Have you ever asked yourself why does my dog fall asleep on me?
Maybe they have their own bed but prefer sleeping with you in your bed?
Why is this?
Why Does My Dog Sleep on Me?
Your dog sleeps on you because they enjoy your companionship, safety, and body heat.
They also might do this to protect you while you sleep. Domestic dogs are very social animals, so co-sleeping is often a natural instinct.
This article will explain everything you need to know about your dog’s sleeping habits and how to train them out of sleeping on you if you don’t like it.
1. Dogs Like to Be Close to Their Owners as They Sleep
One of the most straightforward explanations for your dog’s close sleeping habits is that they seek your companionship and want to be close to you.
If your dog sleeps on you at night, they might just like to be close to you.
This is similar to how we have the natural instinct to cuddle with our parents as children.
Domestic dogs are descended from ancient wolves.
As such, they are pack animals.
This means our dogs consider us a part of their pack, just as we consider them a part of our family.
So, your dog may be reverting to its natural wolf instincts when they decide to sleep on you. In the wild, wolves often sleep close together for warmth and protection.
So next time your dog sleeps on you, take comfort in knowing that it is probably because they love being close to you, and after all, isn’t this one of the reasons why you have a pet dog?
NOTE – You might also be interested in this post about why dogs get hiccups when they are asleep.
2. Sleeping With You Soothes the Dog’s Anxiety
If your dog sleeps on you, another explanation for this behavior could be that it helps soothe their anxiety.
Separation anxiety is not uncommon in domestic dogs.
Being as close to you as possible is the opposite of separation, so they might feel less anxious when they sleep right on top of you.
They also might sleep close to you because you make them feel safe, similar to how young children co-sleep with their parents.
If they see you as their parental figure, they may see you as a source of comfort and protection, which can help soothe their fears.
Before we go any further, this video has some more reasons why your dog may like sleeping close to you:
NOTE – You might enjoy reading this post looking at why dogs rub against you like a cat does.
3. Your Body Heat Is Comfortable When the Dog Sleeps
Another reason why your dog sleeps on you might be because your body heat is comfortable for them.
Being close to you and feeling your warmth can help regulate their body temperature when they feel cold.
For example, if your dog gets especially cold at night, sleeping on you might give them the heat they need.
This is another reason pack animals sleep very close to each other.
Sleeping close is an excellent way to maintain a healthy body temperature and stay warm throughout the night.
NOTE – You might also like to read this post looking at why dogs curl up when they sleep.
4. Your Dog Wants To Protect You When You Are Asleep
If your dog sleeps close to you at night, this could also mean that they feel protective of you and want to keep you safe.
Most pet dogs are very loyal to their owners and naturally feel very protective of them.
These protective urges are usually related to survival instincts and their bond to you as an important pack member.
So, when your dog sleeps on top of you at night, this could be their way of making sure you’re protected from danger.
Related Post: Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much on Rainy Days?
Should You Let Your Dog Sleep With You?
You should let your dog sleep with you if both you and your dog seem to be benefiting from it.
Sleeping with a dog is a great way for a dog to feel comfortable and safe, and more often than not, dog owners think the same way.
As previously mentioned, sleeping with their pack is natural for a dog.
Letting your pet pooch sleep close to you can actually be beneficial to both you and your dog.
However, it’s also important to trust your judgment.
You should give your dog the choice of not sleeping on your bed, and if you don’t sleep as well with the dog lying on you, you should stop it.
But as long as co-sleeping with your dog works for you and the dog, it’s perfectly fine to let your dog sleep in your bed.
Related Post: Are Dogs Light Sleepers?
What Are the Potential Downsides of Your Dog Sleeping On You?
Here are some potential downsides to allowing your dog to sleep on you:
- Disrupted sleep – Dogs can wake you up by moving around, snoring, nudging you, or taking over your space in the bed. This can impair the quality of your sleep.
- Lack of space – Large or sprawling dogs may not leave enough room for you in the bed, making it an uncomfortable nights sleep.
- Overheating – A dog’s body heat can cause you to get too hot throughout the night if they are snuggled up against you or on top of you.
- Fur and dirt in bed – Dogs can track in dirt and shed fur that ends up all over your bedsheets. This can be annoying to clean up.
- Accidents – Some dogs, especially young puppies, may occasionally urinate or defecate on the bed at night. This can ruin bedding.
- Aggravating injuries or pain – The weight and movements of the dog may irritate existing joint, back, or muscle pains making it harder to sleep.
- Excess dependence – If allowed to co-sleep too much, dogs can become overly attached and anxious whenever you don’t let them sleep on the bed.
- Relationship conflicts – Disagreements can arise between partners if one person likes co-sleeping with the dog and the other doesn’t.
So while co-sleeping can benefit dogs, owners should weigh the pros and cons to decide what works best for their situation and sleep habits.
Related Post: Dog Running in Sleep?
How to Stop Your Dog Sleeping On You
Here are some things you can do to get your dog to stop sleeping on you:
- Give them a designated blanket at the end of the bed.
- Give them a comfortable dog bed next to your bed.
- Try crate training.
Let’s discuss each of these solutions in greater detail.
1. Give Them a Designated Blanket at the End of the Bed
Giving your dog a designated blanket is an excellent way to gently train them away from sleeping on you, especially if you still want them to sleep on your bed without compromising your space too much.
Try getting them to use this blanket throughout the day.
Then, after a few days of letting them get accustomed to this blanket, your dog will consider it theirs.
Then when you go to bed, encourage them to lie on the blanket, reward them with a treat or some praise and then see if they will sleep on it.
2. Give Them a Comfortable Dog Bed Next to Your Bed
Putting a nice comfy dog bed next to your bed can train them out of the habit of sleeping on you.
You might have to train them to sleep in it.
Each time they get on your bed, say “No” and lead them back to theirs.
Give them lots of praise, and then see if they will fall asleep there.
3. Try Crate Training
If your dog insists on sleeping in your bed, you might have to consider using a crate to contain them.
You can keep the crate in your bedroom, so they are still very close to you, but they are also locked inside, so they can’t jump onto your bed and disturb your sleep.
Some dog owners don’t like the idea of using a crate for their dog to sleep in, but as long as you take care during the training process, dog crates are not cruel, and many dogs enjoy having their own little den to sleep in.
This video has some excellent tips on how to crate train your dog (and also features an adorable young puppy):
Related Post: Why Do Dogs Wake Up So Easily?
Final Thoughts On Why Your Dog Likes to Sleep On You
Dogs are social and pack animals, so it’s no surprise they want to sleep on you.
This behavior can be explained by their natural instincts to stay close to the members of their pack.
There is no harm in this; however, if you find it disturbs your sleep too much, there are ways you can stop it, such as giving them a bed to sleep in or using a crate to contain them.
Thanks for reading this post looking at the question – why does my dog sleep on me?
I hope you found the answers you were looking for.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!