Why Do Dogs Sleep Upside Down?

Dogs sleep in all sorts of positions and places in the house. But one thing you might find amusing is when they sleep upside down.

Why do dogs sleep on their back with their bellies exposed? Should this worry you?

Discover the possible reasons your dog sleeps upside down and find out whether you should be concerned about it or not.

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why dogs sleeep upside down

Why Dogs Sleep Upside Down

There’s a few reasons why your dog might be sleeping in an upside down position.

It’s Comfortable

Some dogs sleep upside down because they enjoy the feeling. It could be because they enjoy the feeling of the comforter against their back or because they want to extend their paws upward.

Other dogs sleep upside down because they are used to getting cuddles from us. Their desire to snuggle with their owners stems from a dog’s pack mentality. 

According to Northpark Animal Hospital, dogs assume that humans are the alpha or the leader of the pack, and they are the submissive ones. This is the key to a peaceful relationship and a happy home.

When you catch your dog sleeping upside down, they are comfortable with the snuggles they get because they are happy with you, their pack leader. 

It’s Hot

Dogs like to sleep upside down because it keeps them cool. These mammals cannot regulate their body temperature well compared to other animals, so they try to adjust their posture or position instead.

They expose the body part where their fur is the thinnest, which is their belly. It allows them to keep their whole body cool as their paws also exchange body heat.

Learn how to keep your dogs cool during the summer to avoid heat stroke and other summer-related diseases.

Some signs of heatstroke in dogs include dry and sticky gums, elevated breathing rates, lethargy, and disorientation. 

This condition can cause permanent damage to their organs and will require continuous treatment throughout their life.

So if you think this is the cause, then make sure you take the necessary steps to help them cool down.

They Feel Safe

You’ll never catch an insecure dog sleeping on their back. Even dogs’ wolf ancestors hated sleeping on their back because it made them vulnerable to predators.

But you should take it as a compliment when your dog sleeps on their back. It means they feel safe with you.

Your dog doesn’t fear any threat inside your house because they know you are protecting them. They see you as a reliable and trustworthy pack leader who won’t leave them in an emergency.

Do your best to maintain this sense of security so you and your dog will have a strong bond. The safer they feel with you, the more loyal they will be. 

They are Sick

Many senior dogs sleep on their backs because it relieves the tension on their joints. Dog arthritis is a degenerative condition that feels painful and stiff to your dog.

Some signs of canine arthritis include difficulty getting up, limping, irritability, and weight gain. It’s more common among heavy dogs whose legs experience too much pressure from carrying their body.

Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, and Dachshunds are more prone to arthritis. To keep weight off their paws they will extend them into the air during sleep. 

The easiest way to treat your dog’s arthritis is by improving their diet. Feeding them less and switching from commercial dog food to a natural diet can help them healthily lose weight. 

It can also reduce the inflammation in your dog’s body that is causing them pain.

Take your dog to the vet to rule out other medical conditions. They will recommend the best treatment for your dog’s particular health issues.  

Seeking Attention

Some dogs sleep upside down because they are asking for your attention. They pretend to sleep with their bellies up to ask for a belly rub or a simple “Aww.”

Puppies tend to be more attention-seeking because they are more dependent on you. Learn how much attention your puppy needs so you can give them what they need. 

Perhaps you have unintentionally rewarded your dog for sleeping on its back. They enjoyed the attention and so they started sleeping in this position regularly in an attempt to get more.

This behavior is expected since dogs always crave our attention. However, you can stop them from sleeping upside down if the attention-seeking behavior has become bothersome. 

You can stop them by simply ignoring the behavior or doing some obedience training. 

Should You Stop Your Dog From Sleeping Upside Down?

Do not stop your dog from sleeping upside down if it makes them feel safe and comfortable. 

This sleeping position is not a cause of concern since it does not affect your daily activities nor exhibit bad dog behavior.

There’s a chance your dog’s behavior is a good thing. It could mean they feel safe and comfortable in their environment and with their owner.

You should only be alarmed if you notice signs of health conditions associated with their sleeping position. 

For instance, you should check if your furry friend is experiencing arthritis, causing them to sleep that way. 

But that doesn’t mean you should stop your arthritic dog from sleeping upside down. Talk to your vet about preventing your dog’s arthritis from worsening to keep them more comfortable.

Other Dog Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

Superman Position

dog sleeping superman position

This is the opposite of your dog sleeping upside down. In this sleeping posture, your furry friend’s body is stretched on their stomach because they are relaxed and having a good night’s sleep.

Curled up in a Ball

dog sleeping curled

Does your dog look like they are hugging an invisible pillow or ball while sleeping? Dogs who tuck their body in, including their tail, want to feel protected. This position is common among dogs and wolves in the wild who want to stay safe from predators.

Sleeping on Their Side

dog sleeping on side

Dogs can also sleep on the left or right side of their body, depending on which side of the room they are more comfortable. If your dog faces their right, it means they think a threat is most likely to come from that side. 

Learn about all the other dog sleeping positions so you know how your dog feels while they are dozing off.

Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You?

The most common reason your dog sleeps with their bum facing you is they want to feel secure.

Dogs are pack animals who want to follow everyone around. Aside from wanting to be close to you wherever you go, they also want to sleep by your side.

As a result, they will lay their back against you to feel secure. It could signify mutual protection since they recognize you as a pack leader.

Learn the other reasons behind your dog sleeping with their bum facing you

Why Does My Dog Move From One Spot While Sleeping?

Your dog might move from one spot to another while sleeping because they want to move to a more comfortable environment.

Some go to a cooler place in hot surroundings, while others move to warmer spots during cold winter nights.

Make sure your dog has a stable sleeping spot in the house with the right temperature and lighting. 

Keep it as comfortable as possible to stop them from moving from one place to another every night.

Sometimes, dogs bring their bed with them while they are transferring. Learn more about why your dog moves their bed before sleeping.

Why Do Dogs Push Against You?

Dogs push against you because they feel safer when they lean on you. Dogs release happy hormones when their head and body lean on their owner. 

Some dogs push against you because they want you to move. Either they want you to move so they can stay in your spot or they are sensing a threat in your position. 

Other possible reasons include looking for attention or wanting to show affection. 

Some clues will let you know the actual reason behind this behavior. Find out why your dog pushes against you and whether you should stop the behavior or not.  

Why Do Dogs Rub Against You?

Dogs rub against you because they want to tell you something. They might be looking for food, playtime, or want to go out.

Some dogs rub against you to leave their scent on your body. This is normal territorial behavior that should not turn into aggression. 

A more serious cause behind your dog’s movement could be a skin problem. They rub their body on you and other surfaces because they feel itchy and want to relieve the irritation.

There are many other reasons behind this habit. Find out why your dog rubs against you to know if you need to do anything about it.

Let Your Dog Sleep in Their Favorite Position

Your dog sleeps upside down because they feel better in that position. It either cools their whole body down or gives them a sense of security. 

There’s no need to worry about your dog sleeping with their legs up unless they have arthritis or joint pain. 

Let your dog sleep this way to avoid further pain and discomfort, and ensure they are getting adequate medical treatment.

You might also notice your dog wanting to sleep on a pillow. Check out why your dog sleeps on the pillow with you and whether you should stop them or not.