Most dogs spend about 50% of their day sleeping, and if your dog has decided to spend some of that time sleeping on your stomach, you may have questions.
It may be cute, but perhaps you wonder, is something wrong, or have they just developed a new habit? We understand your concern, so let’s dig deeper into this phenomenon.
Why is your dog sleeping on your stomach? They may have simply discovered that it’s a comfortable place to sleep. However, it could also reveal your dog’s feelings or a response to chemical and physical changes they notice in you.
Read on to discover 13 reasons your dog may have for sleeping on your stomach. We’ve included lists of corresponding behaviors that might help diagnose the ultimate reason and ideas on what to do about it if it’s become a problem.
13 Reasons Your Dog May Sleep on Your Stomach
These 13 reasons your dog might be sleeping on your stomach may give you insight into your dog’s psyche.
1. Your Dog Enjoys Cuddling With You
The simplest explanation for why your dog is sleeping on your stomach is that it enjoys cuddling with you. Your abdomen is one of the most solid places your furry friend can find to lay on you.
2. Your Stomach Is Convenient
There’s always the chance that your dog fell asleep on your stomach merely because it was convenient. Your stomach was there, your dog was there, your dog felt a snooze coming on, and zzzzzz.
You’ve certainly fallen asleep before in convenient places like the couch or even at your desk in class. If your dog was already on your stomach when tiredness hit, why get up and go elsewhere? Sometimes, resistance to sleep is futile.
3. Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
If you leave your dog for long periods, your dog can suffer from separation anxiety. When you’re finally home, your dog may want to spend even more time on you and choose to do so by laying on your stomach.
It’s more difficult to get up (or want to get up) when you’ve got a cute dog on you. So, it’s the perfect ploy to keep you from leaving your best friend again.
To determine if your dog is sleeping on your stomach because of separation anxiety, you might look for other signs of separation anxiety, which include:
- Barking and howling
- Chewing and destroying things
- Urinating or defecating indoors while you’re gone
4. Your Puppy Finds It Comforting
If you have a young puppy that’s newly separated from its mom and siblings, sleeping on your stomach can bring back the comforts that your pup is missing.
Many human parents place their babies on their chests or abdomens or strap them into a body-hugging baby carrier to calm and comfort their baby. Human babies find comfort in the warmth and body sounds they miss from being in the womb.
Similarly, puppies can find comfort in the sounds of stomach gurgles that may be reminiscent of the sounds they heard inside their mother. Your tummy rumbles may make it feel so safe and comfortable that it falls asleep.
5. Your Dog Is Being Protective
If your dog has started sleeping on your stomach after a new pet or person moved into your home, it’s a good indication that it’s being protective. Some other signs that your dog might be feeling protective of you include:
- Being hyper-focused on the perceived threat
- Growling or barking at the perceived threat
- Keeping an alert but calm stance
- Moving between you and the perceived threat
- Vacillating between acting normally and not
6. It’s a Place That Feels Safe
While we sometimes get dogs to help protect us, we can provide a sense of safety for our dogs too. If your dog has anxiety issues, it may sleep on your stomach because you represent a source of security.
Numerous studies have found that dogs synchronize with our emotions and stress. Sometimes, dogs even mirror our stress. So, if you’re stressed, your dog may be stressed, too, and seek comfort by sleeping on your stomach.
Here are other signs that can alert you that your dog may be experiencing fear or anxiety:
- Flattening its ears
- Licking its lips
- Tucking its tail between its legs
- Raising its hackles
- Scratching or licking itself frequently
If you decide that your dog is sleeping on your stomach because of anxiety, you might consider trying a doggy anti-anxiety medication like Rescue Remedy.
7. Your Dog Wants Attention
Like some people, some dogs like to be the center of attention. Some dogs can’t get enough attention and want to follow you everywhere. So, what better way to get your attention than by sleeping on your stomach so you can’t move?
8. Your Stomach Is Comfortable
Let’s face it; your dog may be sleeping on your stomach because it’s the softest, squishiest thing around. If you don’t have washboard abs, your stomach may be more like a pillow than any other part of your body.
If your dog likes to sleep in comfort, your stomach may be just the place for your doggy to lay its weary head or curl up for a snooze.
9. Your Stomach Is Warm
Your pup may like to sleep on your stomach simply because it’s warm.
