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9 Reasons Why Your Dog Checks On You When You’re Sleeping

Why Does My Dog Check On Me While I'm Sleeping

You’re tired and can’t wait to get that dose of sleeping that you so much need.

You get into bed, close your eyes, and just before you fall asleep… you sense your dog’s presence. Your dog stands very close and looks at you…

But why?

Read on to find out:

  • 9 common reasons why your dog checks on you while you’re sleeping.
  • How to stop your dog from checking on you while you’re sleeping.
  • What research has to say about it.
  • And more…

Why does my dog check on me when I’m sleeping?

Your dog checks on you when you’re sleeping because they need something from you. It could be food, or wanting to know if you might play with them. In some cases, it’s due to restlessness. Other factors include separation anxiety, boredom, and out of sync sleeping schedule.

9 reasons why your dog checks on you when sleeping

#1: They love you

Your dog checks on you when sleeping for the simple reason that they love you!

Dogs are pack animals. As such, they communicate through the use of touch, vocalizations, gestures, and interaction.

If you’ll notice, your dog immensely enjoys being petted, listening to your voice, and interacting with you. They don’t like being alone for a long time. 

That’s why they check up on you when you’re sleeping. They want to be in your presence.

Aside from that, they feel the need to check on you from time to time. Just to make sure you’re okay.

So know that in the middle of the night, when you’re dead to the world, someone is caring for you.

#2: They’re doing protective duties

Dogs are naturally protective of their humans. But this instinct is stronger in certain breeds such as German Shepherds and Rottweilers.

If your dog is constantly checking on you, it’s out of protectiveness. They want to make sure nothing harms you.

Even in the middle of the night. 

According to PetMD, an adult dog sleeps between 12-14 hours throughout the day. 

When a dog sleeps, they experience cycles of semi-wakefulness. It means that at times, they are awake but are groggy.

In one night, they could experience about 23 of these sleep-wake cycles.

Sometimes a dog wakes fully in the middle of the night. They would check their surroundings for dangers.

Or they would check if everything is where they should be, including their owners.

So expect them to do a sweep of the entire house when they wake up and everyone is asleep.

#3: They are bored

Dogs sleep on and off throughout the day. 

Then the night comes and everyone goes to sleep. Except for your dog.

To entertain themselves, they play with their toys for a while. If it’s no longer fun, they wander from room to room looking for something to do.

But with no one to play with them, your dog gets bored. And to relieve boredom, they would check on you while you’re sleeping.

They’re probably expecting you to still be awake and hoping you could play with them.

#4: They’re searching for food and water

Sometimes dogs get hungry just when it’s the middle of the night.  

And since you’re the one feeding them, your dog will go to you.

There could be times when you have forgotten to give them their dinner. Or sometimes they are the early birds looking for their breakfast.

So they would go to your room to see if you’re awake to give them food.

#5: They want you to check something

Dogs have an awesome hearing.

This could be the reason why they check on you when you’re sleeping. Because they heard sounds outside the window.

It’s probably a squirrel, or a mouse looking for food. 

They would come looking for you to ‘tell’ you about it. Just like during the day when something catches their attention. They want you to know about it, too.

#6: They are curious

Dogs are curious by nature. 

So even if you’re already asleep, they check on you. Because they want to know what’s going on.

Are you sleeping already? Or are you still awake?

If you’re awake, what are you doing? Can they join you?

These are the questions they would ask if they could talk.

#7: They have separation anxiety

A dog with separation anxiety will never let you out of their sight.

Even when you’re already dreaming.

They will always want to be near you. Otherwise, they will resort to destructive behaviors. 

These could be:

  • House soiling.
  • Destructiveness.
  • Depression or sadness.
  • Vocalization (barking, howling, or whining).

Research published in January 2020 mentioned that:

‘22.3-55% of the general dog population’ showed signs of separation-related problems.

Another study looked at 215 dogs with separation anxiety. The results showed that 40 dogs have separation anxiety only. 

But 179 dogs exhibited other behavioral problems in addition to separation anxiety.

Both studies observed symptoms such as vocalization, destruction, and excessive motor activity.

It’s important to mention that dogs do these destructive behaviors when they don’t see you. As to when you’re around, they could stick by your side like glue.

#8: They are restless

If your dog keeps checking on you when you’re sleeping, there’s always an underlying reason.

One possibility is restlessness.

And Rex here seemed to have the case of restlessness:

A dog could become restless due to a variety of reasons. 

Perhaps they are not comfortable on their bed. Like humans, a dog would toss and turn trying to find that sweet spot. 

You can see Rex spinning around a few times before lying down. On the sofa, he would turn this way or that.

Could it be that their bed is situated near loud noises, such as traffic? If that’s the case, it will not give them the quiet that they need to sleep.

Based on the video, there were a few instances that something from outside took Rex’s attention. 

Sometimes something ails them, such as a stomach ache. 

There was no indication on the video that Rex was sick. But he was awake most of the night. 

And he did check on his owner many times.

#9: Their sleeping schedule is out of sync

This is a problem that’s going to bog you and your dog for a while.

This is particularly more difficult for puppies at first. It’s because you’re training them to have a sleep schedule in sync with yours.

So your pup checking on you while you’re sleeping is going to be the scenario. At least until they learn how to sleep independently.

For older dogs, they could be suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia. This is rare in dogs. 

But medical conditions can keep your dog from sleeping properly. Think of stress, illnesses, and even lack of physical activity.

If you suspect sleep disorders, look for the following signs:

  • Disoriented.
  • Whining or crying.
  • Sluggish during the day.
  • Frequently wake up during the night.

What to do about it

Do not ignore these instances when your dog checks on you when you’re sleeping. Otherwise, it will impact the quality of your life, and their life as well, in the long run.

Here are just a few suggestions:

#1: Give them a comfortable place to sleep

Pets are like humans in this manner. They can sleep better if their bed is comfortable. 

Consider getting a human-grade bed. It should be spacious as well.

In addition, change their sleep location. It must be a corner conducive for sleeping. 

Avoid places such as:

  • By the door.
  • Near windows.
  • Anywhere that isn’t quiet.

#2: Feed them before they go to sleep

That is, to keep them from checking on you when they’re hungry.

Also, don’t give them one big meal a day to avoid bloat. This could keep them up all night.

#3: Teach them to spend time alone

If they have separation anxiety, teach them to spend time on their own. 

This is where crate training comes in. With crate training, your dog learns to love their own ‘me time.’

You can also give them interactive toys and puzzles.

Another idea is to put your dog in a different room during the day. Maybe you can set up a playpen in the den where they spend time alone.