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Why Does My Dog Sleep on Top of Me?

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While not all dogs are overly affectionate, many dogs just seem to want to be around us all the time, so much so that they will even sleep on top of us!

Its understandable why they enjoy our company, but have you ever wondering why they do this?

Some dogs like to sleep on us for a variety of reasons and while most are harmless, there are a few that can be concerning.

It is important to understand why your dog sleeps on you and how you can help them be just a little more independent, if that is what you want.

Dogs are smarter than many of us give them credit for and they are capable of more loving us even more than most of us can imagine.

Shiba inu dog sleeping quietly on a girl's lap

Their actions, including sleeping on top of their owners, occur because of specific reasons and it is vital as their owner to know why our canine friends do the odd things they do.

Reasons Why My Dog Sleeps on Top of Me

Dogs sleep on their owners for a variety of reasons and it may be a combination of several.

Here are some of the most common reasons they do this.

They Love You

The most basic reason why your dog sleeps on top of you is simply because they love you.

It is sometimes just as simple as that!

Dogs love their owners and often just want to be near them so they fall asleep on top of them!

It does not mean that they necessarily suffer from any behavior issues, they just love you and feel most content when they are near you, or on top of you in this case.

They are Being Protective of You

Sometimes, dogs will sleep on top of us because they feel like they need to protect us.

We are their family and they may just want to make sure we are safe.

If you are in a new area, moved to a new house, are visiting friends, or there are loud noises around you, your dog may just feel a little extra protective of you.

By sleeping on top of you, they feel like they can keep you safe in case anything happens.

They are Scared

Dogs that are scared may seek out their owners and sleep on top of them because it makes them feel safe and secure.

This is especially true when they are in unfamiliar locations or if there are loud noises such as fireworks or thunder.

If your dog is shaking before it falls asleep, this may be an indication it is afraid of something.

woman lying on bed cuddling her sleeping dog on top of her

They Consider You a Part of Their Pack

Dogs are pack animals by nature and when they are with other dogs, or even cats, they will often sleep close together.

This not only keeps them safe but it also helps to keep them warm.

You are an extension of their pack and as a result, they will sleep as close to you or on top of you if possible.

They Have Separation Anxiety

Some dogs that sleep on top of you actually suffer from separation anxiety.

This is a developed condition that may stem from their previous life with another owner or it was developed sometime while the dog has been in your care.

Dogs that have separation anxiety will bark excessively, destroy things in your house or in their crate, pace back and forth, or cry when you leave the room or go to work.

Separation anxiety is not necessarily the result of poor treatment, it actually can occur in any dog, even one that has been loved and cared for more than most.

Moving to a new house, losing a family member, or changing owners can cause the anxiety issue to develop seemingly out of nowhere.

If your dog displays the signs of separation anxiety and sleeps on top of you, this may be the reason.

Can My Dog Sleeping on Top of Me Be Dangerous?

In most cases, a dog sleeping on top of you is not dangerous, as long as you are okay with it and the dog does not show any signs of aggression.

Dogs that bite or growl when you try to move them off of you should not be allowed to sleep on you or other members of your family.

If you have more than one dog or animal sleeping on you, none of them should show any signs of aggression to one another.

Are Some Dog Breeds More Likely to Sleep on Top of You?

There are not really any specific breeds than are more likely to sleep on you, but smaller dogs with shorter hair often sleep on their owners more than others.

Large dogs and those with longer or thicker coats will get too hot or uncomfortable to sleep on top of their owners.

There are always exceptions and there are plenty of large dog owners that have dogs that try their best to sleep on top of them.

How to Help your Dog Sleep on Their Own Bed

If you do not want your dog sleeping on top of you or if it is becoming an issue, you can encourage your dog to sleep in their own bed.

Set them up a comfortable area in the same room that you tend to be in.

Put some toys in it and leave any doors to the area open so that they can go lay down when they want to.

Sometimes just knowing that you are nearby is enough for some dogs to fall sleep somewhere besides on top of you!

white and brown puppy sleeping on its owner's lap

Should You Let Your Dog Sleep on Top of You?

Not everyone enjoys having their dog sleep on top of them and that is understandable.

If you do not mind it and your dog is showing only positive signs from it, it is perfectly fine to let them continue doing it.

Letting your dog sleep on top of you can help them feel safe and happy, exactly what we want most for our canine friends!

Can My Dog Sleep Beside Me Instead of on Top of Me?

If having your dog sleep on top of you is causing you issues or is simply just uncomfortable, encourage them to sleep beside you instead.

Tell them a stern “no” when they crawl on top of you or on your lap to sleep and gently move them beside you instead.

Pet them until they fall asleep and over time, they will hopefully learn that sleeping beside you is just as good as on top of you and probably a lot more comfortable!

Final Thoughts

Having a dog sleep on top of you may seem odd but it is not the worse thing in the world.

If it causes an issue or if your dog is showing signs of aggression, it should be stopped as soon as possible.

Most dogs sleep on top of us because they trust us and only want to be close to us, so usually it is not a bad thing.

If it becomes a problem, do not feel bad about moving your dog to their own bed or to a more comfortable area.


Understanding the reasons dogs are so affectionate towards their owners, even while they sleep, requires a lot of research from several sources. These are the sources used to research this article.