Dogs are very much like humans when they sleep. They all have favorite sleeping positions. Some dogs are comfortable sleeping on their side. Other dogs prefer to sleep on their back, paws extended in the air. Human and canine sleep experts agree we can learn a lot about the position a person or their furry friend sleeps in. A dog’s sleeping position can provide insight into how a pet is feeling both mentally and physically. We can learn a lot about our furbabies by observing the sleeping habits of puppies and dogs.
Dog Sleeping Positions
Back to Back
The back-to-back sleep position is another sign of unconditional love and trust. Dogs feel comforted when they can snuggle up to you or another furbaby. The meaning behind this position is a way for your dog to show affection and comfort. Dogs may sleep in the back-to-back position with the person in their family they feel they can trust and are most comfortable with. Your dog may feel comfortable sleeping back to back with one of your children, another dog, or even a family cat.
The belly-up position is precisely what it sounds like. It’s when a dog lies on its back with all four paws up in the air. The belly-up is also one of the cutest positions you’ll ever see your dog in. This sleep position may look quite uncomfortable to humans, but it’s a sign that your dog is totally relaxed and comfortable. The belly up is a position a dog may lie in when it’s trying to stay cool. Dogs who frequently lie in this position to sleep are loving companions who feel secure in their environment and can nap restfully.
There’s more to the belly-up position than some other sleep positions. A dog’s belly is a heat source, and they sweat through their paws, so the belly-up position is a way for your dog to cool off. Another reason dogs sleep in the belly-up position is because they trust their owner and feel secure in their environment.
Exposing the belly is a vulnerability for a dog. When your dog lies in this sleep position, you know they feel secure and relaxed. However, as dog’s age, they may not lie in the belly-up position. Changing sleep positions isn’t a sign that your dog no longer trusts you. The dog may have stiff or achy joints and doesn’t feel as comfortable sleeping belly-up.
Some dogs will burrow in their dog crates under blankets, pillows, or even clothes to find a snug place to sleep. This is the burrower position. A dog that burrows is affectionate but has a needy personality and is searching for a place that offers comfort and protection. Dogs that are burrowers usually need a lot of attention and affection from their owners, especially when it’s time to go to sleep. If your dog is a burrower, you might want to add some blankets to their bed or make a dog crate cover.
Cuddlers prefer to sleep with their owners or snuggled close to other family pets. The cuddler is the perfect sleep position for the owner that lets their dog sleep in their bed. The cuddler dogs sleep with or on top of their owner or one of their furry friends. Cuddler dogs are showing their devotion to their owners. It’s a sign that your dog loves and wants to be close to you. When a dog exhibits this kind of behavior, it’s a sign they want to bond with their owner and other pets.
Dogs that sleep with their legs curled beneath them are sleeping in the donut position. Dogs often sleep in the donut position to protect themselves or if they’re cold and are trying to hold in body heat. The donut is a position dog sleep in to protect themselves from cold and wind when outdoors. Dogs that sleep in the donut position are caring of their owners but sometimes anxious. The position is common in dogs that are strays or newly adopted and unsure of their environment.
Head and Neck Raised
When a dog’s head and neck areas are on a raised surface like a pillow or the side of their dog bed, they could be having breathing problems. Your dog could be experiencing heart problems. If your dog’s breathing is faster than usual, or if your pup doesn’t want to get as much exercise, as usual, you should schedule an appointment with your vet.
The Lion’s Pose is commonly referred to as the Sphinx. The dog sleeps with its head on its paws. Some dogs sleep in this position with the hind legs extended out to one side. According to canine sleep experts, a dog that sleeps in this position, a lion’s pose ,is resting but not sleeping deeply. Your dog may be ready to jump up and play or head to the door for a walk at a moment’s notice. Lion’s pose dogs are devoted and protective of their owners. They like to nap close to their owners.
On A Cold Surface
When a dog sleeps on a cold surface with its belly exposed to the surface, it’s trying to cool off. Your dog may lie on a cold surface outdoors or in the house. Your dog might lie in the superman or lion’s pose as long as the tummy is touching a cold surface. Sleeping on a cold surface is a sign that your dog is too hot and needs to cool down. Make sure the temperature in your home is cool, and your dog has plenty of cool water to drink.
