Why Do Dogs Sleep on Their Backs? {All you Need to Know}

Why Do Dogs Sleep on Their Backs?

Dogs are excellent pets and a great addition to the family. These canine species are known to exhibit several characters, which often amaze their owners. Interestingly, one of such habits is sleeping on their back with their tummy and paws in the air. Dog owners have always been interested in knowing what this means and why do dogs sleep on their backs. Well, not to worry, as we have provided you with all the information that you need to know concerning your dog’s sleeping position, especially on its back.

Dogs sleep on their backs due to factors like comfort, security, affection, and cooling. Sleeping on their backs is one of the most comfortable positions for a dog in an environment they find secure and comfortable staying. It also helps the dog cool down better because dogs sweat through their paws, so this position helps them cool better.

When your dog sleeps on his back, several reasons lead to such action. An ideal explanation is that dogs sweat through their paws, and their belly is a source of heat; as such, dogs sleep on their back to cool off the heat.

why do dogs sleep on their backs

Factors that Make Dogs Sleep on their Backs

Again, a dog’s sleeping position passes a message concerning the dog’s behavior and its preferred sleeping pattern. That is why dog owners must pay close attention to their dog’s sleeping position.

Feeling of Security

When a dog sleeps on his back, it simply connotes that such a sleeping position is very comfortable, thereby leaving the dog to expose his most sensitive areas vulnerable, becoming difficult for them to get on their feet quickly.

Also, not to forget that such a sleeping position means that the dog trusts his owner totally and the environment he perceives as peaceful and less harmful. This is why for a puppy, you should let it sleep in any of these places, for maximum security.

It’s More Comfortable that other Sleeping Positions

Besides, Dogs who sleep on their back fonds this position comfortable and tend to move a bit during sleep when they’re very restful as they are getting a nice, deep sleep and enjoying the rest.

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Also, back sleeping dogs can completely relax their muscles and prevent them from putting any extra tension or pressure on their muscles and joints. Such a position boosts sleep and lets them sleep deeply without annoying any arthritic joints especially when they are on a good dog bed

Furthering our discussion on Why do Dogs Sleep on their backs? We will like to note that just as sleeping in a curly position conserves heat, sleeping with an exposed belly helps a dog cool off. The reason has been that the dog’s fur is thinner around the belly, and the paws hold the sweat glands; exposing these areas is an excellent way to beat the heat.

Behaviors of Dogs that Sleep on their Back

There is certain behavior that dogs sleeping on their backs exhibit. These are signs that dog owners often watch out for and tend to be concerned or worried because they have no idea about what such behaviors connote.

When dogs sleep on their back, they tend to exhibit actions such as twitching, tail wagging, leg kicks, as well as occasional barks or grunts. You don’t have to worry as these are common behaviors. You don’t have to disturb or wake up your dog when it is in this state; rather, this is a good time to let your sleeping dog lie; the reason being that this stage of sleep is important and very restorative and good for their health.

Also, dogs, puppies, and adults who sleep on their backs tend to exhibit movement during sleep more frequently.

The personality of Dogs that Sleep on their Back

As earlier discussed, when your dog sleeps on his back, it does not mean a bad thing, but it is an enjoyable sleeping position in most dogs, both puppy, and adult.

In fact, dogs that sleep on their backs are believed to be “loving” and “trusting.” More so, such dogs are comfortable with their environment and can lay down anywhere.

How Long Do Dogs Sleep on their backs?

Dog’s sleeping time varies, and it is based on the dog’s age, activity level, personality, or the condition they are subjected to. Nonetheless, typically, adult dogs tend to sleep for about 14 hours a day. In fact, dogs are more likely to sleep more on days they have been most active.”

On the other hand, puppies require significantly more sleep and can sleep up to 20 hours daily.

More so, adult dogs are likely to have longer naps than puppies because of their activeness. At the same time, puppies require about 18 to 19 hours of sleep daily.

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Is it bad for dogs to lie on their backs?

It’s nothing for dogs to lie on their backs. Dogs that lie on their backs are friendly to everyone. When a dog sleeps on its back, it shows a sign of trust. Dogs spend a lot of time on their backs, and that is healthy and super friendly to everyone.

Sleeping with his back to the ground could mean many things, but on prevalent reason is that it could be a sign of submission. When a dog does this, you notice that it exposes its throat and vital organs to attack? It could be saying, “See? I’m not a threat to you, so you have no reason to hurt me.”

Also, laying on its back is a common sleeping position— for most dog breeds- prevalent among German Shepherds, Lhasa Apsos, etc. It is also widespread amongst sighthounds that it even has a name “The Cockroach Position” this is whenever they do this, they always look like a dead cockroach.

Alternatively, laying on its back could also mean that it’s looking for a tummy rub.- Do not hesitate to give them one whenever they ask.

On the flip side, laying directly on their back is a particularly vulnerable position as its abdominal organs such as the lungs and heart are not protected. Such a sleeping position does not give their body any protection and leaves them exposed and vulnerable to threats.

Other Common Dog Sleeping Position

Having discussed the back sleeping position extensively, we also deemed it necessary to include another dog sleeping position to broaden your knowledge further. Other dogs sleeping position includes

  1. Side sleeping position
  2. Cuddle position
  3. Curly position
  4. Burrowing position
  5. Head on paw position
  6. Back-to-Back position
  7. Lying Belly Down position
  8. Head and Neck Raised position

#1. Side sleeping Position

Side sleeping position is a common sleeping pattern in most dogs and is perceived as a normal sleeping mode. Your dog maintained a side sleeping position when it lay on his side with all legs (hind and fore) extended.

It means your dog is in a state of rest, comfortable, relaxed, and safe. Side sleeping dogs are loyal and trusting.

#2. Cuddle Position

The cuddle position refers to dogs who sleep on top of their owner or other dogs. Cuddler’s sleeping position shows that your dog is loving, caring, and bonding. Such dogs are seen to be affectionate and loving.

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#3. Curly Position

Your dog is described to sleep in a curly position when it curls up in a round shape, or ball format with all its legs (fore and hind) tuck inward closed to the body and the back is in a curly shape. It means your dog is trying to protect himself and also preserve body heat.

It is common for dogs that are just brought home to sleep in such a position as a sign of protection and anxiety. But tend to loose up overtime and exhibit other sleeping positions.

#4. Burrowing Position

Burrowing position is so-called when dogs love to sleep under pillows, blankets, or a pile of clothes. Dogs tend to sleep in this position mostly for comfortability and or security. Dogs that sleep in the burrowing position are perceived to need lots of attention and affection to enable them to fall asleep.

#5. Head on Paw Position

Your dog is said to sleep in the lion’s pose when it sleeps with his head resting on top of his paws. Such dogs may not be fully asleep and can wake up and join a play if invited. Such a sleeping position also connotes protection and devotion on the part of the dog.

#6. Back-to-Back Position

The back-to-Back sleeping position is similar to the cuddler sleeping position. Dogs that like to sleep back-to-back like to cuddle up and get really close as possible to their owner or other animals by placing their back really close. Back-to-Back Position us a pure sign of love and comfort.


How does your dog sleep? Does your dog sleep on his back? Whatever your answer is. Understanding your dog’s sleeping positions will help your dog get a better night’s sleep. However, you must know that your dog’s comfort equals healthier and deeper sleep. Whatever dog sleep position your dog prefers, all that is important is to ensure his sleeping accommodations are safe and comfortable.

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