Has this ever happened to you?
It’s 3 AM and you’re still in dreamland.
You’re warm and cozy in your bed.
But your dog is crying their head off.
You try to wave it off and go back to sleep.
But it just. Doesn’t. Stop.
Is this something to worry about?
Keep on reading to discover:
- Why you should give toys to crying dogs.
- The method for teaching your dog to wait.
- 9 reasons why your dog cries in the morning.
- 5 tips to stop your dog from crying in the morning.
- And many more…
Why does my dog cry in the morning?
Your dog cries in the morning because they want to poop or pee. Or they do it because they want to go outside for their walk, eat breakfast, or get your attention. It can also mean they’re experiencing pain or have disorientation due to age-related conditions.
9 reasons why your dog cries in the morning
#1: Your dog wants to do their “business” outside
The first thing my dog wants to do in the morning is poop and pee.
Your pooch has been such a good dog, holding it in all night.
Maybe you’re taking a little bit too long to let them out.
They want “outside” to happen right now.
And that’s the reason they’re crying like banshees.
On the other hand, excessive crying in the morning might mean your dog has diarrhea.
And wants to poop because they can’t hold it in any longer.
How long can a dog hold it in?
A general estimate is 4 to 8 hours but this depends on their:
- Activity rate.
A small dog or a senior dog will have to go potty more often.
Imagine drinking 1 liter of water. Soon you’ll want to pee.
But you can’t. Your door doesn’t open until later.
You keep waiting and waiting.
How would you feel?
What if it happens every day?
Imagine how it feels.
Warning: Long periods of holding it in can result in serious health issues for your dog. Keep a regular schedule when letting your dog out to pee and poop.
What happens if dogs hold it in for too long?
Your dog has to poop and pee to release toxins and eliminate waste from their body.
If they can’t do that the waste stays inside their bladder and intestines.
These organs become a breeding ground for bacteria.
And it could lead to:
- Urinary stones.
- Kidney infections.
- Chronic constipation.
- Urinary tract infections.
Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs happen when bacteria gets inside the urethra and causes an infection.
About 14% of dogs will experience UTIs. It can happen in 2 ways.
Dogs can have simple uncomplicated UTIs.
This means the infection happens a few times in a healthy dog.
Or they will have complicated UTIs.
These happen because your dog has an abnormality in their body or system. And it makes your dog prone to infections.
UTIs can cause urinary stones to form. It also affects the kidneys causing infections in the organ.
Constipation happens when your dog can’t do a No. 2, because their stool is too hard.
A severe form of the condition is called obstipation.
The colon absorbs water from the poop so it becomes even harder.
Some dogs even become dehydrated.
The poop is so hard that dogs put in more effort. And the straining causes blood to come out.
You might also want to check out: 14 reasons why your dog licks you in the morning (when you wake up)
#2: Your dog isn’t tired enough
Your dog might need more exercise.
A whining dog in the morning is a signal of excess energy.
Your dog’s telling you,
“I’m up guys! Why aren’t you?”
Take a look at your dog’s exercise routine.
Does it include a long, stimulating walk?
Is your dog doing mental activities?
Like learning tricks or solving puzzle toys.
If not, there’s a need to upgrade their exercises.
Then you’ll have a tired and happy pooch. They’ll be more than happy to sleep until you wake them up.
But you know what’s even better?
Exercising your dog has great benefits for you, too.
According to veterinarian Dr. Nelson, exercising together will:
- Promote human-animal bond.
- Help keep weights at optimal level.
- Improve your health and your dog’s health.
Note: Consider your dog’s breed, size, health, and disposition when choosing an exercise activity to do with them.
For example, large and medium breeds are able to keep up when you do running activities.
While smaller breeds are more suited to short walks or jogs.
Avoid high-impact activities if your dog is prone to joint injury.
Bear in mind that swimming is the best sport to do when your dog has bone problems such as hip dysplasia or arthritis.
Further reading: Why is my dog hyper in the morning?
#3: They’re excited to see you
Your doggo’s happy to see you because you’re the giver of happy mornings.
“I love mornings. My hooman takes me on walks. I get to smell lotsa stuff!”
Your dog sees mornings as positive experiences.
