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Does your dog like to sleep on their back? There’s a good reason why

Whether during playtime, mealtime, or naptime, our dogs keep us entertained. Even in their sleep, a pup’s sweet and silly antics are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. If you’ve ever seen your dog sleeping soundly while spread out on their back, you know what we’re talking about.

Unique sleeping positions can mean anything, from discomfort and pain to just getting comfy – so, why do dogs sleep on their backs? We’ve looked into this funny phenomenon to see what vets and canine behavior specialists had to say, and you’re going to love the answer. If your dog sleeps on their back, you should feel so special!

A dog lies upside down, close to the camera, with their tongue out

Why do dogs sleep on their backs?

Like any behavior, back-sleeping can stem from many causes. Some of these reasons are more subtle than others, but none are reasons to worry about your pet’s health or well-being. Generally speaking, when a dog sleeps on their back, it’s a good thing!

Cooling off

Remember, dogs regulate their body temperature through their paws and skin, so sleeping on their backs may be your buddy’s way of cooling off. Durango Animal Hospital’s Dr. Travis McDermott told Southern Living that having their paws and belly – where the fur is thinnest – in the air helps cool off these sensitive areas.

So, if you see your best bud chilling on a cool surface with their belly up, they may just be trying to chill for a bit.


This position is not one that has been observed in wolves or wild dogs, notes veterinarian Dr. Patty Khuly – at least, not while sleeping. This wouldn’t be a safe way to rest if there are predators out and about, after all. While awake, though, dogs rolling over to expose their stomach can be one way of expressing submission to another dog (or even to their human), and it’s not impossible to fall asleep in this position.

They feel safe

Whether or not this is the main reason for your pup’s back-sleeping, it’s safe to say that any dog who chooses this position for naps feels safe and secure where they are. Lying on their back is an incredibly vulnerable position, even for domestic dogs, says Dr. McDermott, so you can rest assured that your furry friend feels safe and secure at home when you see this.

Isn’t that great news? Whatever you’re doing as a pet parent, keep it up! Keeping our fur babies happy and healthy is the best feeling – make sure to enjoy it!


If your pup knows you’re nearby while they flip onto their back, it’s possible they’re asking for a belly rub before they doze off for the moment. For times like this, your pup may not seem as sleepy. They may be focused on you instead of their nap, which can be equally as adorable.

If you indulge your buddy with some scratches in moments like this, you may be reinforcing this behavior. It’s up to you whether or not that is a good thing, but it’s something to keep in mind.


Well – why do you sleep on your back? It’s comfy, right? Your dog likely feels the same way!

Whether you’re talking about your pup napping on their back, side, or stomach, there’s certainly a good chance they’re doing so just to be comfortable. This is especially likely if your four-legged friend is deep in sleep in this position – it’s a great sign! A comfy pup is a well-rested, happy pup, after all.

A fluffy white dog lies on their back on a deck outside with leaves around them

Why it’s great news that your dog sleeps on their back

There are virtually no negative reasons for a dog sleeping on their back, so you don’t have a reason to worry! Nor should you worry if your dog doesn’t sleep like this. Plenty of other resting positions are signs of a happy pet, too.

Not only does back-sleeping mean your pup is comfortable, but they’re feeling safe, too. You should give yourself a pat on the back for showing your best bud the love and security they rightfully deserve. You’re doing something right!

Now that you know what it means when a dog sleeps on their back, you can sit back and enjoy all of your goofy pup’s funny nap positions. You can smile and laugh at their silly postures with no guilt whatsoever – who doesn’t enjoy stretching out for a comfortable rest? Maybe you’ll even let it inspire you to get in on the coziness. Naptime, anyone?

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