushion to keep them warm.
Sometimes, if it’s too noisy outside, they can’t get a good sleep as well.
Either way, you can make their environment more pleasant and comfortable to sleep in.
#6: They’re so bored
Night time is not your dog’s thing.
Since they sleep mostly during the day and they don’t rest as much at night. That’s why they’re lacking stimulation.
During this time, the lights are out and almost everyone’s in bed.
They have no activity, no one to play with. Nothing left to do.
They’ve figured a good way to spend their time is by looking after you.
Check out also: Top 10 Reasons Why Dogs Grab Your Arm + 5 Tips To Stop It
#7: They’re stressed
You have gone to sleep.
Then you heard your pooch walking back and forth. Now they approach and stare at you (as if wanting to wake you) in the middle of the night.
Has this happened to you? You must’ve felt confused (and sleepy) that you couldn’t process why your dog does this.
This behavior is also known as pacing. It happens to dogs that can’t settle down or sleep due to stress, so they end up being restless.
It doesn’t cause an alarm if it happens rarely or for short periods. But it pays to check on your pooch on why they display such behavior.
Older dogs may show signs of pacing due to dementia.
Note: If you see this being done by your senior pooch, consult your vet for possible treatments.
#8: Their tummy wants food
(Stomach growling) *Wishful thinking*
“Mom, I think you’re forgetting something… Uhhmmm…
We haven’t eaten our midnight snack yet.”
If your dog intently looks at you without blinking their eyes, it’s possible that they’re hungry or thirsty.
Think again. It’s past midnight and… Oh! Since you went to bed earlier tonight, you didn’t have that late-night snack that you always share with your pooch.
Now you get it. That’s why it’s not so good to form that kind of habit with your dog.
#9: Their body clock is not the same as yours
Your bedtime is not the same as your pooch.
This is quite common on pups or newly-adopted dogs.
Puppies sleep for 18-20 hours a day. This helps them to regain their lost energy during play. It also aids in their body’s growth – like their brain, immune system, and muscles.
Note: You can form a habit with your pup by setting their daily schedule.
Below are some tips to encourage your baby pooch to sleep at night.
- Create a bedtime routine.
- Be prepared for the puppy alarm.
- Make their sleeping quarters inviting.
- Keep their area clean, dim, and quiet.
- Let them get over urinating and pooping first.
- Though bothersome, don’t give in to the alarming sound from your pup.
#10: They’re showing loyalty
Well, need I say more? Maybe you have witnessed this yourself.
Or you go out for a few minutes but when you come back they’re jumping with joy.
Also, when they sense someone or something as a threat, they run to you to protect you.
These are only simple dog gestures but it shows their love and loyalty to you as their fur parent.
They too have multitasking abilities – they can be your best friend, playmate, protector, caregiver, etc.
So if you see them checking on you while you sleep, don’t be surprised. It’s like them saying, “Yes, Ma’am, is there anything you need?”
#11: They heard something
Whether it’s your neighbor’s visitors or an angry cat, they just can’t let you deal with it alone.
After all, what are guard dogs for?
If your pooch began to check on you after hearing a noise. They must’ve smelled danger and they wanted to make sure you’re safe and okay.
Fun fact: Research reveals that dogs’ hearing ability is much better than humans. Since dogs can hear the sound of mice and even insects.
Humans can pick up sound up to 20,000 Hz frequency, mice can hear up to 40,000 Hz, and dogs can catch a noise up to 60,000 Hz.
#12: They have to respond to the ‘call of nature’
Though dogs have developed their body clock for eating, sleeping, playing, and relieving themselves, at times, they can’t help it.
No matter what time it is, you have to respond to that call of nature. Or else something really bad might happen.
They must’ve eaten something that upset their stomach. Or they feel that urge to pee.
You know how it feels.
So when they stare at you in the middle of the night while you sleep, check why they are restless.
Escort them outside if you don’t want to be bothered by the mess in the morning.
#13: They long for a company
Your dog may have been used to people that’s why they become lonely when it’s bedtime.
All their human friends are resting, that’s why they’re a bit lonely.
But it’s good you’re here. They still got company.
BONUS: They wish to play
At bedtime, does your dog walk to you? Then rub their nose in your face while you sleep?
They’re checking on you because they want to know if you’re still up for play. You’ve been barely at home the past few days and they wish to catch up by playing.