As humans, we all know the drill. After a long, hard day working, maintaining a home, or taking care of children, we cannot wait to slide under our fresh sheets and a comfy blanket and snuggle into bed.
But apparently, we’re not the only ones.
Some dogs love to follow in our footsteps, practically demanding that we let them head-on under the covers alongside us. Which leads us to this question: why does my dog sleep under the covers?
If you’re curious about this same thing, you’re not alone. And the reasons behind this behavior might surprise you!
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Why Do Some Dogs Sleep Under Blankets?
In some ways, your dog sleeping under the covers is similar to it hiding under your bed. But there are a few other reasons behind the act that you may not have expected.
Your dog likely seeks shelter under your covers simply due to its instinct. In the wild, dogs spend most of their time outside. Whether they’re hunting for food or searching for water, they typically travel from place to place in the open.
However, when it’s time to rest, wild dog packs will often seek shelter in natural dens or caves. Dens and caves provide them with protection from the elements.
Your dog may feel comfortable under the blankets because the shelter and darkness mimic their instinct to find cover while resting. You probably see evidence of this instinct in other forms as well.
For example, many dogs do a couple of circles before they plop down on their bed or the couch. That’s another instinct that comes from bedding down in long grass. Digging is yet another natural urge – one that your bedding could probably go without!
Specific dog breeds also have a natural need to burrow. Breeds like Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes may burrow because they have roots in cold areas. These dogs would burrow in the snow for warmth.
Other breeds, like Terriers, burrow due to their instinct to hunt small prey.
If your dog only crawls under your covers on certain occasions, such as when it’s sick or there’s a loud thunderstorm outside, it may be due to anxiety.
Anxious dogs not only want to be close to you when they are feeling scared or stressed, but they also enjoy the sensation of being covered and compressed.
You may have seen thunder jackets advertised for anxious dogs. These jackets offer compression, much like a calming hug, that helps relax dogs. Going under the covers can have that same impact.
It almost seems too easy an answer, but sometimes your dog just wants to be warm! Chances are, if you’re cold, your dog may be chilly too. And even if your dog isn’t cold, it might just enjoy the additional heat – just for comfort’s sake.
Warmth might be the primary reason your dog burrows under the covers if you notice that it does so more often during colder seasons and chilly days. Your pup might love the covers during the winter but prefer to sleep on top of the bedspread in the summer.
You may also notice this behavior more with smaller dogs or dogs with thin coats, as they get colder easier.
In addition, if your dog is getting up there in years, it may be having a difficult time regulating its temperature. If your dog has never slept under your covers before but is starting several years into its lifetime, it may need the extra warmth in its older age.
Some of your dog’s behavior is connected to their instincts as a former wild animal. However, much of what they do is learned behavior. Your dog watches you snuggle into bed every night, indicating that it’s time to rest.
So, your dog follows suit.
Some dogs aren’t comfortable unless they’re physically touching their owners – even if it means sharing a pillow with you. Their love is unconditional and unlimited, and sometimes that manifests itself in physical closeness and nightly snuggles.
In short, your dog feels safe, secure, and comfortable with you under your duvet.
Is It Safe for My Dog to Sleep Under the Covers All Night?
It’s typically perfectly safe for your dog to sleep under the covers all night. Your dog can breathe just fine. And if it starts having trouble breathing or gets uncomfortable, your dog will move, just like humans.
Dogs are great at taking care of themselves with things like this, so there’s no need to worry about them suffocating.
You may find that your dog initially falls asleep under the covers, only to move during the night to lay on top of them. Your dog may also stick its nose or head out from under the covers, leaving the rest of its body covered.
As a rule of safety, it’s best not to allow your dog to sleep under weighted blankets. These types of covers can be very heavy and may inhibit your dog’s breathing. Your dog may not realize the difference and it can become dangerous.
At the very least, your dog may panic and start chewing your blanket. Weighted blankets are not cheap, so it’s best to try to avoid this altogether for both practical reasons and safety.
How Can I Stop My Dog From Sleeping Under the Covers?
While some dog owners don’t mind sharing their beds and blankets with their furry friends, others don’t prefer it. After all, your dog can take up a lot of space. They also tend to move around and reposition themselves throughout the night, which can disturb your sleep cycle.
Not to mention, they often bring dirt and fur into the bed that can get all over your sheets. Not everyone wants to sleep in that!
Getting your dog to sleep in a specific location takes time, just like any other kind of training. Be patient and try some of these tips.
Set Up a New Sleeping Spot
Rather than just kicking your dog off the bed and leaving it to find its new spot, try setting up a comfortable, attractive sleeping spot for it.
If your dog likes to sleep near you, you can set up a dog bed on the floor next to your bed. If your dog is particularly fond of blankets, you can even give it an old blanket to call its own. Be sure to use a blanket you don’t care about, as it will likely get torn, chewed, and dirty.
Offer Treats and Praise
Once you have a new sleeping spot set up, have your dog lay down there. Give it lots of praise, including a couple of treats. You can also try to encourage your dog to sleep there by giving it its favorite toy.
Choose a word that indicates it’s time for your dog to go to its bed. You can say something like bedtime, sleep, bed, lay down, etc. Just make sure you stick to one word or phrase. Continue practicing this as long as necessary.
Every dog has a unique personality, and sometimes that personality includes little quirks – like sleeping under the covers. If it doesn’t bother you, then there’s usually nothing to worry about. Your dog likely feels comfortable and at home under the covers, safe with you.