How dogs sleep?

The positions dogs sleep in, their way of twitching or shifting and the amount of time they spend napping will say a lot about how they feel.

Sleeping patterns can provide hints about the safety and happiness of a dog, which you can translate when you know what to look for. Of course, if you find something odd or anything about the sleeping habits of your dog, you can go to your vet for a check-up.

Pay attention to the most famous place your dog lies in. The favorite sleeping position of your dog can change depending on where they are snoozing, who they sleep near, or whether they feel a certain way.

Injuries or soreness can also cause a dog’s sleeping position to change, so keep an eye out for signs of discomfort if you see anything odd in your pup’s sleeping position. If something seems wrong, get to the vet.

Below are a few common positions of sleep, and what they may mean.

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A very typical pose dogs take is to curl up in a ball, nose-to-tail, while they sleep. As it protects the vital organs, helps preserve water, and makes it easy to get up quickly, it is a common place for animals to take in the wild too.

This position limits movement during sleep, so a dog that snoozes in a ball may see less twitching.

You would assume a dog that sleeps in this place in their surroundings would be uncomfortable, and while that may be the case, it is not necessarily true. It’s a common position in the fall and winter months when the weather is cold, or just sleeping in that position may just feel better for a particular dog.


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This role is often called the “Superman.” It helps a dog to jump up automatically, and to be on their feet.

You also see this pose with puppies who like to sleep regularly but are still able to be ready to get up and play at the notice of the moment.

Dogs who sleep in this place, even when they’re napping, don’t want to miss a chance to be in practice. It is the preferred place for high-energy pups or pups who get lazy during play and just want to plop down where they are.


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Curling in a ball likewise preserves heat, sleeping with an uncovered belly lets a dog cool off. As the fur is thinner around the neck, and the sweat glands are retained by the hands, revealing these areas is a perfect way to beat the sun.

It’s also a posture that means a dog is very relaxed, leaving vulnerable its most delicate areas and making it difficult to get quickly on their feet.

A pup that is most likely sleeping in this position is not having anything in the world. Summer months are normal.
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You can catch your dog with your other pets sleeping back-to-back or snuggling up to you and that means the same thing. Your dog is bonding and demonstrating that they or their fuzzy friends want to get close to you.

A dog that sleeps this way feels very affectionate and caring, and is totally relaxed with whomever they sleep with.

In return seek to express your affection by having a snooze with your dog.

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When your dog is napping, their actions may give you some hints about the quality of their sleep.

Sleep is necessary to heal and rebuild the body and most restorative is REM sleep, which is the deepest stage of sleep.

Beware of these symptoms and habits to ensure your dog gets the best sleep possible.


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It’s a common activity for dogs to circle their area of sleep, or even dig a little before they lie down to sleep.

Such action stems from the ancestors of the wolf dogs who would sometimes trample grass, leaves, or snow to get comfortable. Also, they may dig a hole to help keep them warm in winter or cool in summer.

Before lying down, dogs like to circle a few times, but doing too much or having trouble settling in may be a sign of discomfort, arthritis or a neurological problem. When you experience excessive circling, consult with a vet.


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During the day a dog can doze off if they are bored or just get a rest. This is not a very restful night, and your dog may only wait for something to come along more exciting.

Monitor the ears of your dog and see if they are perked up at some motion or unexpected noise. It means your dog is still still relatively alert and looking for something worth waking up for.

It’s probably time to do something fun like going for a stroll or playing fetch.


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While they’re most restful, dogs continue to roll a little during REM sleep. They may be acting out their dreams really well, but they get a good, deep sleep.

Twitching, wagging in the tail, kicks in the legs and sometimes barks or grunts are common. It’s a good time to let sleeping dogs stay, as this sleep period is very restorative and good for their wellbeing.

Movement during sleep in puppies and senior dogs is often more common and no one can really understand why.

When a dog is cold, a less common excuse to twitch during the sleep is. The twitches are the manner in which the body warms up. If your dog is cold, take a blanket or move them to a warmer place to sleep.


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