If your dog sleeps on the floor instead of her bed, you may wonder why she does this. Why would your dog choose the floor instead of a comfy bed? Is it OK to let her sleep on the floor? And how can you get her to use that expensive bed you took the effort (and cost) to buy? Well, here’s everything you’ll want to know about it.
So, why does my dog sleep on the floor instead of her bed? Your dog may choose to sleep on the floor instead of her bed if the bed is uncomfortable, the wrong temperature, or the wrong size. Other times it could simply be that she’s used to the floor. And sometimes, it’s because her bed is in the wrong spot.
As you can see, there is no one singular reason.
Perhaps it’s entirely obvious to you know – maybe it could be multiple of these causes all at the same time.
Nevertheless, let’s delve into the reasons in further detail to help you identify which one it is in your dog.
Then we will look at what you should, or can, do about it!
Why Does a Dog Sleep On The Floor?
A dog may choose to sleep on the floor because she finds it more comfortable, either because of the bed’s texture and feel, the temperature, the size, or the location. Your dog may also choose to sleep on the floor out of habit or because of a health issue.
The Bed Is Uncomfortable
It could be your dog finds her bed uncomfortable: maybe the bed has a flat spot where it’s gotten worn out from use.
If it’s a new bed, maybe she finds the fabric scratchy or slippery.
Sometimes it’s the sound the bed makes that’s the problem. Many dogs will turn around in circles or scratch the place where they’re about to settle down to sleep.
Depending on the bed’s fabric, this behavior might create an unpleasant noise for your dog’s sensitive ears (waterproof fabrics often are noisy when scratched or touched).
Feel your dog’s bed with your palm to check the texture. It could also be something’s sticking into your dog (like the end of a feather).
If you suspect a flat spot in her bed, it might be time to get her a new one.
If, however, you suspect she doesn’t like the texture of the fabric, you can easily solve this problem by putting her favorite blanket down on top of the bed.
It could also be that the bed has become gritty through the dirt dogs track in after walks.
Some dogs don’t want to sleep in a dirty bed, so check how clean the bed is. You might just have to give it a wash to solve the problem.
The Bed Is The Wrong Temperature
It could be that you’ve placed the bed in such a way that it’s too hot or too cold for your dog.
In warm weather, a comfy, overstuffed bed can lock in the heat. Your dog might prefer the floor to stay cool, as a hard floor will help diffuse her body heat more quickly than fabric.
You may have noticed that your dog lies flat on the floor after exercise – not on the sofa or on your bed. She will prefer the floor to stay cool.
A cool floor feels nice against her warm skin.
In wintertime, your dog might seek out warm spots, such as under a radiator or in the sun.
Dogs know when they’re too hot or too cold, and they will seek out solutions instinctively, so watch what your dog does and bear in mind the weather if she suddenly changes her sleeping place.
Some dogs will sleep in different places as their body temperature changes: this is particularly true for dogs who carry a higher risk of heat stroke in warm weather.
The Bed Is The Wrong Size
Your dog may have outgrown her bed: she won’t be comfortable or feel supported if her nose or feet are hanging off the edges.
Likewise, a bed that’s too big might not provide the sense of safety that your dog needs to sleep well. Most dogs want a bed that’s just the right size.
Small dogs, in particular, appreciate beds that fit them properly; otherwise, they can get cold.
The Bed Isn’t In The Right Place
Your dog wants to be as close to you as possible, even while she’s asleep. If your dog’s bed is too far away (even just a few feet), she might choose to sleep on the floor next to you.
Many dogs prefer enjoying the comfort and proximity of their owners rather than a comfy bed that’s further away.
If you think that your dog doesn’t like the position of her bed, move the bed closer to yours. Try putting the bed in the same place your dog has been sleeping.
Encourage her to get into bed when it’s time to sleep (see below).
Your Dog Is Used To The Floor
Dogs are creatures of habit. They thrive on routine, as they feel more secure and safe when they know what’s happening next, where it’s happening, and how it’s happening: and this includes sleeping habits.
It could be that your dog is used to the floor. If she’s never had a bed, it may be an adjustment for her to consider sleeping on it.
If you’ve adopted your dog, it could be that she’s only ever slept on the floor, so a dog bed is something unfamiliar.
Your Dog Has Underlying Health Issues
If your dog normally enjoys her bed but suddenly decides that the floor is better, monitor her for signs of discomfort, such as:
- Difficulty getting into a standing position
- Not able to jump easily
- Trouble sitting down
- General discomfort from aging
If you suspect your dog is looking for relief from discomfort, you will want to speak with your vet about how to help her.
