Your Dog’s Sleeping Position Can Tell You How Happy They Are
Does your dog curl up like a shrimp when they sleep or are they belly up, toe beans to the sky? Every sleeping position tells you something about how relaxed and comfy your pup is while they snooze.
10 Common Dog Sleeping Positions
Adult dogs sleep for 8 to 14 hours per day, and every minute of that snooze is time that you can watch your dogs sleep patterns and positions to sleuth out some insights into how they’re feeling. If you’ve got a puppy or a senior dog, that sleep window expands to 18 to 20 hours a day—plenty of time to snap stealthy pictures for their Instagram.
The Side Sleeper
The Position: Sleeping on their side with their legs outstretched.
What it means: Everything is a-okay! Dogs sleep this way when they’re feeling comfortable. Their temperature is just right and they feel content in their surroundings. This is one of the most common canine sleeping positions for a happy dog.
The Position: Curled up in a snug little ball.
What it means: This position might mean that your dog is feeling uncomfortable or protective since they’re wrapped up tight and protecting their vital organs. It’s a common sleeping position for stray or newly adopted dogs. Before you start to worry, it might also just mean your dog is a little chilly—gotta keep all those toes tucked in to preserve body heat, right?
The Lion’s Pose
The Position: Laying down with their head resting on their paws—almost like they fell asleep in the middle of practicing “lie down.”
What it means: Your dog might be snoozing, but this position says they’re ready for anything. They can leap into action at a moment’s notice whether it’s to play with their friend or chase down their squirrel nemesis. This is the canine equivalent of your dad falling asleep sitting straight up in his armchair and swearing he was awake the whole time.
The Superman (aka The Sploot)
The Position: Belly down, legs stretched out in the front and back. We all know and love a good sploot.
What it means: Are you done playing? Because your dog’s not. They may have tuckered themselves out and flopped down right where they were roughhousing, but they’ll happily wake up for round two! Superman position is a favorite of puppies and high-energy dogs.
The Belly Up
The Position: On their back, four legs in the air, belly begging for smooches.
What it means: Their tummy and all those vital organs are on display, which means your pooch feels safe as can be. They know you’ve got their back and nothing can hurt them. This position often becomes less comfortable for older dogs, but some good memory foam support might get those toe beans back in the air. This is also the best position to watch their paws twitch while your dog dreams during that good, deep sleep.
The Cuddle Bug
The Position: Snuggled next to (or right on top of) a buddy.
What it means: When your dog was a puppy, they would sleep all snuggled up with their brothers and sisters. As adults, it feels comforting to cozy up with the people and pets they see as their family. Right back at you, buddy.
Back to Back
The Position: Like the side sleeper, but pressed back to back with a friend.
What it means: Cuddled up and bellies out, sleeping back to back is a sign of intimacy. This position is the ultimate way for your furry friend to show that they feel safe with their sleeping companion. This might be another pet or their favorite human. If it’s you, congratulations—you’re the chosen one.
The Position: Snuggled up under blankets, clothes, pillows, or wherever they can burrow.
What it means: A dog that loves to snuggle under blankets is looking for comfort and security. They might enjoy the dark, cozy feeling of a blanket cave just like a sleep mask helps you shut out the world. They might also run a little chilly—blankets to the rescue. This is a favorite of anxious dogs who feel soothed by the gentle pressure swaddling them as they drift off. If your dog is a burrower, toss a blanket over their dog bed and let them nap in bliss.
The Polar Bear
The Position: Belly flopped on a cold surface.
What it means: Does the sweltering heat have you shedding layers? Don’t be surprised to find your dog spread eagle on a cold tile floor. This is a good way for them to cool off, and you’ll probably get some good puppy smooches if you take this as a sign to crank the air conditioning and bring them some cold water.
Propped Up on a Pillow
The Position: Head and neck elevated on a pillow, the arm of the couch, the edge of their dog bed, etc.
What it means: If you’ve noticed that your dog’s head and neck are usually elevated when they sleep, it could be a sign that they’re trying to soothe breathing issues. Watch out for other symptoms including fast or noisy breathing and getting winded when they exercise and check in with your vet if you’re worried. If you don’t notice any warning signs, you can relax—they might just appreciate a good pillow.
There you have it, friend! Now you’re a dog sleeping position expert—and you know your snoozin’ pup a little bit better.