They get to do exciting things. And your pooch can’t wait to get on with these.
Here are some signs that your dog’s excited:
- Playful growls.
- Tippy-tappy paws.
- Jumping up and down.
- A wagging tail and body.
- Doing the zoomies back and forth.
#4: Something’s painful
Crying or whining is an indication of pain.
But some breeds have high pain tolerance.
A survey on dog pain sensitivity asked vets and the public to answer which breeds were most sensitive to pain.
The results revealed that veterinarians think these breeds have high pain tolerance:
- Pit Bulls.
The vets based their answers on:
- Breed temperament.
- Behavioral reactivity in a health care setting.
My friend’s dog, Hela, runs right into doors.
And when she wags her tail, it slaps against surfaces so hard.
It’s a miracle she hasn’t fractured it.
In fact, she just continues on her merry way.
In instances such as this, it’s difficult to tell when dogs are in pain.
Because dogs hide their pain as a defense mechanism.
This prevents them from looking vulnerable. It’s an inherited behavior from their wild ancestors.
So if your dog is crying then it means something is really hurting them.
“What are the other signs if my dog is in pain?”
According to VCA, dogs display altered behaviors like:
- Refusing to eat.
- Showing aggression.
- Licking a certain area.
- Refusing to do stuff (climbing, jumping, etc.).
Look out for these signs in your pooch if they keep crying in the morning.
You might also be interested in: Why Is My Dog Avoiding Me All Of A Sudden? 11 Real Reasons
#5: You have a frustrated pooch
Dogs can’t speak. So they try to communicate using their bodies.
Puppies cry for their mother when they’re hungry. Then momma dog lets them drink milk.
Your adult doggo keeps this behavior.
They believe that crying can get them what they want.
But it’s all Greek to us.
We don’t always know what their cries mean.
As a result, dogs get frustrated because the message can’t get across.
And all they can do is cry some more.
What else causes frustration?
This study states that dogs get frustrated when there’s:
- No access to safe places.
- Reduced or delayed reward.
- No control over the environment.
- Competition for a limited resource.
- Something preventing them from getting a reward.
#6: A crying dog’s a hungry dog
What are mornings for? That’s right.
Does your dog love to eat?
Does your dog sit up at the sound of opening dog biscuits?
Your dog looks forward to meals so much.
They can’t wait to dig into their food bowls.
“Should I feed my dog more if they’re hungry?”
As a responsible dog owner, you should have a set schedule to feed your dog.
Only feed your dog during the set times.
Most adult dogs have to eat 2 times a day.
Younger pups are still developing, so 3 to 4 meals a day will help their growth.
Warning: Free-feeding your dog can result in obesity. This is a method where owners will just leave food out for their dog. As a result, canines will just eat when they want. Aside from obesity, you also invite other animals and insects to eat from your dog’s bowl
“How do I know how much food to give my dog?”
PetMD advises fur parents to consider these factors:
- Type of food.
- Body weight.
- Activity level.
- Metabolic rate.
- Number of meals.
These factors will help you decide how much food to give your dog.
VCA tells us that the general formula for average dogs is:
30 x weight in pound divided by 2.2 (or kg) + 70
The answer is the daily calorie amount that your dog needs.
Dog food bag labels will contain how many calories are in a serving.
And you can use the formula as the basis for how much food to give.
The AAFCO determines the nutritional standard that dog food companies have to follow.
This organization states that dogs need the following for a balanced diet:
Note: Even if dog foods follow these guidelines, your dog may need more or less depending on their health.
The best way to give your dog a balanced diet is a vet consultation.
Your vet will be able to assess your dog’s health and prescribe a diet that’s right for your pooch.
#7: Your dog wants your attention
“Hooman still sleeping?”
“Lemme wake them up!”
If your dog’s the Energizer Bunny type, then this might be something that happens everyday.
You wake up to your dog whining and pawing at you.
Why does this happen?
Dogs are sociable animals and they need to interact with their humans.
But there are times when their need for attention is too much.
“How do I know if my dog wants attention?”
According to the SFSPCA, dogs will do these behaviors:
- Barking at you.
- Jumping on you.
- Bringing things to you.
- Stealing things to invite chasing.
- Pulling or nipping at your clothes.
