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Sleeping Positions of a Dog and its Meaning

Pretty sure you’ve always wondered why your pet sleeps the way s/he does. Does everything your pet do have meaning? A lot can be revealed about a dog’s personality by observing their sleeping positions, habits and the amount of time spent snoozing. Your pet’s sleeping habits can be signs about their happiness and health if you observe closely.

Here’s a list of some of them-


Crazy legs sleeping – Sleeping on the back with all limbs in the air.

Exposing the belly helps your pet cool off as the fur around that region is thinner and the paws hold the sweat glands.

It also suggests that your pet is independent and secure with her or his surroundings, leaving their most sensitive parts vulnerable and harder for them to jump on their feet quickly. Moreover, a pup doing this probably means that s/he doesn’t have a care in the world.

The side sleeper – A common sleeping position for dogs.

This typically displays strong family bonds and trust in their human pack. A dog sleeping like that has to feel safe and comfortable, as the position leaves the vital organs exposed.

Pets who sleep like this tend to be stress-free and relaxed. Some dogs may shift to a different sleeping position if they’re sleeping somewhere new or next to someone they’re not accustomed to.

The fox curl – When a dog sleeps with her/his paws underneath the body and the tail is wrapped around to the face s/he is feeling cold.

This position helps keep the heat in as much as possible. Also, a very common position taken up in the wild, as it protects all the vital organs and allows for a quick jump up.

Knocked out – A dog sleeps on its back with drooping limbs across the body, as if s/he were knocked out, as a result of overheating.

This is the best way to cool off. If both paws are wrapped across the chest, it is usually a “do not disturb” sign, after all, they need their beauty sleep too.

Superman position – Also known as the sprawled-out position. As the name suggests, a dog sleeps with her or his belly flopped down and paws stretched out on all four sides. This position allows for a dog to pop-up on their paws swiftly.

This position may suggest that the dog doesn’t want to miss a chance to be in action, even while napping. Very common for puppies who need to nap frequently.

Snuggling or Back-to-Back – Whether your pet sleeps with its back to another dog or snuggling with another dog or you, it means the same thing.

This position is often displayed when showing affection, trying to get close and trying to bond with you or another fur friend.



Once asleep, you can get an idea about the quality of sleep your pet has from her or his behaviour. Sleep is essential for healing and repairing of the body. The deepest stage of sleep-REM, as is known, is the most recuperative.

Look out for these signs to ensure your pet’s having the best sleep possible.

Gentle barks and twitching – During an REM sleep, when dogs are in the deepest sleep, you may see some twitching. This is when your pet is most restful. Your pet could be acting out a dream, simultaneously getting a nice, profound sleep.

Occasional tail wagging and soft barks are common features of deep sleep. It is best to let your pet sleep, as this stage is the most restorative and highly beneficial for healing the body.

Another reason for twitching, but less common, is when your pet is feeling cold. If that’s the case then cover your dog or shift to a warmer room.

Drowsy – This is a common sight among pets who are either bored during the day or want to get in a quick nap. It is not very restful, and your pet is perhaps just waiting for something more interesting to happen.

A good way to tell if your pupper’s bored is to observe the ears. Do they perk up to any unusual movement or sound? If yes, then it’s probably because your pet’s still fairly alert and is looking for some sort of entertainment. This is a good time to do something fun and interactive with your pet, such as going for a walk or playing a game of fetch.

Spinning and Digging – A very common behaviour with most dogs. It isn’t unusual to see a dog circling their sleeping area and occasionally digging at it before lying down. Inherited from their ancestors, the wolves, who would often flatten the grass and leaves to get comfortable, or dig a hole to keep them warm in the winters or warm in the summers.

However, if a dog is seen circling too much and is having trouble settling down, it could be a sign of arthritis, a neurological issue or pain. It is advisable to consult a vet to get to the bottom of it.

Seizure – Previously we discussed how dogs sometimes twitch while dreaming, however, if the twitching becomes intense, it could be a sign of a seizure that needs instant medical attention. In the event that this does happen, try calling out to your pet and waking them up if you think the movement is abnormal. If your pet responds, it’s possible it may have just been an intense dream.

If your pet doesn’t respond, or seems stiff or continues to shake aggressively, get medical help straight away.

Try and observe your pet’s usual sleeping habits so that you know when something out of the ordinary occurs. 

Amount of time spent sleeping

Everyone knows that dogs need about 12 to 14 hours a day to sleep. The bigger the dog, longer the naps. And puppies sleep anywhere between 18 and 19 hours a day, waking up for an hour every now and then.

If you notice a change in the number of hours your pet usually sleeps, there could be a few things contributing to it, such as a thyroid problem or a change in diet. It is advisable to consult your vet.

Have you noticed how much your pet sleeps? Whether s/he dreams a lot? What sleeping position is her or his favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

Now that you have some insight into your pupper’s sleeping positions, snuggle away you two!

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