dog bum facing you

The Truth About Why Dogs Sleep On Their Back (And Something Their Bum Towards You)

As a dog owner, you’ve likely noticed that your furry friend is prone to sleeping on his back. You may have even caught your doggy in the act once or twice and wondered why he does that. Is it because he feels uncomfortable? Or maybe he is trying to tell you something? It may seem strange at first, but there are explanations behind this behaviour.

Why Do Dogs Sleep On Their Backs?

An adorably cute puppy lounges coquettishly on a bean bag
An adorably cute puppy lounges coquettishly on a bean bag (Random Person – Unsplash)

Well, the first and most obvious reason is that it is more comfortable for them, but when they sleep on their bellies, they can keep themselves warm. Dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia, other illnesses or injuries, that cause them to have difficulty lying on their bellies, often sleep on their backs.

Note that when dogs sleep on their bellies, they release certain hormones that help them relax and fall asleep faster. This could explain why your dog might prefer to sleep on their belly and not their back. It really depends on your furry-friend and its mindset at the moment.

Stress And Anxiety Can Cause That Behaviour

Stress and anxiety can cause your dog to feel uncomfortable and out of control in certain situations.

Because of this, they may find a sense of control and comfort when they sleep with their rear end facing you. This can be particularly true when you are sleeping in the same bed as your dog.

sad aussie Pomeranian dog
Stressed aussie Pomeranian dog (Marty O’Neill – Unsplash)

If you have a very anxious or highly-strung dog, it is possible that he or she is trying to sleep with their bum towards you to calm down. If you notice that your dog does that more frequently and that it started to cry or whine at night, consider visiting a vet for help with reducing their stress and anxiety.

A Chronic Pain Condition Or A Limb Injury Too

If your dog is suffering from a chronic pain condition or has a limb injury, they may prefer to sleep with their rear end facing you because it is easier for them. Dogs with such conditions know that they can’t support their entire body weight on that limb, hence they change their sleeping position.

To help them, you might want to provide your dog with a softer bed or pillow to help ease its pain and discomfort.

So, Is This Normal For Dogs To Sleep On Their Backs?

It depends. If your dog looks fine, nothing to worry about. However, If you see your four-legged friend sleeping this way, and you notice that their breathing is heavily laboured, or they are unable to fully stretch their legs out, you should seek medical attention.

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Claire Howell

Claire Howell

Claire Howell is a Knoxville-based veterinarian who loves nature and all types of animals, from dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and rabbits. She graduated from a vet diploma in 2013 and has been working as a vet since. Claire lives with her husband and two children - both of whom are also animal lovers!

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