Experts suggest that observing your dog’s sleeping position is the best way to learn about their behavior. Like humans, dogs have adapted to different sleeping positions.
Healthy adult dogs spend an average of 12 to 14 hours per day sleeping. Pups and senior dogs may require even more sleep on average.
Animal experts have discovered that dogs’ sleeping positions can indicate certain health or personality-related characteristics. Sleeping habits can give clues about a dog’s health and underlying medical conditions.
Here is the list of ten most common dog sleeping positions you'd need to know about.
The Side Sleeper
Sleeping on either side is one of the most common ways of sleeping habits in both humans and animals. Most dogs love to sleep on their side. Lying on their side with their legs extended is one of the most common sleeping positions for dogs.
Sleeping on the side may indicate that they feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. Many older dogs suffering from stiff joints may prefer sleeping on their sides.
Many dogs do 'sleep running' and twitching while sleeping in this position as their paws are loose and free.
The Lion's Pose
The lion's pose isn't a common sleeping position in dogs. Most dogs sleep in a lion's position when they're ready to wake up and prance on something at a moment's notice.
The position resembles the sphinx or a sitting lion. Lion's pose sleepers are protective and devoted.
According to Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ,
"Dogs will often start out in this position if they feel like they will need to jump on quickly."
The Superman position resembles the strong replica of the flying Superman. It is when your dog lays sprawled out on the ground with their belly pressed to the floor, the back legs behind them and front legs stretched forward like they're about to take off.
This position may tell that they're probably tired but ready to play if the opportunity arises. It also tells that they’re feeling warmer. Dogs often lie like this when the floor is relatively cooler than the air around.
It’s the position of choice for high-energy pups or pups that get sleepy during play and just want to plop down where they’re standing.
The Donut position is when your dog sleeps curled up in the shape of a ball with all of their limbs tucked close to their body.
They often sleep in the Donut position to make themselves as small as possible, and it also helps them regulate body temperature.
Many four-legged animals in the wild prefer sleeping in the Donut position to ward off cold. It also makes them feel less vulnerable.
When a group of dogs is sleeping together, they'll prefer the Cuddler position to help retain body heat and snuggle into each other’s fur.
Dr. Stanley Coren, Univesity of British Columbia suggests that,
“The tendency that many dogs have to cuddle when they sleep is a holdover from when they were puppies. Again, this has to do with temperature, since puppies have difficulty regulating their body heat.”
This sleeping position may well continue when they're adults. They'll prefer cuddling with other animals or humans while sleeping.
Most dogs will sleep burrowed under the pillow, clothes, or blanket to find comfort and security. It could also be to protect them from the cold.
Most dog experts opine that dogs sleep in the burrower position when they're searching for comfort and security.
If you notice them continuously burrowing under piles of clothes and blankets to sleep, you should know that they are either scared or feeling unsafe. You can tuck them with you for a few days.
The Belly Up
You must have noticed your dog taking a nap lying on its back with arms open in the air and exposed belly. Most dogs do this to cool off. Since the fur is thinner around the belly, exposing these areas is a great way to beat the heat.
This also means that they're carefree and trust you while they sleep. Many dogs in old age avoid this practice of taking a nap because of arthritis.
As uncomfortable as this position may look, this is a sign of true comfort and relaxation in dogs.
Back to Back
When more than one pet is sleeping together, they'll often sleep back to back. This is the sign of showing affection, trust, and a sense of intimacy.
They often sleep in this position with other animals and humans with whom they feel safest.
This is also a position to watch each other back when you're out in the wild.
Circling and Digging
Many four-legged animals in the wild tend to circle their sleeping area or even dig a bit before lying down. This behavior may have to come in dogs from their wolf ancestors who would often trample down grass and leaves and dig a hole to sleep comfortably.
You would often see your dog circling the couch or cushion before lying down to check if the sleeping area is safe.
Head and Neck Raised
Many dogs sleep in a position with their head and neck raised on a cushion or pillow.
Although this is rare, it may tell that your dog could be having breathing issues -something commonly seen with chronic heart disease and other health problems.
You should keep an eye out for any worrying signs or symptoms in your dog such as a faster breathing rate, noisy breathing, etc.
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Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale to learn more about dog behavior, signs and symptoms of an underlying illness, and preventive measures.