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8 Dog Sleeping Positions & What It Means
8 Dog Sleeping Positions & What It Means

8 Dog Sleeping Positions & What It Means

Your dog requires a lot of sleep after its busy schedule of playing, going for walks, and being your cuddly companion. The amount of time a dog sleeps depends on various factors such as age, size, and the environment they are in. For example, both puppies and senior dogs tend to sleep for longer hours (in fact, puppies can sleep up to 20 hours). It is also said that larger dogs require more sleep than medium-sized dogs and small dogs.

The sleeping patterns of dogs and humans are quite alike. Like us, they too enter the phase of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is during their active sleep stage. The sleeping behavior of dogs, however, can be different. Here are a few common actions that dogs do when they are asleep:

  • Circling before sleep

    You may have noticed your dog spinning around in circles before settling down to sleep. It is an inherited canine behavior; dogs once had to flatten the grass or other vegetation to sleep comfortably. Circling was also a way of protecting themselves from predators and other potential threats. Although your dog doesn’t have to do this, it provides a sense of contentment.

  • Snoring

    This is a sound we are all too familiar with and your dog probably does it too! Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal for a dog to snore. It usually happens if your pooch is a short-nosed breed, sleeping in a different position, or obese. Dogs tend to snore due to a congested nose as well. If none of these reasons are the cause, you should check it with your vet.

  • Twitching

    When your dog is in a deep sleep, it might move its paws or wag its tail. These actions are usually accompanied by soft noises like whining and whimpering. This means your dog is dreaming, and it is a common behavior for dogs. It is best not to disturb dogs when in deep sleep, even if it seems like they are having a bad dream!

Dog sleeping positions

The way dogs sleep might seem ordinary, but it can be an indicator of how they feel. Here’s a list of different dog sleeping positions and what they mean:

  1. The royal

    In this position, the dog’s head is rested on their paws as it sleeps on its belly. It is popularly known as “The Lion” or “The Sphinx” because this position makes them look regal. After all, they do rule the house!

    Meaning: Your dog is probably settling in for a nap but is still alert and ready to be of service the moment you may need it.

  2. The curl up

    The more apt name for this position is “donut” because your dog looks like one every time it curls up to sleep. When dogs sleep in this position, their legs lay close to their body and the nose touches the hind legs with the tail (if long enough) covering their face. If you try to picture this dog sleeping position, it does seem like a perfect round shape, doesn’t it?

    Meaning: Dogs generally sleep in this position during winters to make the most of their own body heat. They also sleep in this position every time they feel anxious or uneasy. Instead of leaving themselves exposed, it allows them to protect their important organs. Moreover, dogs also curl up in unfamiliar surroundings or if they are adjusting to the current temperature.

  3. On their side

    This is one of the most common sleeping positions of dogs where they sleep on their side. You will generally see puppies sleeping in this position. Older dogs with stiff joints too choose to sleep on their side.

    Meaning: This position indicates they are super relaxed and in deep sleep. Your dog would choose a quiet area of the house to sleep like this, so it won’t be disturbed.

  4. Head elevation

    As the name suggests, your dog will sleep with its head elevated from the rest of its body on a pillow or couch armrest.

    Meaning: This means that your dog wants to breathe air properly and requires support for comfortable breathing. It may be an indication of breathing issues or some other medical condition. If you find your dog sleeping in this position often, it is best to consult your vet.

  5. On the belly

    Your dog is most likely to sleep in this position on a cool surface with its belly to the ground, hind legs behind it, and front legs stretched forward. It is also called “The Superman”, but it is unlikely that your little pooch will fly in its sleep.

    Meaning: Literally falling flat on the floor, this sleeping position happens when your dog is exhausted after a fun playtime and needs to cool off a bit. It is a go-to comfort position for these four-legged angels.

  6. On the back

    In this sleeping position, your dog is on its back with its legs, belly, and head facing upward. This is one of the most adorable and comical positions dogs sleep in.

    Meaning: This means that your pooch is extremely relaxed and in one of the most trusted atmospheres they could be in. Why else would they leave their belly exposed? It is also an effective method of cooling off as everything is up in the air. Dogs resort to this position if there are no cool surfaces to rest their belly on.

  7. Cuddling

    Here’s how dogs cuddle: They sleep on top of you or ensure that their body is touching yours. They could be near your feet, arms, or face while doing so.

    Meaning: This cute sleeping position is your dog’s way of showing its love and affection for you. It wants to be closer to you or other pets in the house.

  8. Undercover (literally!)

    This is when dogs sleep with their face or just their nose burrowed under a blanket or a cloth. If you see your dog sleeping in this position, make sure that you shower it with love and attention.

    Meaning: Dogs sleep in this position when they are feeling cold or need some comforting. It is their way of expressing that they want to feel safe and secure. Do not forget to cuddle with your pooch every time you see it sleep with its face/nose undercover.

Frequently asked questions

  • What does a dog sleeping position tell you?

    Your dog’s sleeping position can be an indicator of how it feels in an environment. If you pay close attention to it, you can observe a change in the way your pooch sleeps during a weather change. You will also notice the difference in how it sleeps at home and in a new environment.

  • Why do dogs sleep stretched out?

    Dogs will stretch their body out and sleep to cool off during summers or whenever they feel warm. This dog sleeping position is also a sign that they are comfortable.

  • Why do dogs sleep touching you?

    When a dog touches you as it sleeps, it is a sign that this four-legged angel feels the most secure and safe with you. Sleeping right next to you gives it a sense of security.

  • Do dogs like being pet while sleeping?

    You know how much dogs love cuddles when they are up and about, however, when dogs are asleep, it is best not to wake them up. Since they feel startled, they might react aggressively. If they fall asleep while you are petting them, this won’t be an issue.

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