So you’ve spent hours upon hours scouring the internet for the perfect, comfy, high-end (read: expensive) dog bed. It finally arrives, and with excitement and anticipation, you proudly present it to your furry best friend.
Unfortunately, he does not seem the slightest bit interested, in fact, your dog likes to sleep on the floor instead. Why in the dog-gone world would he do this? Why does my dog sleep on the floor?
Your dog prefers to sleep on the floor because it may help relax his muscles as he finds it comforting. He may also find the floor to be much cooler, which helps regulate his body temperature. When he sleeps on the floor, it also makes it easier for him to hear vibrations such as footsteps so he can be alerted.
Before you put a curse upon the houses of the dog bed manufacturers, take into consideration that there could be a variety of reasons behind your dog’s seemingly insane choice to slumber on the floor.
Most of which really have nothing to do with the bed itself, nor your taste in canine bedding. It is actually not at all uncommon and the following, are just a few of your dogs’ possible reasons for turning his snout up at his new bed.
Why Does My Dog Sleep On The Floor?
15. It Helps To Regulate Temperature
Dogs are more temperature-sensitive than we are. If you notice your pooch opting to sleep on your hardwood floors more often, it could be due to it being too hot or too cold for them to get comfortable.
Don’t forget that your pup has a natural fur coat, and a limited ability to perspire, so their underside, which is less furry, making contact with a cooler or warmer surface can help to regulate their own body temperature.
14. There Is An Issue With His Designated Doggy Bed
Have you recently gifted your furry friend a brand new and improved doggy bed? Does he elect to sleep on the floor next to it, rather than sleep in it? Has he been avoiding the bed that he previously had absolutely no problem sleeping in before?
Sometimes dogs are just straight-up picky. The new bed might be too soft, too hard, or just not to his liking. If he suddenly stopped sleeping in his regular bed, maybe it’s been moved to an undesirable location (yep, they can be that finicky)? Keep trying, you just might find a bed or a spot, that he approves of.
13. He Is Suffering From Illness
If this is a new, suddenly developed behavior, or is accompanied by whimpering, signs of distress, or any kind of drastic mood changes, it could be the early symptoms of some possible underlying medical condition.
Not to fret, it could be something as mild as early arthritis, but it could also be as serious as the beginning signs of certain types of cancer so you’ll want the veterinarian to check him out.
12. A Perceived Invasion Of His Territory
Have you recently adopted a new furry brother or sister for Fido? Is this new four-legged sibling sleeping on or near Fido’s bed? This could very well be a major reason for the disinterest in his bed, as another animal’s unfamiliar scent may be off-putting to him.
These types of situations will typically resolve themselves with time, but it never hurts to encourage interaction, especially within designated sleeping areas, to get them used to each other’s scent and presence.
11. Doggy Jealousy Is Rearing Its Furry Head
Which leads to the next reason; pure, green-eyed, jealousy. A new human ‘friend’, especially one who is suddenly spending the night, can definitely cause a disruption in Fido’s sleeping habits.
If his bed is kept in the bedroom, and there is a perceived ‘intruder’, he might feel more comfortable, and safe, on the floor. Keep encouraging him to sleep in the bed, but don’t force it. Once he gets used to the new ‘pack member’, he may well opt to sleep in it all on his own.
10. He Is Doing So In Protest
Dogs have feelings too, and just like their human counterparts, those feelings can get hurt. They can also get mad, sad, or even angry. A recent incident might have caused him to be upset, and he is sleeping on the floor to show you that he means business.
This could be in protest of the new bed, as he is upset that his previous bed has been replaced. Either way, the issue will (hopefully) clear up with time.
09. It’s A Pack Thing
When there are multiple pets in the home, particularly other dogs, they can sometimes be happier and more comfortable snoozing in a big mass of fur on the floor. Where do you think the meaning of ‘dogpile’ came from?
To remedy the situation, you could always purchase a large enough bed for them to sleep together. Or you could give in, and let them sleep on the floor.
08. He Is In Pain
When an animal is in pain, they will sometimes seek out a cooler surface to lay on which could explain his sudden desire to snooze on the cool hard tile instead of his warm and cozy bed.
Both the pressure and temperature can make it a more comfortable option than their soft bed. If you believe that your dog is in pain, it is imperative that he see a vet. Pain can be the first symptom of several different serious conditions.
07. He Prefers A More Rigid Surface
Sometimes you just need to feel a firm surface beneath you. It could literally be as simple as that. This is especially more common as they age as the firmer surface feels better on achy joints, bones, and sore muscles. Swapping the current bed with one with a firmer ‘mattress’ may entice him to actually sleep in it.
