Sometimes, you find your pup curled up on the couch like a snowball. Other times, they’re sprawled out like Superman. Either way, you might find yourself marveling at your dog’s various contortionist acts when they’re snoozing.
But just as humans sleep in multiple positions, so do animals, and dog sleeping positions say a lot about your furry friend.
On average, dogs sleep for around 12 to 14 hours per day, so you might’ve noticed your fair share of funny positions. But what do dog sleeping positions mean? Are they indicative of your pup’s health and level of comfort?
The way your dog sleeps can tell you a lot about their personality, behaviors, and moods. Here’s a breakdown of five popular dog sleeping positions so you can understand your pup’s snoozing habits.
One of the most common and arguably cutest dog sleeping positions is the donut. You’ll know your dog’s sleeping like a donut when they curl up into a ball with their paws tucked in and tail wagging close to their face.
Smaller dogs or dogs with thinner coats tend to favor this sleeping position. When dogs curl up, they’re able to regulate their body temperature and retain body heat. This position also makes them feel more secure. Dogs that sleep in this position are gentle and caring, but they might also be uncomfortable in their surroundings. This is especially true for dogs that live in wild habitats, sleep in shelters, or pups getting accustomed to a new home.
When they curl up, dogs are essentially making themselves less vulnerable to external threats. The donut gives your dog the advantage of being able to spring up quickly when they’re awake, but this dog sleeping position can also put a strain on its muscles, which means your pup is unlikely to enter the REM sleep stage.
The Side Snoozer
Sleeping on the side is a favorite among dogs the same way it is for humans. When dogs sleep on their sides, they stretch out their limbs and rest their backs against something for maximum comfort.
If you see your dog in this position, you should be pleased as a pet owner because it means your pup feels safe, secured, and loved. This is the ultimate relaxed position, and it also indicates that your dog feels comfortable in its surroundings.
This dog sleeping position means your dog is trusting, easy-going, and fiercely loving. Dogs are also more likely to enter deep sleep in this position because they feel safe in their environment. Your dog’s limbs may flail around because this position grants more freedom of movement, but rest assured, they’re fast asleep.
You might be tempted to buy a red cape for your furry friend when you see this dog sleeping position. In the Superman position, dogs lie flat on their bellies with their paws and limbs stretched out completely.
When dogs adopt this position, it’s usually because the surface they’re lying on is cooler than the temperature around them. This position allows dogs to wake up and get moving quickly as soon as you call their name or they perceive a threat.
If your dog sleeps in this position frequently, it means they’re energetic and won’t miss an opportunity to play fetch with you. Dogs typically flop down in this position after playtime because they’re too exhausted to find another place to sleep.
The Belly Up
The belly up dog sleeping position is one that might trigger a few snickers simply because it looks like your pup’s imitating the way humans sleep. In this position, dogs lie flat on their backs with their belly exposed and paws in the air.
While the donut position is ideal for conserving body heat, the belly up dog sleeping position is great for cooling off. This position is also the most vulnerable out of all because dogs are exposing their vital organs.
Dogs that sleep in this position are entirely trusting and incredibly loving. This sleeping position probably makes a frequent appearance during the hot summer months because it’s the most efficient way for your dog to cool down.
The Cuddle Monster
Dogs are widely regarded as affectionate creatures, so it only stands to reason that they enjoy snuggling up with their favorite people. The tendency for dogs to want to be close to your other pets or you is likely a leftover instinct from when they were younger. Puppies often huddle together in packs to stay warm.
If your dog’s favorite position is cuddling up next to you, it means they’re warm-hearted and loving. By snuggling up with you, your dog is trying to show you that they feel comfortable around you. It’s also an essential way for puppies to keep warm because young dogs have a tougher time regulating temperature.
The best way to indulge your dog’s affections when they cuddle up next to you? Take a little nap with them.
Should You Be Concerned By Any Dog Sleeping Positions?
To you, your dog’s sleeping position may look uncomfortable, but rest assured that they’ve chosen the position that works best for them. If you notice that your dog is sleeping in a strange way, there is likely no reason to be worried because your pup will either wake up or readjust to a different position.
However, it helps to keep an eye on your dog’s sleeping habits, especially if your dog is older or injured. In either case, your dog may try to signal to you that they need help getting into a comfortable position. Usually, a dog bed can offer them a cushioned support to rest their limbs. But if you’re not sure how to get your dog to sleep in a safe position, consider asking your vet for medical advice.
How to Help Your Dog Get a Good Night’s Rest
Good sleep quality is imperative to your dog’s growth and overall well-being. Dog sleeping positions and the amount of sleep they get can give you an insight into whether your dog is getting optimal rest. If you suspect your pup has trouble sleeping through the night, here are some ways to help your dog sleep better.
- Exercise your dog regularly. Dogs have heaps of energy to expend, and physical activity is the best way to ensure your dog gets a good night’s rest. Most dogs need at least two hours of exercise in a day, so be sure to set aside time to take your dog on walks and to play with them. If your dog has trouble sleeping during the night, try taking them on a walk right before bedtime.
- Establish a nighttime routine. Dogs sleep more than 12 hours a day, but you can’t exactly control when they sleep, especially if you’re away in the mornings. If your dog tends to take longer naps during the day, they might find it difficult to fall asleep at night. One way to combat that is by establishing a nighttime routine. Make sure your pup knows that it’s time for bed by feeding them dinner at the same time every day, taking them to the bathroom, and training them to get into their dog bed when you dim the lights. Over time, your dog will learn to recognize when to go to bed.
- Invest in a high-quality dog bed. It’s universally acknowledged that a comfortable bed is essential for a good night’s rest, and your dog needs that, too. A memory foam dog bed can help your dog fall and stay asleep because it has a contouring effect on the muscles and joints. Memory foam also evenly distributes weight and is designed to provide pressure-relieving rest, which is ideal after a long day of play.
- When it comes to selecting a dog bed, be sure to take your dog’s size and weight into consideration for maximum comfort. A small dog bed is ideal for Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, or French Bulldogs. A large dog bed is great if you have a Labrador Retriever, a Basset Hound, or a Great Dane.
Understanding dog sleeping positions can tell you a lot about your dog’s personality and sleep health. But no matter which positions your pup favors, comfort always reigns supreme, so be sure to invest in a luxurious dog bed so your dog can snooze soundly.
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