If your dog used to sleep with you, but suddenly he wants to sleep alone, you are probably wondering why this has happened. Naturally, you’re probably a little upset. Why might your dog act this way? Should you allow your dog to sleep alone? And how can you get him to sleep with you again? Here are answers to all of the above questions and more.
So, why would a dog suddenly want to sleep alone? If your dog suddenly wants to sleep alone, it could be he’s suffering from a mental or physical condition where he feels the need to isolate himself. Anxiety or illness are potential developments you will want to explore. Otherwise, it could be as simple as a comfort thing.
The key word in all of this is ‘suddenly.’
That’s what makes it strange, right?
And while it can indicate something is up, it could also be something you really do not need to worry about either.
So let us continue to explore these reasons in greater detail so you can try to get a better understanding of what it is with your dog.
We will then look at suitable responses and how you may be able to get your dog to sleep with you again. So stick around for that!
Reasons Why A Dog May Want To Suddenly Sleep Alone
Your dog may suddenly want to sleep alone because of a mental or physical condition. Sometimes, it’s another reason which has nothing to do with your dog’s health.
A Mental Condition
It could be your dog is feeling stressed or anxious. Think about something that may have happened recently that could worry a dog, like:
- Kids making noise by running around the house
- Car alarms and sirens going off outside your bedroom window
- Other disturbances that can be heard, particularly from your bedroom
- Someone they don’t know sleeping in the room with you (some dogs don’t like unfamiliar people, and most dogs don’t like people who are loud)
Dogs do get depressed, and it could be that your dog is in mourning for his old home or for another pet or human friend who has died or gone away.
If your dog is depressed, he may not want to sleep with you for a while.
Unlike us, dogs don’t need ‘alone time’ to think things through. If your dog suddenly wants to be alone, most of the time, it’s out of a desire to get comfortable.
A Physical Condition
Sometimes a dog will prefer to sleep alone because of a physical condition.
Certain physical conditions can disrupt your dog’s ability to sleep and need to be seen to as soon as possible to limit your dog’s discomfort.
Specific physical ailments can cause your dog to want to isolate himself, such as:
- A limp (even younger dogs won’t risk hurting their legs to get up into bed with you)
- Heart disease
- UTIs (urinary tract infections)
- Kidney disease
- Hormone imbalances
- Itching (your dog may want to be away from you to scratch himself, either because of an allergy or another health issue)
- Bloat (this is a life-threatening emergency: if your dog’s abdomen is swollen, get him to the vet asap)
Sadly, as our dogs grow older, they may not want or be able to jump up onto our beds. Signs your dog is aging include:
- Change in weight
- Difficulty seeing (or cloudy eyes)
- Difficulty pooping or incontinence
- Moving more slowly or struggling to get around generally
- Bad breath
- Trouble understanding their surroundings
- Not wanting to play as much (and wanting to sleep more)
Apart from mental or physical conditions, there are several other reasons why your dog may choose not to sleep with you anymore:
Wanting His Own Space
It could be that as your dog grows older, he feels he wants his own space.
Wanting to sleep alone doesn’t mean he loves you any less: it could mean he wants his own place to relax and sleep.
Wanting To Cool Down
If the temperature is extremely warm in your home, it could be your dog prefers to sleep somewhere cool.
Sleeping on your bed could feel too warm compared to lying down on a cool tile or wooden floor.
Wanting A Change
Having slept on soft surfaces for a while, it could be your dog becomes accustomed to sleeping on hard surfaces because of naps, boarding kennels, staying with friends, or other reasons.
He may just want a change.
Not Being Tired
Dogs sleep a lot during the day, and when you’re ready for bed, your dog may want to stay awake.
He may choose to sleep in a different place simply because he isn’t ready to snooze at the same time you are.
Wanting To Best Protect You
Your dog has a protective instinct, and he may be one of those dogs that prefer to sleep in the most strategic place to guard the house (like just inside the front door).
Being Encouraged To Sleep Alone By You
Even if you don’t mean to encourage this behavior, if you have gone to your dog in his dog bed and cuddled him or given him treats, you are (inadvertently) encouraging him to sleep elsewhere.
Not Wanting To Share With Other Animals
If you have a cat or another dog, your dog might not want to share the bed with them.
Your Bed Is Too Small
As your dog grows, he may feel the bed isn’t big enough for both of you.
He may need more room to stretch his paws – in which case he may choose to go and sleep somewhere that will accommodate a full-body stretch.
It’s Too Noisy Sleeping With You
Perhaps you snore, and your dog prefers to get some rest elsewhere.