06. It Eases Sore Muscles And Joints
This may seem a bit odd, but it is true. Have you ever been so sore, your muscles so tense, that you would rather stretch out on a solid, hard, surface rather than a soft one?
Sometimes the pressure can help to alleviate tension and relax the muscles. Again going with a firmer doggy bed might work. Letting him lay where he is most comfortable is fine, unless, of course, it is causing other issues such as calloused elbows and ankles. In this case, it would be in his best interest to be persuaded to sleep in a dog bed.
05. He Is Getting Older
Not unlike humans, as canines’ age, they can develop age-related problems like full or partial blindness, dementia, and disorientation. If he is suffering from any of these ailments, it could impede his ability to recognize his surroundings, especially with new and unfamiliar bedding. To counteract this, you could leave something with a familiar scent where you would like him to sleep, and then encourage him to do so.
04. Stubbornness Is One Of His Traits
Dog personalities vary wildly, and some are just plain old stubborn, especially when it comes to any kind of change in routine. They are literally sleeping on the floor just because it is new, and because it is you who wants him to do it.
Test the theory by using reverse psychology-doggy style, when it is time for bed, tell Fido that you want him to sleep on the floor, his stubborn butt will race to that new bed.
03. Looking For Some Good Vibrations
Many dogs are soothed by the vibrations they feel while laying on hard surfaces. In addition to being soothing, this is also an instinctual and protective measure.
Being on the floor makes it easier for him to hear or ‘feel’ footsteps or movements, particularly those that are foreign to them (yes, they can distinguish strange footsteps from those of ‘his’ humans). Ultimately, he is able to be more alert, and somewhat pay attention to the floor vibrations.
02. Sometimes, It Is Just In Their Nature
Many, many moons ago, dogs slept outside, on the cold, hard ground. They did not know the comfort of snuggling up in their soft, comfy, dog bed. While dogs have obviously evolved, some may still have the trait and prefer to sleep on the ground. They are just hard-wired that way.
01. Because He WANTS To Sleep On The Floor
Many people picture cats when they think of demanding pets, but dogs can be just as bad. The floor issue may not be an issue at all, he could very well just like to sleep on the floor.
As touched upon earlier, many dogs are quite headstrong, and persistent on, doing things their way. And if they are happy, and it is not having adverse reactions on their health, why not just let him at it. Maybe the cat will enjoy the bed…
Is It Bad For Your Dog To Sleep On The Floor?
While it is not necessarily bad for them per se, it can cause, or inflame, certain medical conditions later on down the road, such as arthritis or hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia, basically when the hips pop in and out of place, is more common in larger breeds, but it can affect any animal, given the right circumstances.
If this is the case, it would be better for him to sleep on something more supportive (like his bed!) and he should be urged to do so.
When It’s Time To Worry
If you notice that Fido seems to have more difficulty getting up or down, sitting, and/or walking, it might be time for him to use a softer, more forgiving, sleeping surface.
If you have an unsurprisingly stubborn pooch, one who refuses to use any other sleeping arrangement, you should consult with your veterinarian to discuss possible medications, or other treatments, that might be available.
Tips On How To Get Your Dog To Sleep In His Bed
Even the most stubborn of dogs can be trained. Once you have ruled out a more serious reason behind his floor sleeping habit, and if you have your heart set on Fido making use of his bed, then it might be training time. Here are a few tips to get the process started.
- Try a Bribe: If he seems disinterested you could always give him a little incentive, to give it a try. Try placing a few favorite items in the bed, toys, stuffed animals, or a favored blanket.
- Reward Him: if he decides to try out the bed, give him a yummy treat, a pat, and a ‘Good Boy’. Dogs love nothing more than pleasing their favorite human, and this will encourage him to use his bed in the future. If for no other reason than just to make you happy.
- Sibling Rivalry: If Fido has a furry brother or sister (one he was raised with or has lived with for some time – this is important!) invite the sibling to lounge about in the unwanted bed. Out of jealousy, Fido might decide he wants to sleep in it after all.
- The Nose Knows: Another little trick, placing a piece of clothing, or anything really, with your scent on it, into the bed could be the calming presence he needs to feel comfortable actually sleeping in it.
- If You Can’t Beat Him, Join Him: If all else fails, he might be more comfortable using his new bed if his favorite human is in there snuggling with him. Yes, get in the doggy bed with him (or next to it, if it is on the smaller side).
Sometimes dogs are simply set in their ways, and as much as you wrack your brain trying to figure them out, they are who they are. Not all hope is lost, however.
If you truly want your dog to use that top-of-the-line dog bed, he can likely be conditioned or trained, to do so. This can take a lot of time, patience, and effort, but it is possible.
Or you can just accept that your precious pooch has decided that he is going to be the ultimate throw rug.