There are several reasons a dog would choose to sleep on the floor instead of their bed. Comfort, location, and preference are all possible reasons. However, the most common reason is temperature control. Dogs run much hotter than humans, since the floor tends to be cooler than their bed, many dogs choose the floor.
If you spent a pretty penny for your dog’s bed and she refuses to use it, it can be frustrating. There are several reasons why your dog might opt for the floor instead, which we’ll get into below.
What You'll Learn
Just like humans, dogs have trouble sleeping if they’re too hot or cold. The temperature of their sleeping arrangements is a significant factor in a good night’s sleep.
It’s Too Hot
If you live in a warm climate, your dog may find her bed to be uncomfortably hot. If she tends to sleep on tile floors during the summer, there’s a good chance this is why.
There are cooling dog beds that look like cots, which raise the dog off the floor, allowing cold air to pass underneath. These might be a good option, especially for older dogs with joint issues who shouldn’t be sleeping on a hard floor.
Some dogs don’t love this type of bed, but it’s worth a shot if you’re concerned with her sleeping on the floor.
It’s Too Cold
If your dog isn’t sleeping on her bed, and you find her curled in a tight ball in another area of the home, her bed might be located in a spot that’s too cold.
Make sure to put your dog’s bed in an area that’s not constantly assaulted with air conditioning vents or drafts from windows.
There are also several dog blankets and sleep jackets which can help keep your dog warm at night.
Dogs can be particular about bed size, feeling most comfortable in beds that are about twice the size of the dog.
Some dogs don’t like beds that are too large, as they make them feel exposed. If you’ve recently upgraded your dog’s bed size and she’s now sleeping in a corner on the floor, this may be the cause.
All too often, people buy beds that are too small for their dogs. The bed needs to be big enough for the dog to turn around and stretch out in, or he may choose to sleep on the spacious floor instead.
Some people have luck using camping cot mattresses as dog beds if their dog is an especially large breed or in a home with multiple dogs. These mattresses are just thick pieces of memory foam that can be covered with a washable sheet.
Just like with our beds, the quality of dog beds can vary widely. If your dog’s bed is too hard, lumpy, or covered in scratchy, uncomfortable material, this may be why she’s sleeping on the floor instead.
If you can’t afford to replace the bed just yet, try lining it with blankets and see if that does the trick.
When you’re able to, invest in a higher quality bed that your dog will love sleeping in.
The location of your dog’s bed is just as important as the bed itself. If she’s unhappy with the bed’s location, she may be sleeping on the floor just to be in an area where she feels more comfortable.
As we mentioned above, make sure your dog’s bed is located in an area with a comfortable temperature, away from air conditioning and heating vents, and drafty windows.
Especially if you live in a city or a household with children, your dog may be sleeping in odd areas to get away from the noise.
Put your dog’s bed in the quietest possible area, and consider using a white noise machine to help lull her to sleep if you’re unable to reduce noise completely.
If you have kids, make sure they give your dog quiet time so that she can get enough sleep. Remember, dogs need about twelve hours of sleep a day, much more than us.
Too Far Away
If your dog is sleeping on the floor near your bed or bedroom door, rather than in her bed on the other side of the house, she’s probably feeling insecure about being so far away from you.
Consider moving her bed into your room, or at least to the hallway nearby, so she feels more secure. Dogs are pack animals, and sleeping alone while you’re on the other side of the house can make them feel lonely.
Like we touched on in the “bed sizes” section, dogs don’t always like wide open spaces when they’re sleeping, unlike humans, who often like to spread out.
Dogs’ ancestors lived in dens, and many dogs still carry a preference for enclosed, sheltered spaces when they’re sleeping.
This may be why your dog is sleeping under your bed, under tables, or in corners. Relocating her bed to one of these areas, or purchasing a smaller or covered bed may be the best solution.
Not all dogs are the same, and it’s not always possible to predict what they’ll prefer when it comes to sleeping. If your dog is sleeping on the floor instead of her bed, it might be just a personal preference.
Protective or Insecure
Dogs that feel insecure or overly protective will often choose to sleep on the floor rather than in a bed.
The slight discomfort helps keep them from falling asleep too deeply, allowing them to jump up and into defense mode.
Sleeping directly on the floor also allows them to feel vibrations if something’s happening nearby, so they’ll be alert to any potential threats.
If your dog shows other signs of insecure, anxious, or overly-defensive behavior, it might be time to call a pet behaviorist to help your dog feel more relaxed overall.
We don’t often know the history of adopted dogs, so if your dog isn’t using her bed and she’s recently adopted, there’s a good chance that she doesn’t know that she’s supposed to.
Let her know that the bed’s hers by placing her in it if possible, and giving her toys and treats when she’s on it.
As mentioned above, dogs who sleep alone are often prone to loneliness.
If your dog was recently weaned and taken away from her littermates, or if she is otherwise used to sleeping with another dog or human, she might be struggling to adjust to sleeping alone.
Follow the suggestions above if possible, and move her bed nearer to you.
Alternatively, some owners find it useful to put a hot water bottle (covered so it can’t burn her) and a ticking clock in the dog’s bed. This mimics the warmth and heartbeats of littermates and can sometimes help get a dog used to sleeping alone.
Of course, this is not a good idea if your dog is a proficient chewer or shredder!
Training a Dog to Use a Bed
If you’ve tried everything suggested above and have ruled out potential health reasons (such as stiff joints that make accessing the bed difficult), it’s possible to train the dog to use her bed.
Training a dog to use a bed is relatively simple, and just involves training the command “go to your bed” and using positive reinforcement whenever she does so. Keeping the bed stocked with toys and occasional treats never hurts either.
However, unless there’s a good reason to force the issue, there’s generally nothing wrong with a dog choosing to sleep on the floor if that’s what she prefers.
Floor Sleeping is Nothing to Worry About
As you can see, there are many reasons why your dog may be sleeping on the floor instead of her bed, most of which are nothing to worry about as long as it’s not a sudden change or accompanied by other behavioral changes.
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