The temperature inside the human stomach is around 99.6°F (37.6°C). If you scan the temperature of your abdomen, you’re likely to find the outside temperature to be around 99°F (37.2°C).
If your dog likes to be warm while it sleeps, the human stomach is probably one of the best options.
10. Your Breathing Is Relaxing
Listening to the sound and feeling the rhythm of your breathing in and out is relaxing and might be enough to put your dog to sleep. So, if your dog is lying on your stomach, just being around your breathing rhythms might cause it to fall asleep.
11. It’s Trying to Comfort You
Studies show that dogs try to comfort us when we’re feeling upset. They are often responsive to our feelings, our stress, and even to the sounds of humans crying. So, if you’ve been more stressed or emotional than usual, your dog may be sleeping on your stomach to comfort you.
Some other things your dog might do to try to comfort you include:
- Laying their head on your lap
- Extending a paw
- Licking your hand
12. You’re Pregnant
Sometimes, a dog will start sleeping on your stomach because it senses that you are pregnant. Surprise! If you suspect you might be pregnant and your dog has suddenly started sleeping on your stomach, it might be time to buy a pregnancy test.
There are several reasons a dog may lay on your stomach if you’re pregnant:
- It may hear your baby’s heartbeat: While there’s no evidence to support this, dogs can hear four times farther away than humans. If an ultrasound can detect a baby’s heartbeat between 5.5-7 weeks, your dog may be able to, too.
- Dogs may sense changes in hormones and pheromones: Your body chemistry changes during pregnancy, which can cause your dog to act differently.
- It may want more attention: Sensing the chemical changes in you may cause your dog to seek more attention from you.
- It may be trying to comfort you: If you’re experiencing mood swings, your dog may be laying on your belly to try to comfort you.
- It may see your baby moving in your belly: If your dog detects movement in your stomach, it may lay there out of curiosity.
- It’s being protective: Some dogs are more protective of pregnant women.
13. You’re Going Into Labor
There’s no definitive evidence that a dog can sense signs of labor, but many people report their dogs being extra protective or clingy when labor begins. Your dog may pick up on changes such as your discomfort, your scent changes, or changes in how you’re walking.
Some dogs will start to follow you around more if you’re in labor. However, since some dogs show their protection and clinginess by sleeping on your stomach, it could indicate that labor is beginning.
Determining Why Your Dog Is Sleeping on Your Stomach
If your dog starts sleeping on your stomach suddenly when it never has, it may be worthwhile to notice what other new behaviors may be accompanying it.
Note other symptoms your dog is exhibiting from the possibilities above to diagnose the problem or problems.
Once you’ve determined all of the symptoms, it’s time to think about the cause:
- New house
- New or changed routine
- Not having as much time to spend with your dog
- A new person or animal in the house
- Loss of a person or animal in the house
- Change in your mood, chemistry, or actions
What to Do About Your Dog Sleeping on Your Stomach
If you’ve decided that the reason your dog has started to sleep on your stomach is because of a change in your dog’s life, there are a few things you can do:
- Train it to sleep elsewhere
- Don’t encourage the behavior
- Do what you can to reduce your dog’s anxiety or provide more attention
- Provide a comfortable place for it to sleep
How to Train Your Dog to Lay Elsewhere
You can use positive reinforcement training to get your dog to sleep somewhere other than on you. Rewarding the positive behavior helps your dog to want to sleep elsewhere.
Here are the steps to follow to train your dog to lay elsewhere if laying on you bothers you:
- Find a comfortable location: A fluffy dog bed near you with a soft, warm blanket they can snuggle into can be an excellent solution.
- Add treats and toys: Putting treats and toys in the bed can help make it more inviting.
- Reward your dog for standing near or on the new bed.
- Reward your dog for lying down in the new bed.
- Repeat: Daily training will let your dog start to associate the new sleep location with the good feelings they have related to getting a reward.
What You Can Conclude About Your Dog Sleeping on Your Stomach
As you can see, there are several reasons your dog might be sleeping on your stomach. It can relate to just being comfortable, an underlying problem, or sensing changes in you.
If some of the other behaviors I’ve mentioned in this article seem to match your dog’s new behaviors as well, it may mean you should take action to reduce your dog’s stress levels.
However, if it turns out that your dog finds you comfy, enjoy! After all, not all of us have the pleasure of owning a lap dog.