Have you noticed your dog staring at you as you do your everyday chores? Adorable, isn’t it? But what if your dog stares at you while they are lying down?
Is this a problem? Do you need to be worried about it? Why does your dog stare at you while lying down?
Your dog may be staring at you while lying down because it is hurt or sick and needs your help. So it is a good idea to check for signs of illness or pain. They could also be staring at you out of affection or trying to get your attention.
As your dog depends on you for almost everything from food to love and care, they need to communicate with you as best they can.
However, as they can’t talk, they have to use other methods of communication such as barking, growling, body language, and eye contact.
Let’s examine why your dog might be staring at you and what you should do about it.
What Does it Mean When My Dog Stares at Me While Lying Down?
If your pup is not its usual energetic self and stares at you, it might mean something is bothering it. A lethargic dog that stares at you might want to communicate physical distress and needs you to do something about it.
Or, if your dog seems healthy and happy, they are most likely staring at you either out of affection or as a way of catching your attention so that you will give them some pets, playtime, or snacks.
What to do When Your Dog Stares?
If your dog shows no signs of pain, stress, or injury, you don’t need to worry about them staring at you, whether lying down or not.
However, if your dog seems to be sick, in pain, lethargic or anxious, you need to investigate further and figure out what is wrong.
If nothing obvious is causing the distress, the best strategy is to pay your vet a visit with the dog. Your vet is the best person to ascertain whether there is anything seriously wrong with them.
If you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this website has helpful resources for charities to help you pay your bills. (If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country).
Can the Staring Be a Sign of Cognitive Decline?
Dogs are susceptible to cognitive decline just like humans. As your dog ages, you might see a decrease in their mental activity levels, responsiveness, and alertness.
If you observe your dog gazing at you for no apparent reason, possibly lying down while doing so, it might be a sign of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).
Younger dogs are much less likely to be affected by CDS than older dogs. While a blank, glassy-eyed stare can be an early sign of CDS, there are other signs that you should also try to observe.
Some of the most common symptoms that could indicate your dog is experiencing some cognitive loss can include:
- A decline in perception.
- Gait disturbances.
- Altered interactions with owners and other pets.
- Sleep-wake cycle disturbances.
If you observe any such behavior changes in your dog and a blank stare while lying down, it might be the time to get your dog checked by a vet, the earlier you can get this diagnosed, the better.
Can Sudden Changes in Weather Cause Your Dog to Stare?
Environmental stressors such as unusually hot or cold weather can also make your dog stare at you while lying down.
Your dog’s mood can be affected by a change in climate and weather, but to some extent, this depends on the breed. For instance, french bulldogs and pugs tend to decrease their activity during summer.
Your dog might be less energetic and want your attention due to not being very comfortable in hot or cold conditions.
As a responsible dog owner, it is important to monitor any sudden changes in your dog’s behavior closely. If you think there has been a sudden shift in your dog’s behavior, it is best to consult your vet to see what could be causing the change.
Other Reasons for Your Dog Staring at You
Apart from conveying distress and discomfort, your dog can say much more with a gaze. Here are a few possible reasons why your dog might be staring at you.
1. Showing Affection
Is your dog staring at you with loving eyes? It might mean that your dog is expressing how much it loves and adores you!
According to a study, mutual gazing releases oxytocin hormone in both canines and humans.
The hormone oxytocin is often called the ‘trust hormone’ as it increases the mutual trust and bonding between the canine and the human.
That said, don’t try to force your dog to stare at you by holding its head. Dogs might perceive this action as threatening and might retaliate accordingly.
2. Showing Confusion
If your dog looks at you with a tilted head and pricked ears, it might signify that it is confused about what is happening or what they are being told to do. In most cases, dogs use this stare to communicate that they don’t understand your command.
3. Begging for Food
Another common reason for staring is that your dog is hungry and wants some of your delicious food. When your dog is hungry, it will usually sit next to you and stare at you, asking for food.
You will notice this behavior when you eat something, and your dog wants you to share the food. However, it is best to avoid falling for the temptation of giving them food when they beg, as it can reinforce a bad habit that can be difficult to break.
4. Exhibiting Stress and Tension
If your dog is stressed and needs to be left alone, it may stare at you intensely, expressing its current mood.
If your dog is showing this type of stare, it is best to give the dog some space and let them chill out.
While we are on this topic, you might also enjoy this video. It shares more reasons why your dog might stare at you:
How to Determine Why Your Dog is Staring at You
The best way to discover the reason behind the stare is by paying attention to the contextual cues. When does the gaze happen? What makes it go away? How often does it happen?
All these questions are important. If you pay attention, you can hopefully figure out the reason behind your dog’s stare.
It is important to remember that every dog has its own personality and differences in how they communicate. So, there is no universal way to interpret the stare of a dog.
Paying attention to body language and learning from past behavior will help decipher what that gaze means.
However, if the staring has only started to happen more recently and is not part of your dog’s usual behavior, you may want to contact your vet to ensure there is nothing wrong with them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it normal for my dog to stare at me when it goes to the bathroom?
When your dog empties its bowels, it is at its most vulnerable position. When your dog stares at you while defecating, it is trying to ask you to watch its back and offer protection if the need arises.
Should I stare back at my dog when it is staring at me?
It depends on your dog and your bond with the animal. If your dog is comfortable with you, staring at your dog might induce the release of hormones that can build trust.
However, if your dog is timid and has had trust issues with humans in the past, it is better to avoid staring until it gets used to you.
Why does my dog look away from me when I stare?
Many dogs consider starting as an act of aggression. So, when you stare at them, they turn their heads, showing that they don’t want any conflict.
It is a way to diffuse the situation and calm things down.
Final Notes On Your Dog Staring at You While Lying Down
Dogs stare at their owners when lying down for several reasons, they can be trying to gain attention, they may be sick or injured, or they may just be expressing loving affection.