Ever look over at your snoozing furry friend and wonder, “Why does my dog cover her face while sleeping?” Dogs are in a class in their own right. They act in ways that are inexplicable to us, making them seem at times like strange entities that coexist with us. One of their cherished marvels is their quirky sleeping poses that never fail to bring a sudden smile to their humans’ faces.
A common pose adopted by a lot of dogs is the “face cover,” where they put their paws on their faces in sleep as if they are shying away from something. Dog parents often end up wondering if these poses mean something.
There are several explanations for why dogs sleep with their paws covering their faces. They might do it because of an instinctive reflex, feeling ashamed or frightened, experiencing discomfort due to a rash or infection, or because they are unconsciously attempting to keep you pleased and satisfy you.
We have developed a comprehensive list explaining your dog’s behavior to answer this “why” of yours.
Before you scroll down to a more in-depth answer you can check out these other dog-related questions: Why Does My Dog Growl At Me at Night? and Why Does My Dog Lay On Top of Me?.
Reasons Your Dog Covers Its Face During Sleep
Dogs are diverse beings due to variances in their breeds, the methods in which they are nurtured, and their distinct characteristics. Therefore, there is rarely a single solution that applies to every dog in the world. Similarly, dogs cover their faces during sleep for a multitude of reasons that can vary from dog to dog based on their personality and environment.
One of the main reasons why dogs have come to develop the habit of covering their faces while sleeping is that it’s an evolutionary development. They sense the urge to shield their eyes and neck, and this stance also aids in body heat conservation while safeguarding other organs and limbs.
This tendency may have been useful for its prehistoric ancestors, who lived in far harsher surroundings. Dogs were living outdoors, unaided by humans, and each day was a survival battle. However, because this position may be tense, they may not sleep as soundly as they should.
Dogs may also wish to shield themselves from you. Perhaps they are ashamed of something they did, such as going pee in the home, or they are chastised for something. In that scenario, dogs may wish to conceal themselves.
Itch And Allergies
Oftentimes dogs simply cover their faces in sleep because they have irritation. They might have an allergy, or they could have something caught in their face, such as eye gunk, mucus, or anything that got trapped there and they’re attempting to get out of the way.
Some puppies cry excessively, and eye gunk might accumulate, causing moderate discomfort. The dog’s face and pupils may grow red and itchy, and inflammation may have developed that you were unaware of.
Usually, goop isn’t serious, but other forms of discharge can result in blindness. If your dog persistently scratches her eyes, particularly if she has a green or yellow fluid, red eyes, or pupil dilation, you should consult your veterinarian.
Putting paws on their face during sleep might be your dog’s way of giving away that they are experiencing discomfort from allergies. It’s essential to maintain a watch on your dog if they’re in this posture frequently so you can figure out what’s going on and begin documenting it.
You should also examine their environment to see if there may be anything annoying them, such as bugs like mosquitoes. In that case, remove the source of the problem and assist your buddy in sleeping well. If the issue persists for more than a few days, you should take your dog to the veterinarian for a professional opinion.
Anxiety And Stress
Some dogs like to howl and bark, but like people, others may wish to hide and retreat when they are ashamed or reprimanded. Dogs use signals to converse with their humans. They could be communicating to you that they are distressed, expecting that you will address whatever is bothering them.
Dogs appreciate you as your owner and companion, and they trust that if something causes them fear, you will protect them.
Dogs may adopt this posture to indicate that they are a member of your pack and acknowledge you as their commander. The dogs are demonstrating their faith in you and wish for you to see that they do not perceive you as a risk and therefore you should not see them as a danger to you.
Turning onto their back and presenting their underbelly to you during sleep is another method of expressing submission. If your dog likes to fall asleep touching you, that’s yet another way of acknowledging that you are the leader and they are coming to you for security.
At times, your dog just wishes to make you realize that they’re enjoying themselves, and when they place their tiny paws on their heads, they pick up that you like it. It’s a charming pose, and they tend to get into the habit of doing it in a fun manner to make you happy.
