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Why Does My Dog Curl Up Into a Little Ball When He Sleeps?

Of all the dog-sleeping positions, curling into a ball is one of the most common. Just like humans, dogs can sleep in any number of positions: on their back, turned to one side, flat on their stomachs, and curled up. As uncomfortable as it looks to us to see our pooches hunched over in tight balls on their bed, it’s actually a very common sleeping position for dogs — and it reveals a lot about how your pup is feeling.

The most obvious reason a dog will curl into a ball for sleep is to stay warm. Now that it’s winter, temperatures are dropping both inside and outside your home. Not wanting to crank up the heat all the way to save money is totally reasonable, but think about getting a blanket or a heated bed for Fido to prepare him for the season. We recommend the K&H Pet Products Thermo-Snuggly Sleeper Heated Pet Bed ($42.88, Amazon), as the heated pillow will not only keep your pet warm and toasty, but can also help alleviate joint pain in dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis. 

Additionally, your dog may prefer sleeping in a ball for security reasons. Dogs — similar to cats — protect their bellies because it’s a vulnerable area. Curling up is a way for your pup to feel safe, even if that secure feeling is purely psychological. This explains why you might find your dog huddled in the corner in a ball when you have a lot of strange and unfamiliar guests over; it’s a coping mechanism for your dog to help manage his or her stress levels.

Another reason your pooch often sleeps in a ball is just that it’s plain comfortable. But if you want to truly pamper your fur baby, we suggest buying him or her a plush blanket, like this PetFusion Premium Pet Blanket ($19.95, Amazon), which is machine-washable. For those pet owners who feel like splurging, we like the Pawsse Waterproof Dog Blanket ($41.65, Amazon). It’s big enough that it’ll keep even a Great Dane warm — plus it’s waterproof, which means (most importantly!) it’s pee-proof. 

So the next time you see your dog sleeping huddled in the corner, go grab him or her a blanket — and remember that old saying, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” It’s all perfectly normal!

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