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Why Does My Dog Sleep on His Back?

Why Does My Dog Sleep on His Back?

Have you ever seen your dog sleep on his back? It’s called the "quirky canine contortionist" pose, and this is what it looks like.

There are many possible reasons for why your dog might sleep in this position.

The most common reason is that it’s uncomfortable to sleep on their stomachs due to health conditions or weight gain.

Dogs also might be sleeping on their backs because they are anxious or stressed about something in their environment.

Whatever the reason, if your dog sleeps in this position every once in a while, there isn't anything to worry about.

If you feel like your pet's behavior has changed recently, make sure to consult with a veterinarian.

Here are some reasons why your dog might like sleeping this way:

Why does my dog sleep on his back?


A dog's spine, like ours, is basically a series of curves. Most of us have been sitting in a chair for long periods of time in which we started to notice certain strains on our spines.

If you're looking at your dog and his spine, it probably isn't as pronounced, but if he’s got all sorts of knots and pains on his spine, this might be a sign of muscle tension.

Like humans, if your dog is too tense on his spine, it can cause spinal instability. The extra strain puts more pressure on the spine, which can cause him some issues.


While the mechanics of dogs' spinal mechanics might be similar to ours, their weight isn't.

A big dog tends to have a longer, more rounded spine, with shorter, more angular legs.

Reasons why your dog might sleep on his back?

Problems with breathing:

Some dogs will sleep on their backs due to breathing issues.

For example, dogs who are overweight may have difficulty breathing when lying on their sides.

Some of these pets also might prefer to sleep on their sides because they think they are being lazy.

Permanent curvature of the spine:

The way your dog sleeps on his back is called curvature of the spine. This occurs because the spine bends at the thoracic vertebrae.

The thoracic vertebrae are the ones in the spine that hold up the backbone.

When a dog sleeps on his back, this spinal curve can cause spinal issues.

Many dogs who sleep on their backs have this "correction" surgery to prevent this condition from worsening.

Is it bad if dogs sleep on their back?

If your dog loves to sleep on his back, then it’s very unlikely that this is a sign of a serious medical condition.

Most dogs do not like to sleep on their stomachs, and it’s not necessarily because they are uncomfortable, especially if they have a non-shivering spine.

However, some dogs have a bad posture, and even though they can survive without sleeping on their backs, they often prefer to be on their stomachs.

If your dog's behavior has changed, you should contact a veterinarian.

How to make your dog stop sleeping this way?

There are several ways to help your dog stop sleeping on his back:

1. Leave him be for a while:

Allow your dog to naturally work through this change in his sleeping habits. The exact amount of time you need to wait varies, but you can expect your pet to sleep in this position for several days before they realize that it's uncomfortable and give up.

2. Limit the time they sleep in this position:

Since dogs prefer to sleep on their backs, it can be tempting to let them sleep in this position for as long as possible.

This is where it can be difficult to regulate your pet's behavior. Keep in mind that it's not healthy for dogs to sleep on their stomachs for extended periods of time.


While it can be annoying to have your dog sleep on his back, it’s not anything to worry about.

As long as you take a close look at your dog’s gums and that his gums are pink and his breath smells good, there is nothing to worry about.

Many dogs sleep in this position because they are too big for their beds or they don’t like the way they fit into the beds that are available for them.

Dogs are a bit awkward with their bodies, and sometimes a bit of discomfort is just part of the deal.


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