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Why Won’t My Dog Sleep With Me? (9 Potential Reasons)

Many pet parents love to sleep with their dogs. Surveys have shown that nearly half of dog owners in America allow their canine companions to sleep in their beds!

It’s important to understand that not all dogs enjoy sleeping in the same bed as humans though. Some dogs find our beds too soft or warm to fully relax. Others are fearful of being crushed, or just prefer sleeping alone.

This doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t love you though. Like humans, dogs have personal preferences, so wanting to sleep alone is usually not a reason to be concerned.

With that said, it could be a sign of illness if your dog suddenly stops sleeping with you. Any rapid changes in behaviour should be investigated by a vet.

9 Reasons Your Dog Wants To Sleep Alone (And What To Do About It)

Why Won't My Dog Sleep With Me? (9 Potential Reasons)

There are many reasons why a dog might prefer to sleep alone. These range from your bed feeling uncomfortable to potential medical issues.

There’s nothing wrong with making your bed comfortable to encourage your dog to sleep there. But you should never force your dog to sleep with you. This could disrupt vital sleep and cause stress.

1. Dog Feels Unable to Relax

Some dogs feel relaxed when they are in close proximity to humans. But others feel uncomfortable or stressed in these situations – even with people they are closely bonded with. This can cause the dog to find another place to sleep.

Small dogs may also be concerned about getting crushed in a bed with humans. 

How To Fix: There’s not much you can do about this, as some dogs don’t enjoy sleeping in the same bed as humans.

2. Dog Feels Crowded

If your bed is relatively small, or you’re sharing it with other pets or your partner, then your dog might be unable to stretch out and get comfortable. 

Movement in the bed could also disturb your dog’s sleep. This can cause some dogs to find another resting place so they can fully relax.

How To Fix: The simplest answer is to get a bigger bed, although this isn’t always possible. You may also create more space for your dog by removing decorative pillows.

3. Dog Is Overheating

Dogs already have a higher normal body temperature than humans, so they are more sensitive to overheating.

The extra heat from a human’s body is trapped by the mattress and thick duvets, which can make the dog uncomfortably warm. Many dogs also prefer sleeping on a cool surface, such as tiles or a cooling bed.

How To Fix: You might be able to make your dog more comfortable by keeping the air conditioning on throughout the night. Consider opening a window if the room is stuffy.

4. Dog Doesn’t Enjoy The Mattress

All dogs have different sleeping preferences. However, most dogs prefer firm mattresses to sleep on.

Humans are the opposite, as we often like to sleep on softer surfaces. So, if you have a soft mattress, this could be why your dog chooses to sleep elsewhere.

Additionally, memory foam mattresses are warm to sleep on. As we mentioned earlier, this extra warmth can be uncomfortable for your dog.

How To Fix: Aside from replacing your mattress, which may not even have the desired effect, there’s not much you can do about this. Instead, focus on finding a high-quality dog bed that your pet loves to sleep on.

5. Dog Has a Habit Of Sleeping Elsewhere

Dogs need more sleep than humans. Adult dogs typically sleep for around 12 hours per day, although puppies or senior dogs rest for even longer than this.

If your dog spends most of the day sleeping on a comfortable pet bed in the living room, then they’ll probably feel relaxed and comfortable there. This can become a habit that makes it less likely for your dog to sleep on your bed.

How To Fix: You shouldn’t try to change your dog’s sleeping habits if they enjoy sleeping elsewhere.

6. Dog Isn’t Tired

Dogs aren’t always ready to sleep, particularly after a long nap. If your pet isn’t tired when you get into bed, they might choose to go elsewhere.

This could also be caused by the dog not getting enough physical and mental stimulation. If your dog hasn’t had enough chance to burn off energy during the day, they’ll struggle to get to sleep.

How to Fix: Ensure your dog is getting enough physical exercise for their age, breed, and health. It’s also important to provide plenty of mental stimulation throughout the day.

7. Dog Is Put Off By Other Pets (Especially Cats!)

If you already share your bed with another pet, then your dog might not feel comfortable joining you.

This is particularly likely with newly adopted dogs or if you have a cat on the bed!

How To Fix: Most dogs won’t want to share a bed with a cat, so there isn’t a lot you can do about this issue. Never force two (or more) dogs to share a bed, although they may become more comfortable together over time.

8. Dog Has A Medical Issue (Including Sleep Disorders)

Sleep disorders can affect your dog’s resting habits, including changing where they sleep. Some of the most common include insomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea.

