Dogs are so cute when they’re sleeping, right? Your heart melts with love and affection when you see them curled up, belly up or sprawled on the ground with their front legs pointed forward. But have you ever wondered why your dog sleeps that way and what the different dogs’ sleeping positions actually mean?
What Do These 9 Dogs’ Sleeping Positions Mean?
Did you know that dogs’ sleeping positions can say a lot about how safe, loved and happy they feel in your home? You’re their whole world, and how you interact with them daily can significantly impact their personality and well-being.
Here’s what your dog’s sleeping positions reveal about their personality, health and character.
1. Head propped up on a pillow
It’s so cute when you see your dog sleeping peacefully like a baby, with their head on a pillow or something else they use as a pillow. You instantly go for your phone to immortalize the moment for your Instagram followers.
But what does this dog’s sleeping position say about your pup’s well-being? Well, if he does it now and then, it’s just something silly and cute. If you notice he sleeps like that a lot, pay more attention to the way he breathes, and go to the vet if you notice irregular breathing rates.
Sometimes, dogs suffering from a heart condition sleep with their head and neck raised above their body level to breathe more easily. Don’t worry; just watch them closely when they do this and check with your vet to eliminate any doubt.
2. Cuddling up
One of the best feelings in the world is when your lovely, adorable pooch cuddles up next to you at night and falls asleep to the sound of your breathing. Dogs do this when they feel the need for a comforting and warm place as they had when they were puppies and would sleep cuddled up against their mother.
This cuddle position is one of the best sleeping positions for your dogs. They will have a long and restful night’s sleep. Dogs that need to cuddle up near their loved ones when sleeping have affectionate personalities. Cuddling up is also a sign of bonding. They want to get close and feel loved. It’s nothing wrong with that.
However, if you think enough is enough and don’t want your dog to sleep near you every night, get him a loving dog bed with soft fur and memory foam that mimics the warm protection they’ve felt when sleeping next to their mother during puppyhood. They’ll love it, and they’ll be grateful for it.
3. Getting snuggled under a piece of cloth
Seeing your dog borrows his head under a pillow, or a blanket looks funny and silly, but do you know why they do this?
Are they just trying to amuse you, or maybe they seek security and comfort? Well, dogs that sleep under covers, clothes, pillows, and everything they find around the house are needy. They require a lot of attention and affection. They could be nervous, afraid or just insecure. So, it’s essential to recognize your dog’s anxiety and figure out what’s causing it.
If they are burrowing their heads under things a lot, try calming them down, cuddling them, and showing them extra affection. If they do it now and then, they’re just goofy and playful and expect you to come and snuggle them.
So, observe them and don’t worry about it. Like us, they sometimes want to take a break from everything and relax before returning to protecting the house against alien invaders.
But if your dogs display weird and anxious behaviour and sleep with their head burrowed under pillows or blankets at all times, then it is a sign of fear and anxiety; so you might need to look into that.
4. Sleeping with their belly up
Although it seems quite uncomfortable and silly and cute, seeing dogs sleep with their belly up and paws in the air is a sign that they feel really comfortable and safe with you.
Also, let’s not forget that dogs sweat through their paws. So, when they get in the belly-up position, they might try to keep cool, the belly being another hot spot. Of course, this is a very vulnerable position for them, so they will only do it if they feel their environment is safe.
Certainly, they are also expecting some well-deserved belly rubs. Who doesn’t love belly rubs, right?
Specialists also warn that, as dogs age, they might not sleep on their backs as much. This is not because of their lack of trust in you but just because they are old and might suffer from arthritis.
5. The lion position
Have you ever seen a statue of a lion sleeping in front of some government building? That’s what the Lion position is, aka “the sphinx”. It’s when your dog sleeps with his head resting on his paws stretched forward. He might be deep in sleep or just relaxing half-asleep.
