Let’s be honest, the best part about being a dog owner is the cuddles. Especially when they happen first thing in the morning! We all love our dogs, so when they “love us back,” it’s a wonderful feeling.
But have you ever wondered why some dogs are extra cuddly in the morning compared to the rest of the day? Do you wake up to find your dog snuggled next to you? Perhaps you are surprised by how long your typically active dog lays in bed to cuddle with you in the morning.
If your dog likes to linger in bed and cuddle before beginning his day, read on to find out why!
Common Reasons Why Dogs Cuddle in the Morning
Although dogs and humans can’t communicate with words, we can communicate with body language and action. In most cases, morning cuddles are a positive thing. But in rare cases, it could be your dog trying to tell you that something is wrong.
We will start off by talking about the positives, then at the end of this list, we will go over the negative.
Snuggling with other dogs or human owners allows dogs to feel a sense of security and safety. When puppies are born, they tend to sleep together in litters. This affords them additional safety in numbers than if they slept on their own.
One of the main reasons why dogs enjoy cuddling in the morning is to show feelings of love. Dogs and humans develop strong feelings of affection for each other, and cuddling is one way that dogs demonstrate this affection.
We have known the human brain releases oxytocin when cuddling with a dog, but we have recently discovered that a dog’s brain also releases oxytocin when snuggling with a human. We now have scientific proof that dogs “feel love” when cuddling with their human counterparts.
Burrowing Beneath Covers
In the wild, many dogs are known to burrow to protect themselves from predators. Likewise, many dogs (especially smaller breeds) burrow under the covers to rest. Since it is so dark under the covers, the dogs may not know it is morning until you remove the covers and see the sunshine. Thus, they hang out and cuddle until you wake up.
Dogs may also cuddle with their humans to protect them. This is especially true with dogs that have received training to be service dogs. However, any dog may want to protect his or her owner from intruders. You may notice that if someone else tries to get in bed when your dog is there, he or she will growl or nip. This behavior is meant to scare off the other person and to protect you. Once the dog views the other person as “part of the pack,” this behavior should stop.
Thanking You For Their Meal
A great book called “How Dogs Love Us” by Gregory Berns says that when a dog cuddles with you after feeding them, they’re essentially saying, “thank you for the meal.” So if your pup is extra cuddling after eating, they might be thanking you for breakfast!
Another reason why dogs cuddle is for warmth. You will often see new puppies sleeping next to (or on top of) other puppies in the litter or their mom to keep warm. Some dogs are born with less hair, so sleeping next to another warm body helps them regulate their body temperature. This primal instinct could continue with pet owners by snuggling with them in the mornings.
If you suspect your dog is cold, let them under the blanket with you. They’ll love you for it!
Dogs Sleep More Than Humans
Unlike humans, dogs spend more than eight hours per day sleeping. In fact, some studies have shown that dogs spend at least 12 hours or more sleeping each day. When you wake up in the morning, your dog may still be sleepy and want to wake up on his or her own timeline. This is especially true for larger dogs. The typical rule of thumb is the larger dogs require more sleep than smaller dogs.
Recent Cuddling (The Negative)
If your dog just recently started cuddling with you in the morning, this may be a sign that something is wrong, especially if your dog is older. Make sure your furry friend is not dehydrated.
Sometimes when dogs are sick or dehydrated, they will be more lethargic, sleep for longer, and want to stay near their humans more than when they are healthy and active. It is important to pay attention to the signs of sickness in dogs. It’s most likely nothing to worry about, but it’s better to play it safe and call the vet.
Is Cuddling with My Dog in the Morning Safe?
We all love doggie cuddles, but there’s been a rumor floating around the internet that it’s not safe to cuddle with your dog. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As stated earlier, dogs are pack animals and love to cuddle. But in case you’re concerned, here are some common guidelines for morning snuggles.
Although it is safe to cuddle with your dog, you may want to be more cautious in the summer. When temperatures rise outdoors, dogs may have trouble cooling their bodies (after all, they have a ton of hair).
You will want to be mindful of allowing your dog to walk away to a cooler area when they get too hot. Don’t ever hold them back when they’re trying to leave.
Avoid Hugging Tightly
While many dogs enjoy snuggling close to their owners, they tend to dislike firm hugs that they cannot escape. They may feel trapped or threatened if you hug them. This makes sense considering their primary defense mechanism is to run.
Allow dogs to cuddle with you on their own terms and make sure they have an easy escape route if they want it.
Daily Morning Cuddles
If your dog enjoys snuggling up with you, feel free to enjoy lots of doggie cuddles! Overall, it’s safe to cuddle with your dog in the morning as long as your dog does not overheat and as long as you are not hugging your pup too tightly.
Dog Going Under Covers to Snuggle
Many dogs like to burrow under the covers. If you are okay with this, then it is fine to allow your dog to snuggle with you under the covers. Some research has suggested that people should not let dogs sleep under the covers to prevent allergies.
If you do allow your dog to snuggle under the covers, you’ll want to make sure the covers are loose enough so that your dog can get out easily if they get too hot.
Supervise When Children Are Around
Most children love dogs…and some children love them a little too much! It’s cute when a child wants to give a dog the biggest hug in the world, but the dog probably won’t like it. Some dogs will tolerate it, others won’t. Any time a child is around a dog, make sure you supervise for the safety of both the dog and the child.
It’s Good For You Also!
Believe it or not, there have been multiple studies about how cuddling with our dogs is good for our health. When you cuddle with your dog, a few things happen:
- Stimulates the production of oxytocin in your brain
- Makes you feel emotionally loved and secure
- Gives you a calm, peaceful feeling each morning
- Helps relieve stress and anxiety
And yes, all this has been scientifically proven. So if you care about your health, go snuggle up with your dog!
Morning Cuddles Are Great
Overall, morning cuddles from your dog mean that you and your doggie have a great bond! Morning cuddles can also have an instinctual component to get your dog’s basic needs met. This includes warmth and feelings of safety.
Your dog may also be demonstrating a desire to protect you by snuggling up close. Morning cuddles could also signify that your dog is still sleepy and needs a bit more sleep, especially since dogs spend more time sleeping each day than humans do.
More often than not, morning affection is something that human owners relish and enjoy. In some cases, veterinarians have cautioned against having dogs sleep under the covers to prevent overheating. If you have a dog who enjoys sleeping under the covers, just be cautious about leaving the sheets loose enough so your dog can get out when he wants to.
Very occasionally, there are times to be worried about morning cuddling. If you notice your dog has trouble waking up, appears lethargic, is sick, or is dehydrated, it is important to check in with your veterinarian about what the cause might be. Other than those rare instances, feel free to snuggle up with your pup!
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