Older dogs often suffer from arthritis and joint problems, so moving around can be painful.
Your dog may choose to sleep on the floor rather than walk toward a bed, especially if she has to climb stairs or reach a raised bed.
Sometimes dogs will sleep on the floor because their impaired vision prevents them from finding their bed.
The first step is discovering the cause of your dog’s discomfort so that she can receive the appropriate treatment, where possible.
Should You Let Your Dog Sleep On The Floor Instead Of Their Bed?
There’s no need to necessarily do anything if your dog chooses to sleep on the floor instead of her bed. Your dog is simply choosing the spot where she feels the most comfortable. However, don’t let your dog sleep on a cold floor if she has arthritis or hip problems, as a cold floor can make these conditions worse.
Dogs need 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day (puppies need about 20 hours daily), so that’s a lot of time spent asleep.
If your dog refuses to use her bed, don’t take that as a rejection of your efforts to care for your dog.
She’s just choosing the spot where she feels most happy to sleep.
It’s more important that your dog gets enough sleep, no matter where she chooses to snooze.
Favorite Places For Dogs To Sleep
Most dogs have favorite spots to sleep that demonstrate their close relationship with their people.
Given a choice, your dog will prefer sleeping with you whenever possible: at the end of your bed, on the couch beside you, or on your lap.
The next favorite place for dogs to sleep is next to our beds, as it’s another way of sharing a bond.
Why Dogs Like Sleeping Close To Us
Sleeping next to your bed, whether it’s on the floor or in your dog’s own bed, is her way of appreciating the close relationship that you share.
You may even find your dog sleeping on the floor under your bed, which is fine as long as she’s comfortable.
Dogs have an instinctive urge to sleep in a den, and the space under your bed can provide the perfect spot for your dog to feel safe and secure.
Because you’re close by, your dog either feels protected by you or that they’re providing safety and protection for you while you sleep!
If Your Dog Has Arthritis Or Hip Problems
If your dog has arthritis or hip problems, sleeping on a cold floor can make these problems worse.
If you don’t have heating under the floor, you’ll have to get your dog to use a bed or some thick blankets (see below).
How To Get Your Dog To Use Their Bed
How to get your dog to use her bed depends on the reasons why she’s been sleeping on the floor. Once you know the cause, you can provide an adequate solution.
If the Bed Is Too Hot Or Too Cold
If the temperature is the problem, this is usually an easy fix.
In warm weather, try elevating her bed so that cool air can circulate around her while she’s asleep.
In cold weather, try putting her bed in her favorite warm spot. If you notice she likes to sleep by the radiator or near a sunny window, put her bed there.
If The Bed Isn’t The Right Size
If her bed isn’t the right size, observe your dog’s sleeping position and habits before you get a new one.
Measure the area where she sleeps. Observe how she sleeps: would she prefer a large cushion that would enable her to fully stretch out her limbs?
Or perhaps she would rather have a bed that’s more like a nest with raised edges that can reinforce her sense of security.
If the Bed Is In The Wrong Place
If your dog’s bed is too far away from you, move it to her favorite spot on the floor and see if that works.
She may still choose the floor, in which case you may just have to use her bed for something else!
Tempting Your Dog Into Her Bed
Once you’ve made sure that the bed is the right temperature and size and is as close to you as possible, you can use a combination of praise and treats to tempt your dog into getting used to her bed.
You can also try these additional tips:
- Put a blanket on top of her bed to provide a place to snuggle
- For an older dog, make sure the bed has enough padding, or add extra for added comfort
- Make the bed easily accessible (no stairs or platforms)
- Put the bed near you (at the foot of your bed, next to your bed, or by your bedroom door)
- Try positive reinforcement training (giving rewards when she’s in her bed)
- Redirect your dog when she’s about to go and sleep on the floor (using positive reinforcement to offer exciting options on her bed)
If you have found that your dog routinely sleeps on the floor instead of their bed, rest assured, this is actually quite normal.
And while you may have bought a new bed that they refuse to use, be mindful of your dogs preferences.
Sure, there are some things you can try to see if they take to it (ensuring it’s a comfortable temperature, moving it to a different place) etc.
But at the end of the day, it’s a good idea to let your dog choose.
She may prefer to sleep on the floor, and as long as you know it’s safe for her to do so (there are no drafts, for instance), it’s best to let her be.
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I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.