Variations of this pose might include back legs on the side and front paws tucked in. This is a watchdog sleeping pose. It means your dog is ready to jump forward in case something happens. They are not deep asleep when they are in this position. They’re just in snooze mode, usually sleeping by your feet or at the door, protecting you from enemies.
The lion or sphinx position is usually how dogs start out resting. If no danger comes to them, they will soon transition to a more comfortable position.
6. The donut position
Dogs spend almost half their life asleep, and you should let them have their precious rest time when they need it. We know that sometimes they sleep in such a cute position, but you should resist the urge to wake them up suddenly.
One of the most common and also cutest dog sleeping positions is the donut. You know, it’s when they curl up, with their back arched inwards and their head resting on all of their four legs. Unlike the belly-up sleeping position, the donut pose is how they mostly sleep outside, protecting their essential organs and conserving heat. In case of a sudden emergency, they can rise up quite fast and deal with the situation.
However, if your dog sleeps curled up while inside, it doesn’t necessarily mean he feels in danger. It’s just one of the most natural dog sleeping poses. He might also feel a bit cold, or that’s how he finds his comfort, so don’t worry about it.
7. Sleeping on their side
This is another cute dog’s sleeping position that we involuntarily associate with a baby’s sleeping pose. It’s a more relaxed sleeping position than the donut, meaning they feel safe, warm and don’t expect any impending dangers from their environment.
The side sleeping position also depends on your dog’s personality because when they sleep on their side, they leave their belly and vital organs visible and vulnerable. Also, it’s not a very good position from which to rise up in case of danger. But at the same time, they know this sleeping pose invites more belly rubs, massaging and petting from their hoomans. So, why not go with it?
Let’s imagine for a moment what your dog thinks when sleeping on his side.
“I’m going to sleep on my side with my cute belly exposed, so the hooman might give me a few belly rubs. In case the hooman moves his hand to massage me, I’ll instantly roll over in the belly-up pose to give him full access to my cute tummy. I know the hooman can’t resist me. I’m cute! Look at me, I’m so cute, and I love my hooman”.
8. The splooting “Superman”
The splooting refers to stretching one’s legs behind their body while the front paws are stretched forward. Cats do this sometimes as well. Some might call it the “Superman” because it’s like they’re flying in the air, cape flowing in the wind, saving the world every hour. You know, the usual superhero stuff.
If your dog were a superhero, the splooting pose is how he would look when saving the Earth. But wait, he’s already your superhero, right?
The splooting sleeping pose is somewhat similar to the lion pose, allowing the dog to quickly jump to their feet in case of unexpected danger. But what does it mean?
Well, when it comes to young puppies, it’s a goofy way of playing around. Young adult dogs might also do this to cool off during hot summer days. They would search for a cold surface and then sprawl out, ensuring their unhaired skin touches the cold surface, trying to cool off during the summer. If you notice your dog is splooting on cold surfaces, it means he’s hot. So try to adjust the AC, give them a frozen treat, groom them, or even buy a cooling mat to sleep on.
However, splooting might also signal some health problems in older dogs, such as osteoarthritis, which involves damage to the protective cartilage in joints. This condition is painful for the aging dog, and splooting might ease his suffering.
Splooting can also be a sign of an injury. So, if you’ve noticed them taking a serious tumble and see them sleeping only in the Superman pose, you might check to see if they’re ok.
Apart from these situations, a dog might sploot when tired after a full day of running around. But do not be fooled. If they sense you are ready to play again, they’ll pop up, ready to play some more. Yes, that’s why we adore these fun-loving, optimistic and lovely paw friends.
9. Sleeping back to back to other dogs or you
When your dog approaches you and places their back next to you or a fellow dog, they show love and affection. They want to keep in contact while asleep, feeling you close to them, protecting and loving them back.
It’s one of the most adorable dog sleeping positions, and dogs choose it when they need that extra ounce of attention and reassurance.
So, don’t deny them this pleasure. Massage their fur a little bit and help them feel protected and loved. It’s the least you can do for the unconditional love and loyalty they show you.