Does Your Dog Have A Favourite Sleeping Position?
Dogs need up to 14 hours of sleep each day. Puppies need even more, often sleeping up to 19 hours a day.
So, what’s your dog’s favourite sleeping position? Or do they have a whole range of favourite positions? Chances are that your faithful pooch usually sleeps on their side, with legs extended. But dogs do have a sleep language, and it’s helpful to be aware of what each different sleeping position is communicating.
If your dog is asleep on their side with extended legs
This generally means they are relaxed and comfortable, and they’re expressing trust in you and their familiar surroundings. It’s often when they’re in this position that they seem to be running, twitching their legs in very deep sleep. (In Dog Heaven, actually!) This is them at their most restful, and the twitching, snuffles, grunts, and even little barks are signs that they are in deep sleep and being well replenished.
When your dog sleeps in a curled-up position
It’s probably to preserve body heat, if the ambient temperature is cool. What’s the room temperature like? They might need a blanket covering them for warmth and comfort. But it could also mean that they are not at ease. Best you assess the current situation, to see whether something is causing that sense of unease. If nothing obvious occurs to you, it might just be a bit of insecurity on their part. Give them some reassuring love.
If your dog is lying flat on their back, paws in the air
This position means that your dog is feeling very relaxed. When they expose their tummy like that – their most vulnerable area - our dogs are showing us that they are feeling very secure. Also, if they are feeling hot, this position is a good way of cooling down quite quickly.
If your dog likes to cuddle when they sleep
Like humans, animals like to “spoon”, with one’s back against the other’s belly. Your dog might even like doing that with you. If you’re the “Big Spoon” and they are the “Little Spoon” it’s because they’re looking for that sense of security, warmth, and loyalty that they trust you to provide.
If your pooch likes to burrow into blankets and bedding, this is likely hardwired into their DNA. For generations, wild dogs have slept in tightly packed dens for comfort and security.
Then there’s what they call the “Superman” position – lying on their tummy with their front and back paws stretched out in front of and behind them.
Dog’s will do this because it allows them to be up and springing into action at a moment’s notice. Puppies, who frequently need to nap, often sleep like this, as do high-energy pooches who love to be in the thick of things.
Perhaps your dog can just settle down and sleep anywhere, at any time.
This means that your dog is totally confident with you and its environment. They're probably quite active, and life is a gloriously random kaleidoscope of boisterous running, jumping, sniffing and chewing.
Dogs sleep often, and in short bursts during the day. If their ears are responding to external noise, it means that they’re just dozing, and not fully asleep. If their twitching seems to be more pronounced than normal, they might be having a bad dream. Talking to them softly, and stroking them gently can be calming and soothing.
All of this sleep vocabulary is just one facet of your dog’s body language. It's helpful to be aware of your dog’s usual sleeping habits so that you can easily identify changes in their habits that might signal a problem that needs to be investigated and could need attention from your vet.
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