- Repeated nudging, whining, pawing.
These actions can become dangerous if your dog does it around visitors or kids.
“Why does my dog do this?”
There are 2 reasons that lead dogs to do these behaviors.
First, we react by pushing them away or ignoring them. Your dogs will respond by working more for attention.
Or if they understand that you won’t give them attention, they’ll start looking for other ways to gain it.
Second, the response of most dog parents is to give them pets and cuddles. This also reinforces the attention-seeking behavior. So your dog will think that what they’re doing is okay.
The question is,
“How will I prevent this behavior from getting worse?”
Read till the end to find out.
#8: Mornings = hoomans leaving
Your dog is anxious because mornings mean you’re going to leave.
The morning is the beginning of a long day. The humans in your dog’s life are preparing to leave.
Fido knows what will happen next.
Your dog gets lonely and bored.
It’s easy for dogs to get lonely during the day when you’re not there.
The pandemic had us staying at home. And our dogs got used to that.
Now that things are less strict, some of us have to go back to the office everyday.
But your dog doesn’t know that. They only know that you’re not spending time with them anymore.
And let me tell you this…
Your dog gets anxious and frustrated when their routine changes.
#9: It’s age-related
This is something that happens to senior dogs.
Much like older humans, they become disoriented and anxious.
Your dog’s brain is not as fast as it used to be. And it’s scary for them.
They don’t know what’s happening.
And they’re looking for reassurance.
It’s a normal part of growing old for your doggo.
But they can also develop Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or CCD.
It’s otherwise known as Dog dementia and it happens to 15% of doggos.
“How do I know my dog has dementia?”
Veterinarians diagnose dementia using the DISHAA acronym.
D – disorientation
Getting around gets difficult for your doggo.
They can be confused with how to get to other locations. Or not recognize their humans.
Another manifestation is staring at walls or spacing out.
I – interaction changes
CDS will change interactions between you and your doggo. Some dogs get clingy and some withdraw from socializing.
S – sleep or wake cycles are altered
Your dog can get confused about time. They wake up in the middle of the night, pacing and whining. Or your dog will have trouble sleeping.
H – house soiling
Your normally house-trained doggo will start to regress. They’ll poop or pee inside the house. It will be difficult for them to do the tricks they learned.
A – activity altered
There will be less or no interest in walks. No doggos to jump at the chance to get the leash.
Even their favorite toy or dog best friend will hold no interest for them.
A – anxiety
Your normally calm dog will display anxiety and fear. It can be to other people or new places.
And their fear can increase when you leave them alone.
It’s a sad thing when this happens to your dog.
It’s frustrating when your best friend of many years isn’t the same anymore.
Take for example…
Doggy dementia is a fast-acting disease.
The severity of the symptoms can intensify in a matter of months.
It happened to Murphy, a rescue dog.
His owner, Ella, could not believe how fast he deteriorated.
She said, “It was like he was still okay, but it’s really not okay.”
Murphy was still excited to eat but he got anxious and confused.
Ella and her boyfriend would stay awake all night trying to calm him down.
But soon, he started falling over all the time. Walking was difficult but he kept pacing.
In the end, Murphy’s parents decided to put him down.
But he didn’t leave without giving his dad one last boop on the nose.
Should I let my dog cry in the morning?
You shouldn’t let your dog cry in the morning. If your dog always does it, try to observe your dog and figure out the reason why.
Dogs normally cry in the morning to go potty. Letting them out as soon as you can is the first thing to do.
Look out for these signs that your dog wants to go potty:
- Pacing back and forth.
- Scratching at the door.
- Sniffing around the room.
Another reason why they cry or whine is because they want to spend time with their hooman.
Your dog knows the routine. Mornings mean they go on walkies. Or they get to play with you.
Here are things your dog will do if they want some playtime:
- Play bows.
- Wiggly body.
- Helicopter tail.
- Playful growls.
- Jumping around.
How do I stop my dog from crying early in the morning? 7 tips
#1: Observe your dog for pain
Crying or whining can be caused by pain.
If your dog keeps waking you up in the morning, try to observe them.
Is your dog limping or standing on one leg?
Does your dog keep licking or biting one area in their body?