Dogs are clever and have adapted to manipulate their facial muscles to interact with humans. Maybe the first time your dog covered its face with its paws, you noticed this and instantly exclaimed a loud “Aww!” and gave it pats. Hence, it learned that if it executes this little trickery, it will be showered with care and love.
Dogs love to please their humans, so if they observe you enjoying something, they will try it again, and if they notice you disliking something, they will attempt to quit doing it. For example, if you reprimand a dog for peeing inside, they are far less likely to repeat the act.
Positive reinforcement and rewards, on the other hand, are superior to negative reinforcement. When your pet does anything excellent, you should smile, laugh, praise, and pat them. Using their paws to cover their faces is one example of a behavior that can be positively reinforced. The behavior can even mix into their subconscious activities, which could explain why your dog is doing it while sleeping.
Just like other cozy positions like sleeping between your legs, dogs may cover their faces or noses with their paws simply because it’s a relaxing resting posture. This pose may help the dog feel safer and more peaceful, and it also makes getting out of bed easier because they can simply raise their head instead of turning their entire body around.
They might also find comfort and warmth in covering their faces. You might believe that since canines have fur coats, they are adequately protected from the cold. That is sometimes true; however, at times, it might not be enough, particularly during harsh winters.
Note that a puppy may rub their face with their paws while teething due to discomfort. If the discomfort seems excessive, pay a visit to your veterinarian.
Should You Teach a Dog Not to Cover Their Face?
If your dog isn’t showing any concerning symptoms, there’s no need to discourage its charming habit of covering its face with its paws. However, it is critical to determine why your dog is concealing its face. If it is frequently itching or acting out, it might indicate a more serious problem.
Does A Dog’s Sleeping Posture Mean Anything?
Dogs have a habit of sleeping in unusual postures, some of which are rather amusing! Whether your dog naps on the sofa, at the foot of the bed, or on a dirty beloved shoe, you may have pondered if their resting patterns say anything about their character.
You may have seen those Buzzfeed quizzes that say, “Tell me your dog’s sleeping position, and I’ll say something about its personality.” While there’s not much research that links dog sleeping postures to personality traits, observing your dog’s sleep patterns can still be valuable.
Dogs snooze for many hours daily, and, like humans, their sleeping patterns change. Their sleep stage can have a significant impact on the posture they pick. Little elements like the climate, the dog’s mood, and its general level of exercise can also influence the posture in which it rests. Focusing on these minor nuances will assist you in learning more about your furry friend.
Therefore, certainly, you can learn a lot about your dog just by observing how they rest. While your dog’s posture will not provide personalized information like who your dog’s favorite chum is or what kind of food they like, it may give a hint as to the reasons why they prefer one posture over the other. For example, if your dog sleeps with their bum facing you, it can be a sign of trust. This is a lighthearted overview of dog sleeping postures.
Of course, like everything else, no one assessment fits all dogs. So if your dog rests in a specific posture, it might just be because they enjoy it.
Your dog may be experiencing stress, fear, or another discomfort. Make sure your dog feels safe when you’re petting them. On the other hand, they may also cover their face to please you or to scratch an itch.
Dogs rub their faces with their paws to scratch itches and relieve eye irritation. If the behavior persists, it’s best to consult your veterinarian to see if your dog is suffering from allergies.
Dogs may curl up into a ball or nuzzle into blankets with their noses tucked in to conserve body heat. This is an evolutionary instinct that helped their ancestors protect their vital organs from the elements. They may also just find this sleep position comfortable.
Conclusion For “Why Does My Dog Cover Her Face While Sleeping”
You might be capable of comprehending your dog’s behavior simply by looking at them, but the best approach to truly understanding your dog’s attitude is to observe them over time and detect the distinct patterns they seem to exhibit.
You can completely comprehend what your dogs are up to and what they may require you, their person, to provide for them if you pay attention to the cycles they are a part of.
If you find this guide, “Why Does My Dog Cover Her Face While Sleeping,” helpful and informative, you can check out these other dog-related questions answered by our team:
- Why Does My Dog Lick Me in the Morning?
- Why Does My Dog Suddenly Scream?
- Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets?
You can learn more about why dogs cover their faces by watching “Why Dogs Cover Their Face With Paws” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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