Goofy, sweet, full of energy, and always ready for a cuddle, it’s easy to see why dogs are ‘man’s best friend’. But, as much as we love them, sometimes they can be a little bit… odd.
Their enthusiasm for life (and us!) is boundless but as any dog owner knows, their actions are not always easy to understand. From dragging their blankets around to being scared of hardwood floors dogs can act very strange at times.
Nevertheless, good dog owners take the time to learn why their dog is doing whatever strange thing their dog happens to be doing. Like sleeping under the bed.
Why do dogs sleep under the bed? Several reasons could lead to your dog sleeping under the bed:
- Den instincts
- Feeling safe
- Hiding out
- Avoiding punishment
- Being closer to you
- Likes your smell
A big reason your dog may sleep under the bed is due to den instincts. In the wild, dogs find a cozy space when possible, like a cave or hole, and make it their and their pack’s den.
Even though your dog is domestic, they still have those den instincts. When they sleep under the bed, it’s their way of creating their own little personal den.
Another reason your dog may like to sleep under the bed is due to temperature. Depending on your flooring and time of year, under the bed is often cooler or warmer than the rest of the room. If your dog is too hot they may be seeking out a more comfortable temperature to sleep in.
For some dogs, sleeping under the bed makes them feel safe and sound. The bed provides a barrier above and usually against at least one wall, making your dog feel snug and secure.
Sleeping under the bed also gives your dog a sense of privacy. If there are other animals or people in the house, especially a puppy that won’t stop trying to play, sleeping under the bed may give your dog a break from all the commotion.
Sometimes, dogs will sleep under the bed because they’re trying to hide out. Toddlers who are inappropriately playing with a dog are a big cause for this reason of sleeping under the bed.
Most dogs know not to respond in kind when a child hurts them, but they don’t want to sit there and take it if they don’t have to!
In this case, sleeping under the bed is a way for the dog to avoid the situation altogether.
For some dogs, sleeping under the bed may be due to anxiety. Anxiety in dogs can be a serious problem that can reduce their quality of life. While some dogs lay in the bathtub when loud noises or something else makes them anxious, other dogs may hide under the bed when they’re feeling anxious.
If your dog did something he knew he wasn’t supposed to, like get in the kitchen garbage, he may try to sleep under the bed to avoid being punished. He probably knows you’ll eventually find him, but he’s hoping by then you’ll have forgotten what he did or at least be less mad about it.
Being Closer To You
Dogs are social creatures and love being close to their pack. So, another reason your dog may like to sleep under the bed is that it puts them closer to you.
Maybe you put their bed in your bedroom, but under the bed is so much closer to you than in a bed on the other side of the room!
Likes Your Smell
When your dog sleeps under the bed, he’s likely taking in all of your smells. This is because your scent is on your bedding, pillows, and mattress.
For some dogs, this is a comforting smell that makes them feel close to you even when you’re not in the room.
What If My Dog Suddenly Starts Sleeping Under The Bed?
When your dog abruptly changes his behavior, it can and should be concerning. If your dog suddenly starts sleeping under the bed and he’s never done it before, there may be a serious underlying health issue causing it.
Change In The Environment
One of the first things you should consider if your dog suddenly starts sleeping under the bed is whether there has been any change in his environment.
A new baby in the home, moving houses, or even a change in routine can all lead to stress and anxiety in dogs. If your dog is sleeping under the bed as a way to cope with the change, addressing the underlying stressor may be the key to getting him back to sleeping in his own bed.
Sickness Or Injury
If there has been no change in your dog’s environment, the next thing to consider is whether he’s sick or injured. If your dog is in pain, he may seek out a sheltered spot like under the bed to sleep.
Additionally, some illnesses can cause a change in behavior like sleeping under the bed. If you suspect your dog may be sick or injured, it’s important to take him to the vet to be evaluated.
Anxiety Or Fear
As I mentioned before, some dogs may start sleeping under the bed due to anxiety or fear. If you think this may be the case with your dog, consider whether anything has happened recently that could have caused him to be anxious or afraid.
Loud noises, a traumatic event, or even a change in routine can all lead to anxiety in dogs. If your dog is sleeping under the bed as a way to deal with his anxiety or fear, you’ll need to help him work through whatever is causing the issue.
Is It Okay For Dogs To Sleep Under The Bed?
As long as your dog isn’t doing anything destructive under the bed and you are okay with him being there, it is perfectly fine for dogs to sleep under the bed.
Depending on the size of your bedroom and the size of your dog, you may even prefer your dog to sleep under the bed.
How Do I Stop My Dog Sleeping Under The Bed?
First, try your best to learn why your dog is sleeping under the bed, to begin with. Look into other clues in his behavior and then make an educated guess.
From there you can try one of or all of the following suggestions.
Create A New Safe Spot
Try putting your dog’s bed in the corner of your bedroom with a dresser on the other side of the bed, opposite the wall. This will block 3 out of the 4 entrances to his bed, making it feel more like a den for your dog.
Heat Or Cool Your Bedroom
If your dog is seeking out a specific temperature to sleep in, try to make your bedroom more comfortable for him. If he’s looking for a cooler spot, open a window or use a fan. If he’s looking for a warmer spot, close the window and add an extra blanket to his bed.
Crate Train Your Dog
If your dog feels anxious or stressed in your bedroom, crate training may be the answer. Start by slowly getting your dog used to spending time in his crate.
Then, when you’re both comfortable, start leaving him in the crate while you’re out of the room. With time and patience, this should help your dog feel more comfortable in your room and less likely to sleep under the bed.
Remember to never put your dog in a crate as punishment.
Use A Thundershirt
If your dog is anxious or stressed, a Thundershirt may help. The Thundershirt applies gentle pressure to your dog’s body which has a calming effect on some dogs.
You can find Thundershirts at most pet stores or online.
Make The Area Under Your Bed Less Inviting
If you don’t want your dog sleeping under your bed, make the area less inviting. Try using the space under your bed to store totes or something else that will take up most of the room.
This will make it more difficult for your dog to get under the bed and may deter him from trying. Even better invest in some under-the-bed blockers!
This goes hand in hand with every other suggestion. When your dog goes to lay down for a nap somewhere other than under the bed, make sure to give him lots of love.
You may even want to give him a treat as a way to show him that he’s doing what you want. With time and consistency, your dog should start sleeping in his own bed more often.
Talk To Your Vet
If you’ve tried all of the above and your dog is still sleeping under the bed, it’s time to talk to your vet. There may be an underlying health issue causing it.
Conclusion: Why Does My Dog Sleep Under My Bed?
There are many reasons why your dog may enjoy sleeping under the bed. From den instincts to taking in your scent, dogs have a variety of reasons for seeking out this particular spot.
In most cases, there is no cause for concern if your dog sleeps under the bed.
If you decide you don’t want your dog to sleep there, it usually isn’t too hard to break them of the habit. With a little patience and training, you can help your dog feel more comfortable in your room and less likely to sleep under the bed.
However, if your dog is showing other signs of anxiety, stress, injury, or illness it may be time to talk to your vet.