Symptoms of sleep disorders vary a lot depending on the condition. Some examples include frequent waking at night, lack of energy during the day, chronic snoring, fast breathing during sleep, whining, and crying. Dogs with narcolepsy will also collapse and fall asleep – often after physical exercise.

Always contact a vet if you notice any signs of a sleep disorder. Proper sleep is essential for your dog’s health.

Aside from sleep disorders, there are a variety of other conditions that could affect your dog’s sleeping habits.

For example, canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) can interrupt your dog’s circadian rhythms, leading to sleeping during the day and staying awake at night. Dogs with joint pain may also find it more difficult to jump onto a human bed. 

How To Fix: Always visit a vet if you notice symptoms of illness, changes to behaviour, or just feel that something isn’t quite right with your dog.

9. Dog Just Prefers To Sleep Alone

There may not be an underlying reason for a dog sleeping alone, other than this is how they prefer to rest.

As we mentioned earlier, this doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t love you. It just means they want some space when sleeping.

How to Fix: You shouldn’t force your dog to sleep in your bed if they prefer to rest elsewhere. Allow your pet to sleep wherever they are most comfortable.

Should You Contact A Vet?

Most reasons for a dog sleeping alone are not a cause for concern. Dogs have their own sleeping habits, so it’s common for them to prefer resting elsewhere. 

However, if you notice a sudden change in sleeping habits (or other behaviour changes), then you should always visit a vet. You should also watch out for any other symptoms of illness or sleep disorders.

What Does It Mean If A Dog Suddenly Wants To Sleep Alone?

As we’ve mentioned, any sudden changes to your dog’s habits or behaviour should be investigated by a vet. This includes if your dog suddenly wants to sleep alone.

A vet checkup is especially important if there are other symptoms of illness. For example, limping or yelping could signify that your dog is in pain and can’t get up onto the bed.

What can cause a dog to stop sleeping with you if there’s no medical problem though?

Sleeping habits can tell you a lot about how a dog feels. If they have a regular sleeping pattern and enter a deep sleep, then they probably feel relaxed and comfortable. But if they change their habits or struggle to sleep soundly, this could indicate that something is bothering them.

Here are some things to consider if your dog has stopped sleeping with you:

  • Have there been any recent changes to the sleeping environment? For example, have you moved house or changed your mattress?
  • Is anyone else sharing the bed, such as a new partner or pet?
  • Have there been any bad experiences in the bedroom? These could include thunderstorms that scared your pet or getting scolded.

Any of these issues could make a dog less comfortable sleeping with you. However, a dog suddenly wanting to sleep alone doesn’t mean they love you any less.

Why Might A Senior Dog Stop Sleeping With You?

Older dog sleeping on his bed

Any of the reasons above could stop a senior dog from sleeping with you. But two reasons are more common in older dogs:

  1. Canine cognitive dysfunction. This condition is also known as canine dementia. It can cause significant changes to behaviour, including affecting a dog’s natural sleeping rhythms. This can cause the dog to sleep more during the day and wake up at night, making it less likely for them to sleep with you. Other symptoms include confusion, anxiety, difficulty navigating the home, and compulsive behaviours.
  2. Joint pain. Joint pain is common in older dogs. If your dog’s joints are sore, he might be unwilling to jump onto the bed. He may also be more sensitive to being touched on the shoulder or hips, making sleeping in the same bed less relaxing.

Related Questions

Why Won’t My Pet Sleep In His Dog Bed Anymore?

Your dog might stop sleeping on his bed if it’s old and doesn’t provide support anymore. Check the padding for signs of wear or depressions that don’t spring back into shape.

Seasonal changes might also cause this behaviour. For example, during hotter weather the dog might choose to sleep on a cool surface. 

Is It Healthy To Sleep With Your Dog?

Most experts agree that sleeping with your dog isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There can be issues with doing it though, especially if you suffer from asthma or allergies. A dog in your bed can also affect your sleep quality and may not be hygienic.


There’s often nothing to worry about if your dog doesn’t want to sleep with you. Many dogs prefer to sleep alone, as human beds can feel crowded, soft, and hot.

However, you should contact a vet if your dog suddenly stops sleeping with you, or you notice other symptoms. This could indicate a medical condition.

Do you have any questions about why your dog won’t sleep with you? Please let us know in the comments section.


Richard Cross

Richard is a journalist who specialises in dog behavior. He's written hundreds of articles and books related to dogs, including for the Continental Kennel Club, Dog Fest (the UK's biggest dog festival) and various veterinary surgeries. When he's not spending time with Jess and Rudy (his beloved Labrador and Golden Retrievers), he enjoys reading, hiking and watching sports.
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