Why Do Dogs Sleep on Their Back?


Just about everything dogs do can be adorable, especially when they roll over with their paws in the air to sleep on their backs.

It might be cute, but did you know there’s actually a reason or two behind this adorable move? Veterinarians have the inside scoop on why dogs sleep on their backs.

Quick Cool Down

One reason dogs sleep on their backs is to cool off. Since they have sweat glands in their paws, they release heat through their paws, and putting their paws up in the air allows them to cool down faster.

And since their fur is thinner on their belly, having their bellies in the air is another way to get their bodies to cool down faster.

They Feel Safe With You

When dogs sleep on their backs, they expose their stomachs which means they are pretty vulnerable. So, if they roll over to sleep on their backs while lying next to you, that means they trust you!

They wouldn’t leave themselves so vulnerable around just anyone. So, if you find your pooch belly-up around you more often than not, that means they feel secure and are comfortable and relaxed in their surroundings without a care in the world!

Getting Comfy Cozy

Just like humans, dogs have their favorite sleeping positions and that means some dogs love sleeping on their backs the best. It simply might be the most comfortable position for them.

Think about it: if you were a dog, wouldn’t you like to sleep with your hips splayed wide and your feet in the air where your stomach was always primed for some good old-fashioned belly rubs?


When dogs sleep on their back, it also might be a remaining vestige of some old wolf instincts. In a wolf pack, rolling over and showing your belly to the alpha is a show of submission. They use this tactic to let the alpha know that they remember he’s the boss.

They also use it to prove that they are harmless to other members of the pack who are showing aggression, letting them know that they aren’t challenging them in any way. So if your dog does this with you, he is telling you that he know’s you’re in charge.

What if Your Dog Doesn’t Sleep on Their Back?

If your dog doesn’t sleep on its back, it isn’t that big of a deal. It doesn’t necessarily mean your dog doesn’t feel safe with you or wants to be the boss of you, it could be that they don’t feel comfortable in that position.

Some dogs simply like lying in positions where they can lie on their sides, coil up, or even splay their frog legs back. Every dog has their own preferences and some just don’t like to sleep on its back, and that’s okay!

Whether your dog lies on its back to cool off or get comfy or maybe even show a little submission, it sure is adorable and definitely not something you should worry about. Just enjoy all the cuteness and get in there for some good belly scratches when you can!