You may wake in the middle of the night with a leg, arm or other that has fallen asleep under the weight of your dog and asked yourself why does my dog sleep on top of me? After all isn’t it enough that I share my bed with my furry friend?
Sleep is important for numerous reasons for your and your dog and when you each are not getting what you need as a result of disruptions it not only affects your day but could lead to health issues or be caused by health issues. Read on to learn more.
Why my dog sleeps on top of me?
Dogs may sleep on top of you for several reasons, including to gain body heat, be closer in proximity to you, as a sign of affection, due to separation anxiety or other anxiety, a protective instinct or because your bed is simply way more cozy than their own bed. You may also be inadvertently giving your dog positive reinforcement when your dog sleeps on you which encourages the behavior. Dogs are also pack animals and instinctively want to be closer to their pack. When you allow a dog in your bed many dogs will instinctively want to be as close to you as possible.
Why is matters why our canine friends sleep on you
You may not mind your dog sleeping on you unless you have a very large dog which may make it less tenable than smaller dogs or it is interfering with your deep sleep, which is likely.
However, even with a small dog is is important to consider if your canine companion has an issue that should be addressed as the reason he is sleeping on top of you at night.
Dog owners need their sleep like anyone else for the benefit of their other family members and their dog. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleep follows a specific pattern of alternating REM sleep (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep throughout the night.
Deep sleep is also known as slow-wave sleep, is the deepest and most restorative sleep you’ll experience during the night.
Deep Sleep is crucial and the best way for refreshing your mind and body for the next day. If by your dog sleeping on you it is affecting your sleep, then it is crucial for pet owners to determine common reasons and how to address the main reasons to get the best sleep possible.
Many professional dog trainers also argue that having a dog in your bed and sleeping on you affects the delicate balance of power between you and your dog and you as the leader of the pack.
Reasons Your Dog May Sleep on Top of You
1) You Dog May Sleep on You to Seek Attention.
As we go back to work or spend time from home your dog may be lonely. Night time may be the time where he reconnects with you and sleeping on top of you is the way to do that.
If you can find time for your best friend during the day then he may not feel the need to get so close to you at night and give your vital organs a break from the weight!
2) Your Dog May Sleep On You Because You Provided Positive Reinforcement for Your Dog.
You may be inadvertently providing your dog with positive reinforcement when your dog lays on you. As he lays on you you may be giving him extra kisses and snuggles due to his proximity which, as a true love bug, he may read as positive reinforcement.
3) Your Dog May Sleep On You Because Your Dog Feels Safer.
My sisters dog always sits behind her head whether in bed or in a chair, this position clearly makes him feel safer and gives him a great view, similarly your dog may feel safe on top of you in a position to ward of intruders or other potential dangers, especially when they face the door. He may be taking his job as protector of you very seriously.
4) Your Dog May Sleep On You Because Your Dog is Exceptionally Affectionate.
Certain dog breeds and types are just more affectionate than others and sleeping on you will allow for our canine companions to get some more love and affection. Great Danes, seemingly too large to lay on you, are particularly affectionate something I know from experience.
My Great Dane, Alice loved to sleep on me a lot of time and would get worse when there was any new dog at the house.
5) Your Dog May Sleep On You Because Your Dog May Have Separation Anxiety.
I feel like separation anxiety is becoming more prevalent or perhaps we are simply recognizing it more. Either way a dog with separation anxiety may sleep on you as it will be comforting and ease may their anxiety.
6) Your Dog May Sleep On You Because Your Dog is Trying to Communicate a Need or Desire.
When 6:00 am strikes my pup who may have not been sleeping on me in the first place always lies on me and gives me a big lick. If I do not wake immediately he may go back to sleep on me but normally he is trying to tell me something, typically he needs to go out and pee.
7) Your Dog May Sleep On You Because You Dog May Have Health Problems.
Certain Senior dogs may also be suffering from a bit of dementia which may be a common cause of night time waking and pacing for older dogs. Sleeping on you at night may provide comfort for your dog if he is getting restless at night.
8) Your Dog May Sleep On You Because Your Dog is Cold.
The current recommendation for people is to sleep in a cold environment and if you are like many the fresh air of an open window is welcome and benefits your sleep. But at the same time a cold night can be difficult for many short coated dogs as they may get cold. As they get cold they will try to use your body temperature to warm them up and they will do this by sleeping on top of you.
Top Tips for Getting Your Dog to Sleep Somewhere Other Than On Top Of You
If you are a dog parent that needs your sleep and wants to get your dog to sleep some where other than you try some of these tips to adjust your dog’s sleeping habits. It does not mean you love him any less but you both need some deep sleep!
1) Comfortable Dog Bed.
Every dog wants a comfortable quiet place to unwind and relax. If you have a dog with anxiety or dementia (Check out our article on Senior Dogs getting restless at night) that comfortable place may need to be very close to you but a cozy place that your dog will enjoy is a must.
2) Provide Positive reinforcement train to lie somewhere else.
As your dog moves off of you and preferable onto their cozy bed reward them. This will take several repetitions but every night when my pets get into their bed I make sure that they get a treat and some (Calm CBD Spray so they will relax)
3) Try Relaxing Aids.
For the first while it may be difficult for your dog to adjust his sleeping habits. His quality of sleep may be affected in direct proportion to yours improving. This is where a simple calming aid like Calm, chicken flavored CBD spay may help. The calming spray will allow them to settle in and get comfortable and relaxed. Once their own bed becomes a regular habit you may not have a need but a spray like Calm CBD from hemp spray will be valuable through any period of adjustment at the least.
4) Reduce Anxiety and Discomfort in Other Ways.
Ensure that health problems and discomfort is reduced so that your pet can settle in to a good night’s sleep. A comfortable bed, a walk and a pee will remove potential disruptions.
If your dog is suffering from pain or inflammation Relieve Plus CBD spray may also support a good nights sleep off of you.
Conclusion. As sleep is a staple in our lives ensure that you are getting the best sleep and set your dog up with a comfortable space where he can get a good nights sleep as well.