What Your Dog’s Sleeping Position Says About Them
February 16, 2023
Dogs, just like humans have their own sleep rituals. We know why we need the pillows a certain way, or the blankets tucked in and even which position we like to sleep in, but what does it mean for our pets?
Sleeping habits can give us a clue to our dog’s health and happiness that we can interpret if we know what we are looking for.
Before dogs had beds, the circling was a way of establishing that the area was safe and to make sure there was nothing that could harm them when they slept. Trampling the high grass created enough disturbance to scare away any snakes, rodents or insects. If your dog seems to circle more than normal, or is having difficulty settling in, it may be an early warning of pain or a neurological issue.
If your dog enjoys digging for the sake of it, they might be telling you that they need more outside time as their digging can be harmful to your home furnishings!
Digging and scratching is a thought to be instinctive and related to temperature control. Because dogs have limited sweat glands, curling up in the cooler earth when it’s warm will keep them comfortable. Likewise, if your dog is cold, curling up in a pit will concentrate body heat and keep them safer from the elements.
Pay attention to how your dog sleeps as a sudden change could mean they might be in pain or unwell.
A dog who sleeps on their side is feeling safe and comfortable as they are leaving their vital organs exposed and is a great indication that your pup is feeling happy and safe. Dogs that sleep on their backs with their legs in the air are super comfortable or alternatively may be warm and trying to expose the areas where the fur is thinner to cool down.
A dog that sleeps in a “superman” position (on their stomach with legs stretched out in front) is generally a puppy or a high energy dog who want to nap frequently but be ready to jump back into action!
Just like us, dogs dream and move around during different cycles of their sleep. Twitching, barking, growling or even wagging tails is completely normal and means that your dog is having a good sleep.
Dogs can also occasionally have nightmares, this is not uncommon but if it happens too frequently or your dog seems too agitated, it might be time for a vet visit.
A less common reason for twitching could be because your dog is cold and twitching is a way for them to keep warm. If your dog is cold, look at moving their sleeping place to somewhere warmer.
How Much Sleep
Dogs sleep way more than humans, on average dogs need around 14 hours per day and puppies need even more (around 18-19 hours per day).
It’s common for dog’s sleep patterns or positions to change over time, this could be due to the weather, dietary changes or even their mood!
Take notice of how much your pup sleeps to make notes of any changes as they may be an indication of a health issue.
Now that you have some insights into underlying health issues you know what your pooch is telling you, even when they are sleeping!