The positions dogs sleep in, the way they twitch or move, and the amount of time they spend napping can reveal a lot about how they’re feeling.
Sleeping habits can give clues about a dog’s health and happiness that you can interpret if you know what to look for.
On the side
A dog who sleeps on their side has to feel pretty safe and comfortable, as it leaves the vital organs exposed.
Dogs who favor this position tend to be pretty easy-going and relaxed, though they may switch to a different position if they are sleeping somewhere new or around someone they aren’t familiar with.
This position also leaves their limbs free to move during sleep, so you may see more twitching and leg kicks from a dog lying on their side.
A very common position dogs take when sleeping is to curl up in a ball, nose-to-tail. It’s a common position for animals to take in the wild, too, as it protects the vital organs, helps conserve warmth, and makes it easy to get up quickly.
This position restricts movement during sleep, so you may see less twitching from a dog who snoozes in a ball.
You might think that a dog that sleeps in this position would be uncomfortable in their surroundings, and while that may be the case, it’s not necessarily true. It’s a common position in fall and winter months when the weather is cool, or it may just simply feel better for a particular dog to sleep in that position.
Sprawled out on the tummy
You often see this position with puppies who need to nap frequently, but also want to be ready to jump up and play at a moment’s notice.
Dogs who sleep in this position don’t want to miss a chance to be in the action, even while they’re napping. It’s the position of choice for high-energy pups or pups who get sleepy during play and just want to plop down where they’re standing.
On the back
In the same way curling in a ball conserves heat, sleeping with an exposed belly helps a dog cool off. Since the fur is thinner around the belly and the paws hold the sweat glands, exposing these areas is a great way to beat the heat.
It’s also a position that indicates a dog is very comfortable, leaving their most sensitive areas vulnerable and making it hard to get on their feet quickly.
A pup who’s sleeping in this position most likely doesn’t have a care in the world. It’s common in summer months.
Back to back
You may catch your dog sleeping back-to-back with your other pets or snuggling up to you, and it means the same thing. Your dog is bonding and showing that they want to get close to you.
A dog sleeping this way feels very loving and affectionate, and they’re completely comfortable with whoever they’re napping with.