Or maybe you sleep talk or sleepwalk, in which case your dog might not want to be disturbed.
Set up a camera in your room if you suspect this could be the reason so that you can know for sure.
Your Dog Is Interested In Something Else
Perhaps there are things going on that your dog finds more interesting, like traffic, other animals, or people going past.
Should You Allow Your Dog To Sleep Alone?
As long as your dog doesn’t have a mental or physical health condition that puts him at risk, it’s perfectly fine to allow your dog to sleep alone.
There’s no need to be concerned if your dog doesn’t want to sleep with you anymore. Most of the reasons that we’ve outlined above aren’t cause for worry.
If your dog has a natural preference for being alone, there’s no need to try and force him to sleep with you (and he probably won’t like it).
Most of the time, it’s best to let your dog sleep wherever he wants.
Although some studies show that it’s beneficial for dogs and humans to sleep together, this doesn’t mean you can’t both be healthy and happy while sleeping apart.
If your dog is a rescue dog, it’s even more essential to allow him to be comfortable in your home and to make his own choices where possible.
Rescue dogs may want to sleep with you one day and on their own the next: some of these dogs need time to figure out where they feel safest in their new space.
If you observe your dog sleeping peacefully on his own, leave him to it, and he’ll be fine. If, however, you suspect a health problem, get it checked out.
Dogs will try and hide any weaknesses or illnesses as part of their survival instincts, so it’s up to us to be aware of any problems.
How Can I Get My Dog To Sleep With Me Again?
If you’re really feeling bereft because your dog isn’t sleeping with you, there are some things you can do to try and get him back into your bed.
Here are some things to try to get your dog to sleep with you again:
Treats are an excellent way to appease your dog and to tempt him into doing what you want.
Treats can help your dog feel that your bed is a safe place where good things happen.
Address Any Health Problems
If your dog has a gastrointestinal problem (or another problem) that prevents him from sleeping with you, you may find that by getting that problem sorted, he’ll want to come back to bed.
Of course, it’s crucial to address any health problems no matter what, but coming back to your bed could be a welcome side benefit!
Try Cuddles & Snuggles
Your dog loves receiving affection from you, so if you shower your dog with praise and cuddles, he may decide it’s worth sleeping on your bed to get more affection.
Try Calming Your Dog When On Your Bed
If you have an especially active dog, he may need some encouragement to settle down.
There are various ways you can calm him down and get him ready to settle with types of doggie massage that he may love.
Use His Favorite Toys/Blankets
If your dog has a preferred toy to play with or a blanket to sleep on, put those on your bed. Hopefully, he’ll take the hint!
Lower The Temperature
Use air conditioning or a fan to lower the temperature.
If you suspect your dog is too warm on your bed, try using a fan that blows toward your dog’s spot and see if that helps.
Alternatively, turn on the air conditioning to cool the ambient air.
Try A Mattress Cover
You can try using a hard mattress cover to provide your dog with a harder surface to sleep on.
A mattress cover is a particularly good solution if you notice your dog jumping off your bed to sleep on a hard floor.
Some covers do a good job at mimicking a hard floor.
Exercise Before Bed
If you and your dog have different sleep schedules, it can help to give your dog a nice, long walk before you settle down to sleep.
If you have been out and about for most of the day, your dog will have pent-up energy that he’ll need to spend before settling down for the night.
If a long walk isn’t possible, try a quick game of fetch to let him burn off some steam.
Try To Be Quieter
If possible, you may be able to limit or reduce your snoring with a few lifestyle changes or sleep aids. These may help limit snoring, sleep talking etc.
This is easier said than done, but if you can manage to address these types of problems, you may find your dog is happy to come back to bed with you.
In most cases, a dog choosing not to sleep with its owner is no immediate cause for concern.
They could just be too hot or not tired at the moment, for instance.
However, dogs are keen to hide an illness or injury, and it is for this reason that you need to be especially mindful and observant.
Monitor your dog closely for signs of illness or injury, and if in doubt (or you notice other symptoms), do contact a vet.
You may find that with a quick visit and the appropriate veterinary response; it’s enough to get your dog to return to sleep with you.
Other dog sleeping guides you may be interested in:
- My Dog Sleeps On The Floor Instead Of Her Bed
- Where Should My Dog Sleep At Night Time? [What Is Optimal?]
- Why Do Dogs Fall Asleep So Fast? [Are All Dogs The Same?
- Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails In Their Sleep? [Is It Normal?]
- Can Dogs Have Night Terrors? [Everything You Need To Know]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.