Definitive Guide & Meaning to Dog Sleeping Positions

Ever known a dog to hide its feelings? Of course not, dogs are incredibly expressive creatures and this is one of the reasons why we love them so much. Just as there is meaning behind human sleeping positions, dogs have a lot to say as they snooze.    

A curled-up pooch denotes the dog feels cold or is still gauging trust in their environment

Dog Sleeping Positions 

Side Sleeper 

Side sleeping is one of the most common dog sleeping positions. It’s as natural to them as sniffing for treats. It’s comfortable for them to stretch their legs and sleeping on their side with an exposed neck demonstrates the trust they have in their owner. 

Curled Up 

A curled-up pooch denotes the dog feels cold or is still gauging trust in their environment. It’s a popular dog sleeping position for wild dogs as they can sleep all huddled up to keep warm and protect their vital organs 

Belly Up 

A sleeping dog that is belly up is 100% comfortable and trusting in its owner and environment. The dog feels happy, content, and relaxed. They also release heat through their paws so maybe feeling a bit hot. Dogs love to approach their owners in this position for some belly scratches.  

Back to Back

Dogs who sleep with their back to you or another pet is showing affection and love. It’s a snuggle position and shows they’re trusting and not shy about expressing it.  


In the superman position (or superdog position) your dog will be stretched out with their front legs extended in front and their back legs extended behind them as if flying through the air like a superdogy. Puppies and high-spirited dogs love sleeping in the superdog position but ready to pounce on their owner for a play at a second's notice.  


If your dog sleeps curled up under lots of blankets and pillows your dog feels a bit sensitive and maybe a little insecure. Just as humans crave comfort and security in fluffy blankets and comfy pillows, dogs are exactly the same. Tuck your dog in to make them feel safe and content. 

Sleeping Behaviors

Sleeping on Cold Tiles or Cold Floor

If the dog bed is empty and your pooch is sprawled belly down on the kitchen tiles, they are feeling hot and searching for a way to cool down. If legs extended in front and behind in the superdog position on a cold surface, top-up their water bowl with some cold water, they may be thirsty. 

Sleeping With Head Raised Above Their Body 

Your dog knows they are cute, when they are trying to get an extra treat from you they may rest their head on the arm of the couch or chair. If your dog sleep in this position more often than not, bring them for a checkup as dogs who sleep with their head raised above their neck may have breathing problems. Monitor their breathing, food intake, and activity levels if your dog sleeps like this.

Circling and Digging 

When your dog circles their bed and starts digging, they’re channeling their inner wolf and getting in touch with their animal instincts. A wild dog or wolf will flatten the earth with its paws to make a comfortable bed.        

Dogs dream just as much as humans and a tell-tail sign of rem sleep is twitches, tail wagging, small barks, and small kicks

Muscle Twitches, Tail Wagging, or Little Barks   

Dogs dream just as much as humans and a tell-tail sign of rem sleep twitches, tail wagging, small barks, and small kicks. Dreaming is a restorative phase of sleep and keeps humans and dogs healthy. Puppies and older dogs tend to twitch more but any dog may twitch due to feeling cold.     


Our furry friends experience boredom just like us and may flop down for a nap on occasion. They remain alert with ears perked to attention (just rustle their treat bag and see them come running). 


Snoring is common in dogs who are short-headed such as English bulldogs, Boston terriers, Shih-Tzus, and Himalayans. If your dog is snoring all of a sudden it could mean that they are sleeping in a position that is obstructing their airways.  

Signs of Anxiety  

If your dog is whining, moving a lot, and barking in their sleep they could be having a bad dream or nightmare. They may wake suddenly in fright and come searching for a comforting snuggle.   


If your dog twitching uncontrollably it could be having a seizure. Call the dog's name and ask them to perform a command, if they are not responsive, take them to the vet immediately.   

How Much Sleep do Dogs Need? 

An adult dog needs 12-14 hours of sleep every day. This includes napping during the day and sleeping at night. Your dog may need more or less depending on their activity levels, breed, age, and health.  

Puppies can sleep 18-20 hours a day. They don’t call it a dog’s life for nothing!

Why do Dogs Wag Their Tails?

A dog wags its tail to convey its emotions. Whether they are happy, anxious, feel excited, or submissive, a wagging tail can have many meanings. A relaxed tail typically means a relaxed dog. 

Do Dogs Dream?

Dogs dream and enter rem sleep just as humans do and go through many sleep cycles per night. Rapid Eye Movement has been observed in dogs while sleeping, denoting brain activity as they sleep. Research states that dog dream patterns are very similar to humans. When the area responsible for movement during sleep (pons) was disabled in test dogs, they moved around a lot more during sleep, which means they were acting out their dreams.   

What Is the Best Dog Bed?

Your dog's sleeping habits are not fancy. They don’t need an expensive bed, as long as they are warm and dry they could sleep on a pile of old coats. All dogs want is to be close to their loving owner, get some snuggles, and be fed and walked every day. As long as they have their own sleep space, their bed could be made out of an old mattress, pillows, old clothes, or couch filling. 


Your dog’s sleep patterns and sleeping behaviors will change throughout its lifetime. When your dog falls asleep with their paws in the air, they’re airing their sweat glands (which are in their paw pads). A common sleep position for dogs is on their side with their legs extended, this denotes the dog feels safe, secure, and happy.