Pet Guide: Why Does My Dog Sleep on Top of Me?

why does my dog sleep on top of me

Dogs have proved to be our true companions, especially when everyone and everything seems to be against us. Ordinarily, your dog wants to spend time hanging with you and playing games with you. In most cases, you’ll find your dog wanting to sleep on top of you. This article tells you why your dog wants to sleep on top of you and what this behavior means.

Do Dogs Bond When They Sleep with You?


Previously, dogs were relegated to doghouses where they endured harsh weather conditions and long lonely nights. But today people have realized the importance of treating their dogs as important members of their families. Therefore, it’s common to find people sleeping with their dogs in their houses.

Recent studies have shown that over 55 percent of dog owners in the United States sleep with their dogs. But is it okay to sleep with your dog? And does it help you to bond with your dog? Despite the numerous debates around this topic, studies have shown that sleeping with your dog has numerous benefits, including strengthening the bond with your dog.

In the past, Alaskan Native Americans used the term “three dog night” to refer to the practice of sleeping with their dogs for shared warmth. On warm nights, the dogs would gather around the fire with their owners while on cold nights they would sleep with their owners on their beds. People strongly believed that their dogs would supply them with enough warmth for a good night’s sleep.

This practice helped to build a strong bond between dogs and their owners. Even today, many veterinarians advise people to sleep with their dogs as a way of socialization. They argue that sleeping with your dogs lets them know that they are an important part of your pack. Some studies have also shown that sleeping with your dog makes it easy to train.

When you allow your dogs to sleep with you, it makes them feel safe, loved, and secure with you. Remember that bonding with your canine friend is the same as bonding with another human being. So, you have to make your dog feel safe and secure with you in order to strengthen your bond.

Why Does My Dog Sleep on Top of Me? Six Reasons


At the outset, the answer to the question of why does my dog sleep on top of me is deeply rooted in the history of canines, even before they became domestic animals. In the world, dogs lived in packs for protection and survival. Even today, dogs love to live in an interdependent community.

That’s why you’ll find your dog hanging around you all the time. Here are some of the reasons why your dog would want to sleep on top of you.

1. Innate Instincts and Behavior

As mentioned above, dogs have always lived in packs for survival. Since dogs have become domestic animals and can’t find their mates to form packs, they rely on their owners for company. Even after domestication, dogs still have a lot of pack-related behaviors and instincts. Therefore, you should expect your canine friend to exhibit some of these behaviors once in a while, like wanting to lay on top of you.

By their nature, dogs are the most social animals. This is one of the reasons why they are the easiest animals to domesticate and socialize with. Unlike cats who prefer to have some alone time, most canines get upset, depressed, and lonely when you live them alone for a long time. so, when you find your dog trying to sleep on top of you, know that it’s trying to socialize and bond with you.

2. Asserting Dominance

While in packs, dogs will lay on top of each other as a way of asserting their dominance. In most cases, the stronger dogs will assert their dominance over the weaker ones. So, since your dog doesn’t have weaker mates to dominate over, it will try to assert its dominance over you and other members of your family. In some cases, the dog could be telling other pets around the house that it already owns you.

3. Marking Territory

Even if you don’t own a dog, probably you’ve seen a dog brushing against a person or an object when walking outside. This is a simple way of marking the territory by leaving its scent on the person or object. That way, another dog will be cautious when approaching the person or object with the scent.

So, when you see your dog trying to sleep on top of you, it could mean that it’s trying to mark the territory so that other dogs and pets in the house can know that it owns you.

4. Comfort and Protection

Sometimes your dog will lay on top of you because it wants comfort and protection from unfamiliar events or noises like fireworks, parades, loud music, explosions, automobile backfiring, blender, grinder, shouting, among others.

It could also imply that your dog is trying to give you comfort and safety, especially if you are showing signs of distress and fear. Remember that your dog can easily sense when you are upset or anxious.

5. Finding Warmth

Sometimes your dog will sleep on top of you to find warmth, especially in the cold season. It could also be providing you with warmth. Remember that traditionally people used to sleep with their dogs on cold nights for warmth. So, if your dog isn’t shaking, shivering, or showing any sign of sickness or distress, just sit back and enjoy the warm cuddle.

6. Detecting Illness

The same way your dog detects when you are upset or anxious, it can detect potential illnesses in you at their early stages. Although not all dogs have the ability to detect illnesses in humans, researchers have discovered that a dog with a strong bond with its owner can easily sense illnesses in them. These illnesses include cancer, diabetes, malaria, Parkinson’s disease, among others.

Should I Let My Dog Sleep on Top of Me?


Considering the reasons mentioned above, it’s safe to say that it’s okay to let your dog sleep on top of you. But sometimes this behavior can go out of hand, especially if your dog is sleeping on top of you at night, making it difficult for you to enjoy your sleep. Sometimes your dog may have allergens that may leave you with a serious allergic reaction.

Also, allowing your dog to sleep on top of you may become a difficult habit to break. This may lead to tension between you and your canine friend when you finally decide to break the habit. So, if you are afraid that letting your dog sleep on top of you could be problematic in the future, you shouldn’t entertain it. But if you have no problem having your dog lay on top of you, just enjoy the cuddle.

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