Dogs and humans like to sleep on their sides. For some, it’s their most comfortable position. Side sleepers are typical in puppies and older dogs that might have stiff or achy joints. The position is lying on their side with their legs extended out. For a puppy and any dog that doesn’t have stiff joints, this usually means the dog is sleeping at a temperature that’s comfortable. The dog feels relaxed and safe in its environment. The side sleeper position is the one in which a dog gets the deepest and most restful sleep. Side sleeping is the position in which you may notice your dog’s paws twitching and “sleep running” during the dream state.
Dogs who sleep in the superman like to sleep belly to the floor, front legs out in front of them and back legs sprawled out behind. Dogs that are very playful and young puppies are comfortable sleeping in this position. The superman position means that your dog is sleepy but ready for play at any time. Dogs that are high-energy often sleep in the superman position. They play until they can’t and need a quick nap to energize.
Canine Sleep Patterns And Behavior
When your dog is in deep sleep you may notice unusual movement, tipping, growling, or barking . These behaviors are all normal. Like the common dog sleeping positions, different behaviors can give you insight into your dog’s quality of sleep. Here are some common canine sleep behaviors:
- Barking or squeaking
- Circling or digging
Barking or squeaking when a dog is asleep isn’t anything to be concerned about. This is a typical sleep behavior and means that the dog is having a reaction to something he’s dreaming about.
Circling or digging is typical canine behavior that goes back to their ancestor, the wolf. Many dogs will spin around or start exploring before they settle. Wolves will dig or circle to get rid of excess snow, earth, or leaves to make their sleeping spot more comfortable.
Dreaming is as common for dogs as it is for humans. No one understands what exactly dogs dream about. However, their brains do process the events of the day when they go to sleep. Canine experts assume that a dog dreams about what happened during the day, whether it’s chasing squirrels in the yard or playing at the dog park.
Lying on one side and running with the paws moving simultaneously when a dog is asleep is usually a reaction to a dream they’re having.
Snoring is something that some dogs do more than others, just like humans. The dogs that snore most often are the breeds that may have breathing problems like Boxers, Bulldogs, and Pugs. Dogs with short muzzles generally snore more than other breeds.
Twitching and other movements are perfectly normal during sleep. Dogs that twitch when they’re sleeping are in between sleep stages or having a dream. Twitching is a normal part of the sleep cycle for pets.
Sleeping Habits Of Puppies
Puppies have unique daytime and nighttime sleeping habits. Puppies are similar to human babies. They need sufficient sleep to grow and develop properly. To ensure that your puppy is getting enough sleep, you should keep your furbaby on a consistent sleep schedule.
Puppies sleep a lot more during the day than adult dogs. The frequent naps help puppies to process all they’re learning and help them to grow and mature. Most pet parents notice their puppy napping several times a day. Some puppies may take a nap each hour. What we call power naps for puppies are totally normal and sometimes come out of nowhere. Puppies can fall asleep at unusual times and in odd places. A puppy may even take time out for a nap in the middle of playtime or a training session.
New puppy owners may observe their puppy is more active at night. Your tiny dog barking in his crate at night is perfectly normal too. Puppies may get up to drink water, take a potty break, or eat several times each night. As the puppy gets settled in the new environment, things will settle down. After a few months, the puppy will usually sleep for around 10 hours each night.
How Long Do Dogs Typically Sleep?
The typical adult dog usually sleeps between 12 and 14 hours a day. However, the amount of sleep your dog needs is based on:
- Dog’s age
- Activity level
Canine experts agree that dogs sleep more on days when they’ve been the most active. Most dogs spend most of their sleep time between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Dogs usually like to take an afternoon nap. If your dog is sleeping a lot more or less than what’s typical, you may want to schedule an appointment with your vet to make sure all is well. If your new puppy is sleeping up to 20 hours a day, this isn’t anything to be concerned about. Your puppy is developing and growing during this time and needs all the extra sleep.
Making Sure Your Dog Gets The Most Restful Sleep
To make sure your dog is getting the most restful sleep, buy a good quality pet bed and indoor kennel that are large enough for your dog and is snug and warm in cold weather. The dog’s bed should be placed in a quiet spot in your home where he won’t be disturbed. Keep their sleep area full of favorite toys and plenty of fresh, clean water.