If your answer to all of these is yes, take your dog to the vet for an examination.
Warning: Most dogs can get reactive when in pain. Get help from your vet before trying to treat your dog by yourself. Otherwise, you may risk getting bitten.
#2: Give your dog enrichment toys
Giving crying dogs even more toys might seem counterintuitive.
But these aren’t your basic ball and squeaker.
These are specialized toys that will help with your dog’s crying.
They tickle your dog’s brain and challenge them to use it.
As most enrichment toys involve problem-solving.
In most cases, your dog has to get a treat out of the toy.
The RSPCA says that it helps your doggo learn how to be by himself for long periods.
It also gives your dog time to work through their stress and prevent problem behaviors.
So, no more crying in the mornings!
The following enrichment toys are used by trainers and behaviorists all over the world:
Remember that dogs will find entertainment if they have nothing to do.
#3: Take your doggo on longer walks
Exercise – it’s important for humans and our doggos.
It can be hard to get out of your nice warm bed in the mornings.
But think about it this way:
You get a happy dog and get fit, too!
Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend, they also make great exercise partners.
So take that longer route during your walks. Bring a toy or two and run around with your pooch.
Have more fun with your dog by incorporating workout routines in your walk.
Watch this video for fun ideas:
#4: Crate train your dog
Crate training gives your dog a space where they feel safe.
If it’s done right, your dog’s crate can relieve anxiety.
The AKC gives us 9 steps to a crate-trained pooch:
- Buy a comfortable crate.
- Introduce your dog to it.
- Use dog beds or pads to make it cozy.
- Don’t keep your dog inside too long.
- Play games in and out the crate.
- Remove collars or tags.
- Gradually leave your dog for longer periods of time.
- Be patient with your dog.
There will be times when you want to give up.
But keep your cool and continue training.
#5: Take your dog outside first thing
Don’t risk your dog’s health by letting them hold it in for too long. By now you’re aware of the risks. So take your pooch out to go potty.
If you have a lawn, let your dog outside first.
And after they’re ready, go on a nice walk with them.
“Why should I do this?”
It helps your dog burn off excess energy before your walk.
They’ll have calmed down a bit by going potty.
#6: Teach them the “Wait” command
This command is very useful for teaching your dog impulse control.
It’s also a way of teaching good manners.
The point of teaching the command is to help your dog understand that being calm gives them greater reward.
You can apply this command in many situations, but start small first.
Do it with your dog’s treats or toys. This method involves a clicker.
- Put your dog in a “Sit” position.
- Place a toy or treat in front of them.
- If your dog moves toward the reward, say “Uh-uh” and take it away.
- Let your dog sit again.
- Do 1-4 a few times until your dog doesn’t go for the reward.
- Mark the behavior with a click and say “Wait”.
- Do this a few more times.
- Go back and do 1-2 and say the command.
- If your dog waits, mark the behavior with a click and say your release phrase like “Good dog” or “Okay”.
- Gradually increase the time between the command and the release phrase.
You can use this when you’re going out the door and your dog is jumping around. Or when your dog gets vocal when you’re preparing their food.
Note: This command has shorter wait times than “Stay”. It’s meant to calm down your dog when they get too excited. If you do it too long, they may lose interest in the reward.
#7: Keep an eye out for dementia signs (for senior dogs)
Dementia is a heartbreaking diagnosis to receive.
But you can have early treatment for your dog to help them before the symptoms get worse.
Watch out for the DISHAA acronym:
- Interaction changes.
- Sleep or wake cycles altered.
- House soiling.
- Activity altered.
If you notice these changes in your senior dog, have them examined by your vet.
There is no guaranteed cure for doggy dementia.
But your vet can help you with treatments and medication that will lessen the effects of the symptoms.
They may prescribe:
- Daily exercise and play.
- A diet rich in antioxidants.
- Brain boosting medications.
- Behavioral enrichment training.
According to the AKC, an antioxidant-rich diet with behavioral enrichment training produces the most positive outcome for your dog.
In the meantime, if your pooch is still active and young, don’t stop training.
And start adding antioxidants to your dog’s food. According to PetMD, they will prevent damage to your dog’s body cells and keep their immune system healthy.
Here is a list of antioxidant-rich foods for your dog: