Why Do Dogs Sleep On Their Backs? Hereโ€™s Why They Love It

There are few things as heartwarming to a pet parent as walking in on your furry best buddy deep asleep after a long day of fun and being the best pet in the world. If you have had a dog for a while, you have probably seen all sleeping positions from the starfish to the donut.

Dogs sleep on their backs, often to express their comfort and contentment in their space and circumstances. Perhaps the most unusual sleeping position that dogs take is sleeping on their backs with their legs in the air.

Is there more to this sleeping position than what meets the eye? Letโ€™s find out.

Why Does My Dog Sleep On Their Back With Their Legs Up?

Image from 1-800-PetMeds

Your dog may be sleeping on their back with their legs up because they feel safe and comfortable around you. However, it is not always that deep and serious. Here is a bit more insight on why your dog may prefer this sleeping position.


Dogs love to be comfortable and will twist their furry little bodies into whatever shape or position that allows them to enjoy this comfort the most. Therefore if you find your dog sleeping on their back, it could simply be because they feel the most physically comfortable in that position.

Show Their Trust

A dogโ€™s belly is considered to be a vulnerable part of its body. By sleeping on their backs, they are essentially trusting their lives in your hands.

If your dog rolls over onto their back while you are cuddling or while you pet them in their sleep, it is their way of letting you know that they trust you.

To Cool Down

Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat through all parts of their skin when they get hot. The sweating is typically limited to the paw pads.

While they are awake, they rely on panting to cool themselves down. However, while they are asleep, they change their sleeping positions as a way to cool down.

Sleeping on their backs with their legs in the air is one way to cool down as more of their body surface area is exposed to moving air for a cooling effect.

To Avoid Abdominal Discomfort

If your dog is sleeping on their back, it could also mean that they are experiencing some abdominal discomfort. It could be something like being excessively full.

This may not cause enough discomfort to disrupt their sleep but may require strategic positioning like sleeping on the back as opposed to sleeping on the abdomen.

Is It Safe For Your Dog To Sleep On Their Back?

It is safe for your dog to sleep on its back. In most cases, the worst thing that will happen is they snore too loud and keep you up all night. However, there is rarely any real danger to the dog itself.

However, there are rare occasions where sleeping on the back is not a great idea for your dog. This is the case when they are experiencing persistent vomitingSleeping on the back puts them at risk of aspirating the contents and developing aspiration pneumonia. However, this is incredibly rare.

A dog sleeping on its back may also not be a comfortable or sustainable position for dogs with back pain. However, if your dog has back pains, it is highly unlikely that they will put themselves in that position in the first place.

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Pete Decker